Before I tell you about editor, tech reviewer, FluidArtist.com blogger, and fandom activist K. Tempest Bradford and what she did, I want to ask you, a typical reader, to do a thought experiment. 

Since you’re a typical reader, I know that in any given year, 90 to 100% of the books you read are by Buddhist lesbians from Beijing.

Now, I know that Buddhist lesbians from Beijing have written many, many excellent novels. I would never claim otherwise. But since you’re already so familiar with books by Buddhist lesbian writers from Beijing, I’m thinking, hey, how about for the next year, you try reading books by authors from the rest of humanity? Like, Buddhist gay writers from Beijing? Or Buddhist lesbians writers from Shanghai? Hey, they don’t even have to be Buddhist. Or lesbian. Or from any Chinese city at all. Because… there’s a planet full of writers.

I’m sure you’ll find a few—maybe dozens, maybe thousands—that you’ll like, especially since you’ve been unconsciously or maybe even consciously excluding them your whole life.

But then again, so did the educational system, and major media book reviews, book promotions, literary events, and Hollywood. So I’m definitely not blaming you for personally for focusing 90 to 100% of your reading on Buddhist lesbian writers from Beijing.

But because I suggested you broaden the range of writers that will entertain you, you’ll think about it, right? And obviously you wouldn't launch vicious attacks against me for my race, gender, sexuality, or appearance, right? Because we're adults.

So back to K. Tempest Bradford.

- See more at: http://ministerfaust.blogspot.com/2015/03/wab-kinew-on-canada-reads-wayne.html#sthash.RD0sUfVs.dpuf

- See more at: http://ministerfaust.blogspot.com/2015/03/wab-kinew-on-canada-reads-wayne.html#sthash.RD0sUfVs.dpuf


On the website XOJane.com, Bradford recently challenged readers for one year to read books by queer writers, writers with disabilities, women writers, coloured writers, and any who overlap categories.

Put another way, Bradford challenged readers to read books by writers representing the vast majority of humanity. 

However, she didn’t quite phrase her challenge that way--instead, she said that readers should, for one year, read books by writers who aren’t straight White men who were cis-male (that is, born and widely accepted as male).

The result of Bradford’s challenge was so much pearl-clutching that many people outright asphyxiated themselves. Many people accused Bradford of what they called “racism,” or “reverse racism,” and said they didn’t want to be “limited” in their choices, despite the fact that Bradford’s goal was to get them to stop limiting themselves.

She was not, as she put it, "coming to get their White man books."

She did, however, include a photo of herself holding a Neil Gaiman book with a big red cross-out circle over the cover.


K. Tempest Bradford spoke with me by Skype from her home in New York City on March 4, 2015. She told me about:

  • her goals in issuing the challenge
  • the obscene and deranged attacks her challenge drew
  • what’s she’s learned from the experience
  • how all of that compares to her experiences of multiculturalism vs. Eurocentrism at science fiction and fantasy conventions, and
  • how Neil Gaiman himself reacted to her challenge and the backlash (one case is here; Bradford also collected dozens of disgusting tweets against her, but that link may be gone; if you can find it, please post it here).

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montsamu said…
Since you ask for recs in sf/f: Everything Octavia Butler ever wrote. Everything. Parable of the Sower, Kindred, Dawn, Bloodchild and Other Stories, Fledgling. (Then if you liked Parable or Dawn or Bloodchild there are sequels.) All available in audio, too, for those who (I'm just guessing here, this is a podcast) are good with information coming in through their ears.

Looking forward to the "who to read next" episode next week!
Minister Faust said…
Thanks, montsamu.

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