Wednesday, December 3, 2014


This year I focused the bulk of my reading on books of the speculative fiction genre written by women of color (WOC). Why? Here is what I posted at the beginning of the year.

I didn't get to read as many as I'd hoped, for various reasons: some books I started but couldn't continue because the writing was just not good; I had some reading promises to keep to others; and, then, once in a while I found something else I wanted to read that just so happened to be either not spec fic or not by a WOC.

After certain recent events, I researched online ways I could support small, Black-owned businesses. On one website with a list of Black-owned online retailers, an idiotic commenter asked, "What about a list of White-owned businesses?"

The answer to that is, I think, similar to the reason why I focused this year on spec fic by WOC: Because White is already considered the norm, especially White and male. I'm betting that anyone reading this can name, offhand and without a lot of thought, at least five White, male fantasy/sci-fi writers. I know I can.

Now, can you name five women?

Can you name five women of color?

When you come from a place of privilege it's easy to have a blind spot when it comes to the "other." As a White woman I felt it my duty to make the conscious effort to expand my literary world.

Between the hideous and utterly misogynistic "social movement" Gamergate and the Ferguson, MO court ruling, I think that right now is the perfect time to support female writers (and all lady geeks!) and geeks of color. Female writers don't have cooties; they don't all write romance (my short stories have 0% romance in them, and only one of my novels has a romantic relationship in it, which is more of a side plot than the feature); they don't all write about periods and babies and shoe shopping. Writers of color don't only write about how hard their lives are, or how exotic their native lands are, or how much they hate White people. Certain things are universal, and that's the main takeaway I found in this project: Alienation. Longing. Acceptance. Fear. Growth. Guilt. Redemption. Regret. And yes, love. Love is not a woman thing. It's not a girly thing. Even men need love in their lives, whether it's romantic or something else...something more.

Black writers do not write only for Black people. Women do not write only for women. To think so, and to go through life enjoying only books that match your demographic, is to miss out on some of the greatest, most interesting and entertaining works out there. And, that's also sort of missing the point of being into spec fic, isn't it?

I'll be keeping this list in the column to the right up on my blog for the foreseeable future, and as I go forward and read more spec fic by WOC I'll add them to the list. For now, here are some resources I have been using throughout 2014 to find books to read, as well as some other links I like.

The Carl Brandon Society works "to help build further awareness of race and ethnicity in speculative literature and related fields."

Worlds Without End's Award Winning Books by Women Authors. You might have to dig a little to find the WOC, but they're there.

The Nerds of Color. Just an all-around great geek site.

This list is YA-heavy, but hey, there is some damn fine YA out there.

For 2015 I will not be focusing on authors; rather, I'm going to attempt to put a dent in my rather large pile of unread books I already own. Some of them might be by writers of color; some are by women of color. I'll keep you posted. 

1 comment:

  1. It looks like we gravitate towards the same genres. I have managed to reduce my list to a half dozen unread books... as long as we don't count history books! ;o)