Recently due to different articles, op-ed pieces, and readers calling out publishing houses we have once again begun to talk about diversity in books. Or better yet the lack of diversity in books.
Today, I'm going to talk about the lack of diversity in science fiction, I used to be a huge scifi fan. I owned and read so many books, eventually I got turned off the genre after reading the thousandth book with no characters of color or if there were any, they were the 'natives who needed to be civilized, or the ones to gain wisdom from".
Here's a picture I loaded on instagram from my notes in high school.
This is the full article I wrote
" Dear Scifi Authors,
I want you to know, that I SEE you. In your books you create your 'Utopian' world and almost NEVER include black or minority characters. Your heroes/heroines are white and their friends heck even the neighbors are white. Do you not think we notice?? BOOO!!!!! Yes I get that we write what we know, but seriously you have no minority friends?? No one you can study?? Or ask questions??
STOP IT, you're creating a new world how about you DIVERSIFY. You're the God here, you're writing the mythology, the pros and the cons of the world, the heroes and the heroines, the villains and the cannon fodder, and even in the world you create where we can replicate human beings, and speak with animals you don't have a brilliant scientist who is black?? An Asian who is good at anything other than the stereotypical subjects of academics?? How about a Native character who isn't the medicine man?? Or healer?? As a teen I hate not having characters I can look to and say yeah I would totally do that!!
If the tv shows like Star Trek can have minority characters who are amazing as well as diverse in their complexities and their stories. Why can't you??"
I wrote this in 1999, y'all that's over fifteen years ago. Well heck that makes me old as heck, I didn't realize that it was so many years ago. Originally I had written this because I had finished reading Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" and while I enjoyed the story & I hated the way the women where treated I was even more pissed at the blacks and gays were treated. I mean this wasn't a good world but the few black being portrayed as less than they barely had anything going for them. Why are we always the ones as the oppressed in science fiction??
For a while it seemed like there was going to be some hope, like things were changing, new trends were coming along and more women were writing books in the genre, I had hope that more minority authors would come along too. I know the greats like Octavia Bulter existed and of course Tananarive Due, there were few books for young teens to read. It hasn't changed much since then and so many kids are missing out on a great genre because there isn't anyone that looks like us in the books.
I personally don't have any kind of solution here. I just know that I'm tired of having to pretend that the character doesn't have blonde hair, or blue eyes. I simply pretend that the character looks like me, If you have authors to recommend can you do so down below?? I've read Melanie Rawn, Sara Douglass, Barb Hendee, Mercedes Lackley & Margaret Atwood. I also wouldn't be a great reader if I hadn't already exhausted Octavia Bulter's books, as well as Tananarive Due's work as well. I still love science fiction, just well not as much as romance.
Name some down below. What do you think about the lack of diversity in science fiction. What are some of your favorite works of scifi??
Thanks for being here