Science Fiction that Pulls New People Into the Genre

I have always believed that science fiction is for everyone. After all, it’s truly the most “forward” facing genre and you would think this should obligate it to be more diverse and open than it has been in the past. Still, for a long time, it was challenging to find stories about people or stories written by a person who wasn’t white, male, and heterosexual. A genre like science fiction, which  is for everyone, really ought to be about everyone, and diversity should be represented in the fiction and in the authors who are in the industry.

So, when Nancy Holder and I were working on Futuredaze 2: Reprise, these were all things that were on our mind. However, while we were in the reading stage (and when you’re putting together a reprint anthology, that is one huge stage of the process!), we picked the best of what we found. We figured we would look at diversity issues after we selected the stories that we most wanted in the anthology. At the end of our reading stage, we ended up with 16 stories–15 of which are in the book. When we looked at that group of stories, which really were all of our favorite stories, we were pretty shocked that the selection was naturally diverse. If they weren’t great, they weren’t for us. The fact that diversity happened naturally was incredibly gratifying since it touched on my early belief that science fiction is for everyone.

The reason I bring this up is that I just read a review on Goodreads that said this about Futuredaze 2: Reprise:

“…it’s aimed at a younger audience who probably shouldn’t start chronologically. I think that anyone who believes that people need to approach science fiction starting with the older stuff, even from the “Greats” will find that modern readers demand a bit more, and a bit less crap. While many people might be willing to overlook offensive crap in older science fiction as “just part of the times,” there is something to be said for not having to deal with that. And here is a set of stories that are great and original and show real diversity and a view of the world that isn’t just white and male. It’s refreshing, and it is how science fiction is going to end up pulling more and newer people into the genre, which is what it needs.”FD2 on Goodreads

Yes! This is exactly how I feel about science fiction, and seeing someone write that in a review of my book was like winning the lottery. Thank you Charles Payseur. I don’t know you, but I hope that someday we get to meet because I have a feeling we’d have a fantastic discussion about the history and future of science fiction.

For those of you who don’t review books that you’ve read, I can guarantee you that the authors and publishers read them. To those of you, like Charles, who take the time to write down your thoughts, thank you!

Sometimes writing and publishing feels like throwing words into a vacuum. It’s so nice to see what people think, no matter what they have to say. Seeing those reviews is rewarding because it’s an acknowledgement that someone cared enough to share their thoughts about your work. That’s what it’s all about. So, again, thank you!

About Erin Underwood

BIO: Erin Underwood is the senior event content producer for MIT Technology Review’s emerging technology events. On the side, she reads, writes, and edits SF.
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