diversity in scifi

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself - but first she has to make it there, alive.

Nnedi Okorafor, born to Igbo Nigerian parents in Cincinnati, Ohio on April 8, 1974, is an author of fantasy and science fiction for both adults and younger readers. Her children’s book Long Juju Man (Macmillan, 2009) won the 2007-08 Macmillan Writer’s Prize for Africa, and her adult novel Who Fears Death (DAW, 2010) was a Tiptree Honor Book. She is currently a professor of creative writing at Chicago State University.

Binti will be released on September 22, 2015. Order here.

On Dutch and D’avin

Killjoys’ Dutch is one of the coolest, most badass leading women in genre TV. I’m obsessed with her. 

I’ve noticed that a lot of fans seem to think her character – or the show itself – is somehow compromised by her romantic (currently in limbo, and for good reason, but that’s another story) relationship with D’avin. That the romance is “unnecessary” and “forced,” that main characters shouldn’t fall in love with each other, and strong women shouldn’t have love interests.

All that is so not applicable to Dutch. The show might not make a huge deal about it, but the fact is, Dutch is a black woman. Whether that really matters in the narrative or not, it matters in terms of media. The rules are different right out of the gate, because being precious and worthy of love is not the default for black women in our universe.

Dutch is, in a big way, an embodiment of how Black Womanhood is painted – a strong woman, badass, bit scary, doesn’t need a man, doesn’t need help, doesn’t feel pain. As cool as she is, without D’avin, she’s not exactly progressive representation.

While John doesn’t often worry about Dutch’s safety or well-being because she can take care of herself, D’avin worries about her. A lot. He doesn’t assume she never needs help. John loves her, I’m not questioning that, but D’avin sees her as a woman in a way no one else really does. And, yes, that includes seeing her as sexually attractive, it includes wanting her.

Dutch was trained to be a killing machine in childhood and was accepted as an equal in the male-dominated killjoy field, but other than the fact that she can use her sexuality to infiltrate and plays the femme fatale to a T, she’s not really seen as a real woman. Except by D’avin. And people think it’s weird that she responded to that almost instantly.

D’avin is not perfect. He’s not Prince Charming. Dutch is completely right to remove herself from him for a while after the Jaeger incident. She shouldn’t behave like a robot who wasn’t deeply affected by having her trust so violently broken, even though it was out of his control. She needs to heal. But she also needs him, and there’s nothing regressive about that.

Where the hell is ‘The Expanse’ fandom at?? I hadn’t figured it was that under the radar.. Come on, people.

What is it about? It’s 200 years into the future and humans have colonized the solar system. Earth and Mars are on the brink of war.. It’s notably the most critically acclaimed sci-fi series since Firefly. And one of the most critically praised series.. ever. Incredible and diverse cast, including: Shohreh Aghdashloo, Domonique Tipper, Cas Anvar, Florence Faivre, Athena Karkanis, Jay Hernandez, Chad Coleman (That’s right! Tyreese from Walking Dead). It features amazing, complex characters, and enthralling storylines.

It also has incredible special effects, and, according to NASA, is extremely accurate in terms of a plausible/ realistic future in space..

So, tritely I ask.. what are you waitin’ for?

Do u want a thoughtful, diverse, feel-good character driven scifi novel?? U should read my new favourite book, “the long way to a small angry planet”!!
I finished it in less than two days!!

Its about a loveable ragtag crew who’re tasked to build wormholes through space!! world building is so thoughtful and complex without being textbook-like? And the characters! Are so loveable and complex and diverse!! (In terms of sexuality, race, gender, values…alien species) pls read this heartwarming character driven scifi… 

If you’ve read it pls come talk to me abt it bc I love it…

You’ll like if u like: Firefly, Farscape, Wolf 359, The Strange Case of Starship Iris

Netflix’s 3% (2016)

With the world in ruins, a gleaming offshore haven offers the only escape – for the 3% who can prove they’re worthy. 3% is Netflix’s first original Brazilian production.

I’m so excited I was given the opportunity to read this book a little earlier than it’s release date of March 3rd. I’m a big fan of scifi and this one hits all the right buttons. The official summary is:

Ren grew up listening to his mother tell stories about the Star Hosts—mythical people possessed by the power of the stars. Captured by a nefarious Baron, Ren discovers he may be something out of his mother’s stories, and must remain inconspicuous while he plots his escape. He befriends the mysterious Asher, a prisoner in the neighboring cell and member of the Phoenix Corps regiment. Together, they must master Ren’s growing technopathic abilities and try to save their friends while navigating the growing attraction between them.

The heart of the book is the struggle Ren has in learning about who he is - someone special, rare, and powerful - and what that means for his life. On top of that he’s dealing with a power-hungry lord trying to take over the world. And just to make matters more complicated, he’s also got this guy Asher along for the ride who he may or may not have some kind of feelings for maybe.

Absolutely the best part for me about scifi is getting to delve into a brand new world. Spacers, dusters, drifts; all of it creates a new setting that’s balanced with characters and circumstances that are relatable. Also? The pacing is perfect. I was interested and focused the whole time. I especially liked how it built the world and the plot together, rather than dumping information on and expecting me to remember it later.

Of course a great aspect of this book is the diverse cast. LGBTQ main characters, PoC, and women in power. The Star Host is a young adult book and I love that it’s written exactly like any other young adult book - without the heteronormativity. It’s just a kid trying to figure out himself, trying to figure out love, and trying to survive in a messed up world. In space.

If you’re interested - and I hope you are - it’s available for pre-order the usual places. Here’s the Amazon link.

tl;dr The Star Host is an LGBTQ Young Adult science fiction novel by F.T. Lukens. It’s coming out March 3rd. I loved it and highly recommend it!

Not Our Voices: When Asexual Representation Excludes the Creator

I’ve been seeing a lot of articles about how publishing is becoming more diverse, particularly in the speculative genres (horror, sci-fi, and fantasy).  A lot of these articles tend to focus mostly on gender, but there have been a few about greater diversity in terms of race and sexual orientation.  It seems like publishing is very slowly lumbering towards an increase in diversity, both in terms of authors and characters.  Many feminists and feminist organizations are celebrating the strides and accomplishments of women-identifying authors.

As an asexual woman, I have pretty much gotten used to such strides towards greater diversity leaving out women like me:  asexual-identifying individuals.  I celebrate these strides being made and at the same time, I can’t help but feel a bit left out.  Where are the feminists demanding asexual representation?  Where are the asexual-identifying authors being celebrated?

I’m very open about my orientation.  Everywhere I go.  I don’t hide it.  There are a few asexual characters in my series.  I do this because nobody should ever have to go through what I did before I realized what asexuality was.  I spent too many years scared and alone because there was no information on my orientation.  When I go to cons, I usually have at least one person come up to me and say they had no idea there was such a thing as asexuality or that there was a term for their orientation.  Asexuality is still largely invisible and that is extremely harmful to those who identify as such.

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend recently of non-asexual individuals dominating asexual narratives (not allying, but interpreting asexuality through a very, very narrow lens).  There were a couple things I saw that brought on this post.  The first was quite some time ago.  I saw a cis-het author get an ask:  what do you think about asexuality?

I can kind of understand where this anonymous individual was coming from:  when you’re all but invisible, you crave some kind of validation.  You just want someone to acknowledge you exist, that you’re not some kind of abnormality.  Yet, at the same time, what does it matter what a heterosexual man thinks of asexuality?  I can’t remember his answer (I know he said it existed, but really had no opinion on it, which was actually a good response.  Because honestly, there shouldn’t be a goddamn opinion on asexuality.  It’s an orientation, period.  End of sentence).  But see, that’s the thing:  when you don’t see anyone like you in the books/movies/shows you love, you will seek another person’s approval/validation.

The next thing, and by far the more damaging thing, which really brought on this post was a list I found a few minutes ago:  Books with Asexual Representation.  I actually shuddered when I saw that headline because I knew what was coming.

Who wasn’t on that list?  Asexual-identifying authors.

And here’s where we get into the problem of representation:  in publishing, asexuality is still thought of as “niche."  It’s an orientation, but too small to be bothered with.  I actually had a literary agent tell me that asexuality was too small a group and wouldn’t move books.  That’s been the overall attitude towards asexuality.  As a result, many asexual-identifying authors have turned to self-publishing to get our stories out there.  It’s the only avenue available to us to tell our stories.  Unfortunately, self-publishing is still mostly viewed as a lower form of writing.  You still have a lot of people who don’t think it’s real writing.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been asked if I was an actual writer.

However, that hasn’t stopped non-asexual authors and writers from creating asexual characters (very, very rarely.  Because of the amount of misinformation, most writers feel asexuals are "too boring” to bother with).  The problem is that when you have no reference, when you don’t even talk to anyone who identifies as asexual, when you don’t listen to the narratives of people with experience, you wind up with these grossly inaccurate portrayals of asexual-identifying individuals that are extremely harmful.  Asexuality is a spectrum and those who identify as asexual are extremely diverse.  Yet asexual characters in fiction (books, movies, TV shows) are very often:

  • Women
  • White
  • Fixable (9 times out of 10, asexuality is just a phase or some sort of condition)
  • Heterosexual
  • Middle/upper middle class
  • Virgins (stereotypical virgins:  have no idea about the reproductive system or what an erection is or things along those lines)
  • Awkward
  • Ridiculously attractive

You see how problematic that is?  An entire group of people has just been wedged into a very narrow box.  What about the asexual individuals that don’t fit in that box?  Asexual POC, asexuals who have different romantic attractions, asexuals with different body types?  Hell, most of the time a character’s asexuality is merely implied (as if asexuality is a dirty word).  If the only portrayals of asexuality are those created by non-asexual people, asexual individuals will continue to be erased.  Being asexual will continue to be seen as a “condition” and asexual-identifying individuals will continue to suffer in silence.

The asexual community needs allies desperately, but we need allies who can help our voices be heard.  Not allies who talk over us, tell our stories for us, or take credit for our narratives.  We need spaces to be more accepting.  We don’t need our orientation to be interpreted or explained to us.  The asexual community needs allies who listen, who hear our concerns, who work with us to make spaces more accepting and safer.

Everyone needs to see asexual heroes and heroines, needs to learn this isn’t a condition or a disease or something to be ashamed of.  We’re just another orientation on the spectrum.  Asexuals need to be portrayed as complicated and strong.  They can be the heroine/hero and aren’t defined solely by their orientation (but neither should they be ashamed of it).

Asexual-identifying people need to see their stories being told by fellow asexuals.  They need to see asexuals succeed, win awards, be accepted as equals.  Asexuals need to see asexuality being accepted.  God, what I wouldn’t have given to have seen a strong feminist asexual author kicking ass and taking names and giving absolutely zero fucks.  Strangely, I find that I’m trying to become that author in my own rather peculiar way.  If I can help just one asexual feel normal, feel like they’re not a freak, I have succeeded.  If I can show that asexuality and feminism are not at odds and that strong women can in fact identify as asexual, I will have succeeded.

Representation isn’t something you can half-ass.  You can’t point to some characters and declare, “HA!  There’s your representation.” (and then pat each other on the back for a job well-done or high-five or whatever they do).  Marginalized voices need to be heard, need to tell their own stories.  Asexuality needs more visibility, both in fiction and reality.  That will never be achieved if asexuality continues to be viewed (and subsequently portrayed) through a white, cis-hetero, patriarchal lens.

I’m an asexual fantasy author.  I write a variety of characters, including asexual-identifying ones.  You will not silence or erase me.  It may be an uphill battle, but it is one I will fight until my dying day.  It’s an important fight, one that has to be won.  Asexual-identifying individuals need to know they’re not alone.  We don’t need to be fixed or repaired.  We’re normal and we deserve to be seen, heard, and accepted.


Hay guys I wanted to let you know that my book is finally available in print form through amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01CAIOB8G/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1469066382&sr=8-1&pi=SY200_QL40&keywords=missing+rings+of+saturn&dpPl=1&dpID=51xTiEST5iL&ref=plSrch

A comiXologist Recommends:
Jen Keith recommends Saga #19

From the series that brought us Lying Cat comes the next installment of the abundantly award-winning Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and fionastaples. If you haven’t been following along, it is my duty to direct you back to issue #1; you can thank me later. For those of you keeping up with your required reading, then you already know Saga #19 will be a comic treat.

Saga is your standard boy and girl meet, fall in love, betray their own species during an inter-planetary war, and run off to have what might be the cutest child that side of the universe. Narrating this space romp through lushly designed alien worlds and cultures is said cutest child, Hazel, whose impish personality shines through the re-telling of her own childhood. In Saga #19, we find our besotted heroes/haggard parents in domestic bliss – if you can call juggling a rigid mother-in-law, a messy house pet, and a live-in ghostly baby-sitter the calming, everyday life of domesticity. Work may be tough, but your kid is cute, your spouse is gorgeous, and hopefully no assassins and/or robot princes will end up on your front lawn today.

The aptly named Saga enraptures its audience with Brian K. Vaughan’s perfect balance of poignant and comedic writing and Fiona Staples’ rich, expressive artwork. If you’re all caught up on Saga and aching for more from these two wildly talented creators, Vaughan’s Y: The Last Man and Staples’ work in The Mystery Society will hopefully hold you for now.

As in every issue, Saga and its captivating cast continues the journey across the galaxy and into our hearts.

[Pick up Saga #19 here!]

For fans of: sci-fidiverse characters, POC leads, female leads, romance, action

Jen Keith is a Digital Editor at comiXology, comic creator, music addict, and shamelessly unapologetic Green Arrow enthusiast.

Hey black writers! Get your stories ready for the Black Girl Magic Issue 2, officially open in about a month. My second submission for the first issue - a story that I’m really proud of - has already been guaranteed for this new issue (sobbing tears of joy) and I just gotta advertise~

anonymous asked:

After a LONG talk about how I'd love to see more diversity in the scifi/fant genre (or any genre, really) - "I don't mind diversity, as long as there's a REASON." Still trying to figure this one out...

Whitespeak for: I’m just saying there has to be a reason for other races to be around. Them simply existing and going about their day is clearly not realistic enough. I mean, it’s not like they do that in real life! I know all my PoC friends and contacts have a reason to be in my life, which is why I have none.

anonymous asked:

In my writing, I wasn't planning on using too much physical description of the characters (plenty of description for places, objects, etc. but just not too much for people) unless it is relevant to the plot. This results in most of my characters not having a defined hair/eye/skin color, height, weight, etc. Is this too little detail? Should I make the characters certain races even though it's irrelevant to the plot? Should I give them heights? I don't think it's necessary, but I could be wrong.

The only part here that raises a red flag for me is skin color. It’s okay to leave your characters appearances ambiguous, but if you don’t hint at them being different races, many readers will assume you’ve got an all-white cast and that’s something that is almost always unnecessary. So if you’re truly concerned with necessity, differentiate between the races. It is relevant to the plot. It’s what makes your story diverse and realistic or not. 

Anyway, good luck. -T

Five Wrong-Headed Reasons For Not Writing Diverse Characters (it’s about scifi specifically, but you can apply it to many genres)

Writing Racially and Culturally Diverse Characters

Tips and Resources For Writing Characters of Color

Cosmic Callisto Caprica & The Missing Rings Of Saturn Offical Book Trailer
Here's the official book trailer for "Cosmic Callisto Caprica & The Missing Rings Of Saturn" .By Sophia Chester Available now on the following platforms. Ama...

Hay guys! So a little while back I hit a HUGE follower milestone. I now have 5,000 wonderful followers and I wanted to celebrate by having a giveaway. I’m going to be giving away a free copy of my sci-fi  e-book “Cosmic Callisto Caprica & The Missing Rings Of Saturn”. So here are the rules for the giveaway.

1. You have to re-blog this post in order to enter.

2. You can re-blog as many time as you would like to increase your chances of winning.

3. I’m going to run this giveaway from Monday Jun 27 to Saturday July 2 at midnight.

4. I going to pick the winner based off of the amount of notes this post has and I’m going to draw a number from out of a cup. Lets say this post receives 50 notes and I pick number 49. If  number 49 is a LIKE and not a RE-BLOG I will pick another number from the cup. 


Cosmic Callisto Caprica

An exciting retro future space novella with a 1950s setting. The heroine of this story is a junior space detective named Cosmo.

Hi everyone! My name is Sophia Chester and this is my kickstarter project. I’ve written a fun scifi novel about a black space detective named Cosmo. Cosmo lives in a very unique world thats modeled after the 1950’s yet it has a slightly futuristic vibe to it. Everything is available with the push of a button and most people travel by means of rocket ships or flying saucers.

I wrote this novella because I love science fiction but it pains me to see that there aren’t any stories starting women of color. If you do see any black characters there most likely the comic relief or they end up dying to help push the story along. I’m sick of this and I’m sick of waiting to see when  someone will write the kind of story that I would wan.So I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I want to raise $3,000 to help publish my novella. So far I’ve managed to raise $500 and I only have 10 days left in my campaign.My kickstarter will end on July 31st at 12:15. I would appreciate any sort of contribution towards my campaign.Even if you don’t have the funds to help support my kickstarter thats ok. Simply reblogging this post and passing it on to the next person is just as helpful. Thank you.


We’ve made it past 27k! With 64 hours remaining, we’re one step closer to our goal! Well done, guys!

All of the original artwork tiers are all gone, but there is plenty of cool stuf left for you to get your hands on!

Digital editions of the anthology for 10$! Physical editions plus the digital version for 25$! A platinum tier with a signed physical edition of the book, the digital edition, a Bedside Press postcard and special listing in the book as a contributor for 50$! Multi-book packages of physical and digital editions for 50$ and 100$ for US and Canadian backers!

The final anthology is going to be 250 pages long, so that is a LOT of content you’re getting your hands on!

Pitch in now!