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"Shiva and Octavia" by Sam J. Miller

I think it’s difficult for writers and readers who carry privilege, whether of class, race, gender, or sexuality, to understand just how crippling it is to look around at the books and magazines that you love, and not see yourself there. How deep the internalized wounds can go, when everyone around you from high school on up is holding up a book that looks nothing like you, and saying “THIS IS GREAT LITERATURE. THIS IS A STORY WORTH TELLING.” Every writer faces an uphill battle getting their words in print--my hero Octavia Butler said “everyone who tries to write experiences savage rejection, and it just goes on and on until finally you begin to break through”--but the savagery is compounded when you add in the external obstacles outsider writers face when their stories feature experiences and arcs that white straight middle class college-educated editors have no personal experience of ... and the staggering, sometimes crippling, internalized obstacles: the self-doubt and the self-rejection. Brilliant writer of color Lisa Bolekaja tweeted about facing the need to “work through shit just 2 feel comfortable putting sentences on paper. Somedays 1 sentence is a miracle.”

This is why queers need to destroy science fiction. It’s why women--and people of color--and writers working in languages other than English--and other marginalized communities need to destroy science fiction. We need to undermine the Straight White American Male Underpinnings of the genre.

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January 2019


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