Saturday, October 05, 2013

Set Truth on Stun: Reimagining an Anti-Oppressive SF/F

Recently, Daniel José Older asked a group of writers, editors, and publishers to imagine in both practical and fantastical ways what the SF and fantasy community would look like if it was actively anti-oppressive. This conversation took place over email in August 2013, and the results were published in Strange Horizons as "Set Truth on Stun: Reimagining an Anti-Oppressive SF/F."

He opened with the question: "How do you imagine an anti-oppressive SF/F community? You can think small and practical or sweeping and grandiose, you can talk about the community itself or the literature it produces, take the question anywhere you want to go with it."

Léonicka Valcius, Carrie Cuinn, Andrea Hairston, Kay T. Holt, and Justine Larbalestier responded with a lot to consider.

Among my favorite take-aways was Cuinn's response: "I imagine a community that isn't aggressively anti-oppressive—it simply isn't oppressive. I'd love to live in a world where sexism, racism, and other forms of Othering didn't happen, to the point where we're surprised when they do. The reaction to those sorts of negative generalizations should be, "Oh, why would you think that?" not the agreement or even silent acceptance we often see today. I imagine a community that understands there is a wide spectrum of speculative fiction creators and consumers."

Daniel José Older is a Brooklyn-based writer, composer, and paramedic. Salsa Nocturna, Daniel's ghost noir collection, was hailed as "striking and original" by Publishers Weekly. He's co-editing the forthcoming anthology, Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction From The Margins Of History. His music, ponderings, and ambulance adventures live at

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