merrily: Mac (Default)
*breathes in a deep, cleansing breath*

You know those possibly-illegal cell-phone blockers? (No, that's not just a wishful thought!) I want something like that now, but instead of blocking cell phones, I'd like it to block fail.

I'd link you to stuff, but I've got a throbbing headache from RaceFail'09 (now with more fail! Face-to-face fail! and added homophobia!), coupled with GateFail'09 (which may feature magical healing cock! fail), and I do not wish my throbbing headache on you.

[personal profile] karnythia could probably use some support from all of us, though, about this bullshit that went down at and beyond WorldCon, and if you feel moved to do something positive and forward-moving as a result, perhaps you might want to make a cashy money donation to fledgling press [profile] verbe_noire -- which [personal profile] karnythia runs, and which was the most positive outcome of RaceFail'09's first iteration -- or take a look at their extremely awesome recent call for submissions for a race-bending origins stories anthology and think about writing & submitting something.

Deep blue ocean, wide blue skies.
merrily: Mac (Default)
It occurred to me that when I made this post, I left out a couple of things, like who Justine Larbalestier is, and why you might want to drop a line to her publisher (debDOTshapiroATbloomsburyusaDOTorg) to help her out in getting her newest book's cover made a little less racist.

Justine's not particularly active in fandom (or if she is, she's been awfully good at separating her fannish self from her pro self, because I'm a nosy parker and I have no idea if she's got a fannish non de plume), but she's a concerned party: she keeps an lj account ([profile] justinelavaworm), and she wrote two books about women's involvement in sci-fi: Battle Of The Sexes in Science Fiction, which is about early sci-fi and gender roles, and is largely concerned with fannish involvement in the creation of sci-fi (it's great! you'd love it!), and Daughters of Earth, which is a collection of seminal (ovual?) sci-fi short stories written by women from the 1960s 'till now (many of which are out of print), paired with essays about the stories. After that, she turned to YA, and I really enjoyed her Magic & Madness trilogy, and also How To Ditch Your Fairy, which is adorable.

So, you should help her out because she's a fan, too, but also because she waded into this conversation before. You might remember, back during RaceFail'09, that John Scalzi said some pretty dumb things. Justine was the person to say, whoa there, you're not paying enough attention, and she did it diplomatically, and he listened and apologized. (I mean, other people said it to him, too, but Justine's his friend, and she's gonna tell her friends when they aren't wearing any pants.)

Not only that, but she's managed to do something very constructive about one part of what RaceFail was trying to address: she's written a book for teens which has a protagonist of colour.

Whitewashing is stupid and painful, and it needs to stop. Even if her publisher didn't want to put a black face on the cover (and the argument to not do that is so stupid and such an example of institutionalized racism that it makes my head hurt), they had other options - doing something like the Australian cover of the book, for example. And now Justine is in a bind, because this was not her choice, not even slightly, and she's argued against it, and now she's stuck.

But we have no contract with Bloomsbury, and we are readers and interested parties, and we can make a loud fucking noise about this kind of nonsense.

(If you are a bookseller, it would be particularly useful to write to Bloomsbury and tell them that yes, you do sell to black teens and other teens of colour, and yes, they want books that have protagonists like them. Apart from that, you should also tell them that you can do your job, thank you very much, and your job means helping people find books they may not have originally picked up.)

By the by, I don't know Justine personally. I just like her writing, and I like her respect for fandom, and I wouldn't wish this situation on anyone.
merrily: Mac (Default)
So, the lovely and talented Justine Larbalestier (on lj as [profile] justinelavaworm, though she doesn't really post there) has written a new young adult novel, which is coming out in October. It's called Liar, and the main character is Micah, a black teenager who "will frequently admit that she's a compulsive liar, but that may be the one honest thing she'll ever tell you."

But you wouldn't know that it's about a black teenager from the proposed cover for the American edition, which is on the advanced copies and which looks like this:



(You also wouldn't know it from the cover copy, which doesn't mention it either. But that's neither here nor there.)

Justine's pretty unhappy about this turn of events (link to a post on her blog, which also has pictures of the non-racist Australian cover, and a picture of basketball player Alana Beard, which is who Justine was picturing Micah to look like), though she's tried hard to be diplomatic.

I think it's time we helped her out. On the back of the advanced reader's copy (one of which I was ecstatic to get on Friday), there's an email address to send comments to: deb DOT shapiro AT bloomsburyusa DOT com.

Please, if you can, take the time to read Justine's blog post, and then write Deb Shapiro a note. It's important that there's critical mass on this one, because Bloomsbury seems blithely unaware that they've done something wrong, and unaware that readers are going to call them on it. They're also under the impression that putting the face of a black person on the cover of a book dooms it, which is nonsense, but doesn't mean that they have to whitewash it instead.
merrily: Mac (Default)
So here's something totally wicked awesome that's sprung out of the manure of RaceFail'09: [livejournal.com profile] verb_noire, a new small press devoted to publishing original work with PoC as protagonists.

They've already more than met their fundraising goal, but if you've got a few dollars lying around that you want to send to a good cause (or maybe your tax rebate was bigger than you expected?), consider sending it their way! Because I can tell you, small presses are perennially short of cash, and there is _no fucking way_ $1700 will last them very long, even if everyone involved donates their skill and time.
merrily: Mac (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] inalasahl has written a really useful contribution to the RaceFail09 responses -- Because There Aren't Enough Spoons On The Planet is here.

ETA: I wrote more, but I feel like it was rambly and not useful, so. Well. Cut. Just go read [livejournal.com profile] inalasahl's letter. And then link the next person to it who protests to you that they would certainly have listened if only the PoC who was complaining had been a little more polite.
merrily: Mac (Default)
So, Race Fail '09 continues (link to [livejournal.com profile] musesfool talking about it, not to any of the jerks themselves, in case you don't want to up their pageviews), and it makes me pissed off, but I'm not engaging with the perps, because that does not help.

Joanna Russ once wrote how she saw women taking a new approach to the men who said women couldn't write: the women turned their backs, and went on writing. I'm adopting the same thing here: when faced with a refusal by The Establishment to acknowledge and work on a problem, it's best to turn your back on TPTB, and work on the problem yourself.

So, in this case, I think what will help is for me to read more SF by people of colour. Oh flist, help me out with this! I've read most of Octavia Butler's work, and a smattering of Samuel Delaney -- who else should I pick up? (I'll take fantasy recommendations, too.)

I'm gonna go talk to current and past Bakka staffers, too, and see what they'll say. Will report back. But I want your suggestions! Please to be directing!

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