With June being #LGBTQPrideMonth, I would be remiss if I didn’t pay tribute to my brother and comrade, fellow gay Wakandan speculative fiction author, Nicholas Almand.
In our final live edition of Hard NOC Life from the NOC Reading Lounge at CTRL+ALT — the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s pop-up culture lab in the former Pear River Mart location in SoHo, award-winning poet Bryan Thao Worra discusses the literature of the Laotian diaspora and explains why the Asian American literay canon needs more speculative fiction.
Years ago, before we knew what shape Secret Identities was going to take, I asked my friend and former professor, the poet Luisa Igloria, to submit a poem about Asian Americans and superheroes. She sent me this beautiful persona poem from the point of view of Dolly Arro, the nurse who cared for Christopher Reeve for so many years until he died in 2004.
Though we ended up not using it in Secret Identities, Luisa eventually published the poem in the online literary magazine SWEET in 2008. I’ve asked Luisa if we could reprint her poem here on The Nerds of Color for Lit Week. The poem is after the jump, and Luisa’s new book, The Saints of Streets, is available now.
The #DiversityInSFF hashtag gave a solid signal boost to the longstanding, often-ignored, ever-trolled, much-needed convos about race and gender, privilege and science fiction/fantasy that have been going on since the dawn of time. For a few weeks twitter was all aflame with debates, links and related shenanigans. We have these convos, increasingly in depth, at cons and across the blogosphere. Backlash against those who speak out has come in the form of death and rape threats, hate mail, doubling down on sexist/racist/homophobic/ableist material, and mind-numbingly nonsensical counterarguments. And, of course, comments sections. Still, we move forward, take breaks to recuperate and then move forward some more towards a vision of SF/F that isn’t just another white male savior fantasies, a diversity that’s more than fake smiling multicolored dress up dolls.
This month Rose Fox and I have been wrapping up the selection process for Long Hidden, an anthology of speculative fiction from the margins of history. It’s busied me up and kept me from banging my head against the keyboard trying to piece together a coherent response to some never-ending fuckery and maybe that’s a good thing. My words are coming, but sometimes the best counterattack is to simply reroute the conversation to creativity, to create something new, a new space for voices that don’t get play in mainstream venues.
Read on to find some links to recent conversations about race and SF/F:
While this blog regularly gives voice(s) to the perspectives of self-proclaimed nerds of color on speculative media cinematic, televisual, animated, illustrated, and digitally interactive, we can’t forget that the pop-cultural expanse of fantastic worlds and stories we subsume under the rubrics of science fiction and fantasy, or speculative fiction more inclusively, or even nerd or geek culture more broadly, have their roots in the written. And so, this week on The Nerds of Color, we celebrate the written word. Literature. Books.