Okay, so I consider myself a fairly well-read person, on account of I like to read, I read quickly, and I enjoy little more than getting lost in a great world. I've been as fannish about some books as television shows, back in the day.
So imagine my shame when fandom started collecting a list of non-pinkish-beige SFF authors
and I realized how few of the authors on this list that I hadn't ever heard of.
This is the list, btw: ( Scifi/Fantasy Authors of Color, suggested by fandom and collected by matociquala )
Aside from Louise Erdrich (who was a favorite, lo 15 years ago), Kazuo Ishiguro (who has been high profile for a while) and the graphic novel The Changers by Ezra Clayton Daniels (v. cool, recommended.) I really, really hadn't ever heard of these authors. And I don't think it's for lack of paying attention.
Race issues are alive and well and living (among other places) in the publishing/PR industry, my friends. And, possibly, in my selective vision, but I'm educable.
Now, scifi writing is not always my cuppa. I lean towards fantasyish stuff, but often as not YA these days, because I want to just fall into it, you know? Plus the shorter length and quick read works well with my lack of huge amounts of free time (on account of which) And the covers can be soooooo cheesetastic on SciFi books, but I'm not really in it for the covers, (or rather, I shouldn't be.)
BUT, then I heard this from ltlj
(she has it under flock, so I shall summarize): Charles Saunders wrote a story back in the 80's called Imaro, notable for being a fantastic black hero character in a sword and adventure type novel. The marketing was wretched, and despite critical acclaim from Black Gate
(link goes to a review alongside Tolkien) and ltlj
, among others, the books never gained a foothold.
Now the reprint is under threat of cancellation due to poor sales, so a grass-roots campaign is underway.
So Imaro is a mixed-race warrior in a fantastic Africa, from what I gather. His journey begins as a quest for acceptance and continues as he becomes more independent of what other people think. Saunders has been lauded for his world-building, and Black Gate, among others, say that the African setting is a character in it's own right (as well it should be, from one who has actually been there. Africa is a vast, incredible, romantic place, I'm still a little in love with it.) An interview with Saunders is here
So, I just went to Night Shade Books
and spend $14 on the first novel. It twinges a little as throwing money at the problem, but honestly, I don't think that's what it is. There was also this brilliant idea thrown about somewhere that suggested that perhaps a book by a WoC could be donated to a local library. That sounds like a marvelous idea to me.
There's a long list of WoC that I've never bloody-well HEARD OF, my people. I'm starting with Saunders.
ETA: there is a comm called 50books_poc
for anyone who wishes to participate in the intention to read 50 books by a person of color by ibarw next year. I signed up, and others have too. You could watch that comm and catch short recs or reviews of these books if you want a little more information before running off to buy (and, of course, you want my or other's opinion.)
ETA2: The first week of October is a apparently banned books week. The lovely sanguinity
has collected some links here.