As you may have heard, there is a new anthology of speculative fiction coming up, in which every story must begin with the phrase “No shit, there I was…” The book is edited by Rachael Acks and will be published by Alliteration Ink.
The rationale for the anthology is explained in the video accompanying the Kickstarter campaign announcement. In response, Rachael received a huge range of stories, and chose tales for the book that range, “from hard science fiction, to high fantasy, from laugh-out-loud funny to tragic.”
Not too long ago I got the chance to interview Canadian author Harold Johnson about his new sci-fi novel Corvus. I loved the way it handled how different things might be by the end of the century, the way he portrayed different aspects of Canadian society — the haves, the have-nots, the differences between how Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities might be in the future, and, of course, people’s use of and relationship with technology.
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Harold Johnson’s fifth novel Corvus is set in an imagined late twenty-first century, in which climate change and war have dramatically changed Canada.
The idea for Corvus came when Johnson heard David Suzuki, Al Gore, and James Lovelock discuss climate change. Gore asserted climate change could be fixed. Lovelock said it was too late; climate change is the new reality. He advised Suzuki to move north and build nuclear reactors for electricity.
When it comes to future tech, variations on a phrase in a roleplaying game sourcebook always stuck with me: “POOF: YOU’RE HEALED.”
That was the description for the top-level, beyond super-science medical technology of the far future. (For weaponry of that advanced era, it was “POOF: YOU’RE DEAD”; for transportation it was “POOF: YOU’RE THERE.” You get the idea. Also, possibly, I played far too much G.U.R.P.S. if its metaphors remain fixed in my head.)
One thing unquestioned, of course, and not within the scope of RPG rules, is the question: “for whom?”
In case you haven’t heard about this book, Accessing the Future is a new SFF anthology that explores “issues of disability (invisible and visible, physical and mental), and the intersectionality of race, nationality, gender, sexuality, and class—in both physical and virtual spaces.” The table of contents has just been announced, and I’m thrilled my short story “In Open Air” will be included.
There are a lot of ways to look at storytelling, but one of the crucial ways to look at it, in my view, is by who it includes. I think this is true of any genre, but since I write speculative fiction, that’s how I’m going to consider it here.
Some very talented writers have addressed this already. If you haven’t read what they have had to say, I’d highly recommend you read:
Daniel José Older: 12 Fundamentals of Writing “The Other”
N.K. Jemisin on Why I Think RaceFail Was The Bestest Thing Evar for SFF and more recently Your groundbreaking is not my groundbreaking
Malinda Lo: On Self-Rejection and Writing From a Marginalized Perspective
Derek Newman-Stille on SFF fandom, ableism and homophobia and transphobia: My Cane is Not a Costume, and an interview with Kathryn Allan on disability in science fiction
These are just a few of the people writing on these issues.