This January, I have the pleasure of attending two conventions I’ve never been to before. The first is Arisia in Boston,, where I’ll be on the following panels:
Diversity: Still Knows What We Did Last Summer
Marina 2 – Sat 1:00 PM
Last summer, Fireside Fiction found that of 2039 short stories published in the US in 2015, 38 were written by black authors. As we talk about diversity in SFF, what happens when good intentions on the part of major outlets fail so spectacularly? How does a POC author get their stories to the audience? Have things improved? Our panelists will be looking at how to get stories by diverse and representational authors to market, and what still needs to be done to address this ongoing problem in SFF.
SFF Relationship Goals
Bulfinch – Sat 4:00 PM
SFF doesn’t always have the best reputation when it comes to depicting romantic relationships, but that doesn’t mean that respectful, loving partnerships are nowhere to be found. In this panel, we will explore the good ones, where to find them, and what commonalities they might share. What can authors do to feature good relationships in their stories?
Policing Diverse Creators
Marina 1 – Sun 1:00 PM
Lately there have been many instances of diverse creators, both writing #ownvoices and not, who are subject to more scrutiny in things such as reviews and commentary about their works than white, non-#ownvoices authors who write about the same. What can we do to mitigate this? And how do we criticize problematic aspects while remaining aware of the power differential?
Beyond Metaphor: Explicit Representation in SFF
Faneuil – Sun 8:30 PM
There are many SFF works that talk around an issue, rather than facing it head-on. What works are there that directly talk about race, sexuality, gender identity, disability; things that have been addressed in the past mostly as metaphor? Are there any ways we are moving away from only being able to imagine ourselves in our protagonists in vague and subtle hints? What still has to happen before explicit representation works properly for everyone?
Next I’ll be attending the Festival International de la Bande Dessinée in Angoulême, France. The Festival is the third largest comics convention in Europe, and I’m there most scouting for new talent to US audiences and seeing what comics looks like on an international level.
Speaking of an international scope, I am also honored to be selected as the Editor Reviewer for the Salam Award for Imaginative Fiction for 2018. The goals of this award is best explained on their website:
The Salam Award for Imaginative Fiction is a tribute to Dr Abdus Salam, and an effort to promote science fiction writing in Pakistan.
Since inception Pakistan, as a nation, has struggled with conformity as a result of mass repression and suppression. Entrepreneurship, art, literature and innovation have all suffered from provincialism and orthodoxy. Challenging the boundaries of traditional thinking and ideologies is, we believe, one of the core competencies of any progressive society. The Salam Award is a small effort by a few concerned individuals to change that and encourage our populace to be more imaginative.
I’ll be joined by the Award Judges Elizabeth Hand, E. Lily Yu, and Anil Menon, and Agent Reviewer Jennie Goloboy of Red Sofa Literary.