Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Signal Boost: Support Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism & Beyond

I don't think I've ever posted on this blog about a crowd-sourced project before, but I really believe in this one and it's still a bit short of its goal.  As a disclosure, I am a backer of the project.

Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism & Beyond--Support the Writer Campaign is raising funds for an anthology of speculative fiction written by by people of color. It's designed to be an opportunity to spotlight the fact that, despite what you may see in popular culture, there are plenty of extremely talented writers out there who aren't white.

The project is meant to open eyes to this fact, because all too often, it appears that only white writers get the attention or that white characters are the only ones out there in the realms of speculative fiction stories. It's a problem that I've taken a particular interest in since coming back from ReaderCon. I've always been aware of it, but now it's something that I want to actively challenge, both in my choice of fiction that I read and in how I write my own stories.

I think the project's description puts it most accurately:

When watching a work of science fiction on the big or small screen, people of color often find themselves asking:
"Where did we go?"
"Did some melanin-devouring plague attack all humanity?"
"Do zombies only like the dark meat?"
But that's Hollywood. While studio executives continue to show the world's multi-hued population through its monochromatic lens, the literary field of speculative fiction has become more diverse than ever. Whether it's horror, science fiction, or fantasy, steampunk or steamfunk (and let's not forget sword and soul), writers of color are producing quality works and accumulating accolades and awards every day.
 I am woefully ignorant of the vast majority of the contributors, which I hope to be able to fix once the project is funded. (I will allow myself the one caveat that given I work heavily as a review of comics, I can only spend so much time reading anything else, so my knowledge of modern fiction writers in general is far less than the average active reader, I'd wager.)  However, I can speak personally for the quality of Tobias Buckell's prose, whose first novel I read several years ago.  I also saw Anil Menon, Daniel Jose Older, and  Vandana Singh at ReaderCon on various panels, and all of them impressed me as authors I wanted to seek out and read from, based on their views about the nature of writing.

As of this writing, the project is a little over $3,000 short of its goal. It is a flexible funding campaign, so the project will at least be partially funded. But for $10, you can get an electronic copy of an anthology that has talented individuals working together to show that the world of the possible has as many shades as our own reality.

If you enjoy short fiction and have the funds available, please help this project meet its goal, both for your own reading pleasure and for the statement it makes that books like this are things we as readers want to see on our shelves.

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