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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A MORE DIVERSE UNIVERSE: Celebrating People Of Color Speculative Fiction Authors (by Mihir Wanchoo)

I’m a bit too late to join this event but I think it deserves all the attention and praise it can get. Aarti of Booklust blog had posted about the initial announcement over on her blog in late August and these were the pertinent points highlighted in regards to the inception of this tour:

I've spoken on this blog (and in other forums) about the lack of diversity in fantasy fiction, particularly fantasy fiction of the epic nature. If epic fantasy has diversity, it is often present in a fashion that mirrors the stereotypes of Medieval Europe, with Viking-like invaders from the North and Infidels from the East and uneasy peaces and petty wars with those that look most like the heroes of the stories. This is unfair for many reasons that I hope I don't need to enumerate here. And of course, there are absolutely amazing authors whose books are populated by characters of every size, shape, color, and species.”

But it's still difficult and frustrating to be a fantasy reader who comes up against the same tropes in every book. Because while fantasy novels can be, well, fantastic, they can also be very repetitive and tell the same story with different character names. And I can't help but think that at least part of the reason is because of the lack of diversity in fantasy book authorship. Because it is hard to break into the fantasy genre as a new author, generally. And even more difficult if your book is about a person of color. And most difficult of all if you yourself are a person of color writing stories about characters of color.”

And so a small group of bloggers got together to create an event to fight this. And, as bloggers do, we decided to organize a blog tour. For one week in September (the week of the 23rd), we want ALL OF YOU fantasy/sci fi/magical realism readers (with blogs and without) to read a fantasy/sci fi/magical realism novel written by a person of color. And to write a review of that book! You know as well as I do that books succeed based on word of mouth and mentions and conversation, and this is where bloggers can help the MOST. Just read one book. And share your thoughts on that one book.”

There’s a lot more to it and the details in regards to what constitutes a piece written by an author of color as well as a “recommended reading list – People of Color in Fantasy literature” and much more can be found in that post (scroll all the way down). I thought this to be an initiative that’s worth highlighting and it has already begun with the schedule being posted over on Aarti’s blog:





12] Tracey - TBD 


1] Jessica @ Nisaba Be Praised
2] Meghan @ Medieval Bookworm - Fledging by Octavia Butler
3] Jeanne @ Necromancy Never Pays, Babel - 17, by Samuel R. Delaney
4] Fence @ Susan Hated Literature - TBD
5] Kelsey - Kindred, by Octavia Butler
7] Sabrina @ Following the Lede - TBD
8] Sandstone @ Reflections Without a Mirror - The Fall of the Towers, by Samuel Delaney
9] Terri @ BrownGirl BookSpeak - Fire Baptized, by Kenya Wright
10] Jae @ Book Nympho - TBD
11] Joanna @ Create Your World - White is for Witching, by Helen Oyeyemi
12] Kit @ orphans and animals - Huntress, by Malinda Lo
13] Vicki @ I’d Rather be Reading at the Beach - A Wish Before Dying, by Zetta Elliot
14] Rachel @ Resistance is Futile - The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin
15] Sharon @ Library Hungry - My Soul to Keep, by Tananarive Due


1] Shivanee @ Novel Niche - Redemption in Indigo, by Karen Lord
3] Memory @ Stella Matutina - The Killing Moon, by N.K. Jeminsin
4] Vasilly @ 1330v - TBD
5] Lisa @ Starmetal Oak Reviews - Akata Witch, by Nnedi Okorafor
6] Susanna @ SusieBookworm - Field of Honor, by D.L. Birchfield
7] Amber @ A Morose Bookshelf - Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor
8] Laura @ Ruby Bastille - TBD
9] Stacy @ The Novel Life - TBD
10] Kim @ Sophisticated Dorkiness - TBD
11] Cathy @ Cathy Ostlere’s Blog - The Night Wanderer, by Drew Haydon Taylor
12] Elizabeth @ As Usual, I Need More Bookshelves - When Fox Was a Thousand, by Larissa Lao
13] Lambert @ L. Lambert Lawson - Zahrah the Windseeker, by Nnedi Okorafor
14] Akila @ The Englishist - The House of Dies Drear, by Virginia Hamilton
15] Alpa @ 1 More Page Please - TBD
16] Micah @ Hypocritical Hyperbole - TBD
17] Amy @ Amy Reads - Akata Witch, by Nnedi Okorafor
18] Rachel @ Resistance is Futile - Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor
19] Sudha @ BookLust - Throne of the Crescent Moon, by Saladin Ahmed


1] Sheila @ Book Journey - 47, by Walter Mosley
2] Jodie @ Book Gazing - Redemption in Indigo, by Karen Lord
3] Rachel @ Resistance is futile - Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith, by Gina B. Nahai
4] Sharikquh @ Kesabaran - TBD
5] Alex @ Randomly Reading - Huntress, by Malinda Lo
7] Starr @ The Literati Press - Wild Seed, by Octavia Butler
8] Bellezza @ Dolce Bellezza - Woman in the Dunes, by Kobo Abe
9] Shelley - TBD
11] Alpa @ 1 More Page Please - TBD

This list will be updated daily and so please check back on to the original scheduling page to see the most up-to-date nature of the blog tour. I would like to thank Aarti and all other bloggers for organizing this event and for all the time and hard work they put in for successfully running it. Lastly since I wasn't able to participate in this event, I’ll still be trying to review a book that fits under the canopy of this blog tour. As luck would have it, I recently read a great debut that I believe, fits the billing perfectly so look out for the review of GOVINDA by Krishna Udayasankar on the 3rd of October.

NOTE: Both pictures courtesy of Booklust blog and A More Diverse Universe Blog Tour.


Aarti said...

Oh, thank you so much for highlighting the tour! I'm sorry you couldn't participate, but this site is so good about reviewing diverse fantasy as a rule, so you are with us all in spirit :-)

Really appreciate the support - will be sure to loop you in if we make it a more regular event. The response has been overwhelming and absolutely amazing, as you can see by the packed schedule!

The Reader said...

Hi Aarti

Thanks for stopping by & congrats for thinking and organizing this wonderful tour. I wish I could have participated but that's more due to my absentmindedness that I couldn't.

If you do hold this next year, I'll definitely participate in it. Take care & keep up the wonderful reviews.


Anonymous said...

I agree fully, authors of color and their work should receive recognition and have their work exhibited. Adversely a large problem which must be faced is the wall called perspective. We live in a western or rather European based culture. Therefore find it difficult or at least i do, to relate to characters of another culture. Knights in shining armor and kings and chivalry et al a cultural anachronism but its our cultural anachronism. Caliphs and Rajahs and medicine men are not. Its interesting to read a book from such a perspective once in a while but i wouldnt make a habit of it. The reason why a song of ice and fire is so popular is because it resonates on a completely cultural level. Sure its a fantasy book with tons of gore and more than a touch of depravity but i understand the Westorosi mindset, their ideals, their worldview. To change the color of a character is no big deal thou it can be insulting to impose European culture and social dynamics on another people. Imagine A game of thrones set in africa as a battle between rival clans but no other difference. In the end its about story tell it well and even if its Harry Potter retold, the same story just the names and places changed


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