Diversity in fiction is a fraught topic for a lot of reasons. Not only are there not very many diverse characters in mainstream published books (as we have seen in yesterday’s stats post), but there’s also a question of tokenism. People might think, “We have Junot Diaz, so the Latino slot is filled. No need to seek out more.” And even worse than that is the problem of what happens when people from outside the culture or viewpoint write stories that fill up those theoretical token slots.
Setting out to publish diverse fantasy stories is something that comes with a lot of responsibility and attention to balance. We’re constantly thinking about how to achieve our goal in ways that help diversity truly flourish, and we want to give everyone else some insight into those thoughts.
Aliette de Bodard is a writer whose work we both respect and enjoy. Alisa has even published one of her stories in the anthology New Ceres Nights. On top of being a fantastic writer, Aliette’s also got a lot of very intelligent and thoughtful things to say about writing outside of one’s own cultural experience. Here’s an excellent post in which Aliette breaks down some of the things that people might consider when they set out to write characters and settings that aren’t part of their own experience. If you haven’t read it before, we highly recommend it.
Our vision for Kaleidoscope is a gorgeous array of stories and characters from all sorts of viewpoints. We’re going to have our open submissions call because we want to see work from anyone who feels they have a story to share with us. We don’t want to limit this project to a few big names, and we want to be sure that people EVERYWHERE feel free to submit their stories to us. We are open to thoughtful stories about characters outside of our authors’ personal experience, but we also welcome stories that reflect authors’ direct experiences. We think there is room for both things to be done very well, and we hope to have a glorious mixture in our final selection.
We’re at $2,755 at the time of this post’s writing. THANK YOU to all our supporters! At $7,000 we’ll open our submissions call. Please help us get there! Visit our Pozible page and become a backer. If you can’t afford to do that, boosting the signal is also a big help!