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March 2017

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changing guns for brooms the guards change to clean up crews

The amazing Nalo Hopkinson (in my opinion, one of the five best writers of English-language fantasy in the history of the genre) has a wonderful essay today on what it means to be a fan or writer of color in the SFF genre.

Her essay is part of a protest meant to increase the visibility of people of color within the genre.

As previously posted, that you may shop more conveniently, I offer the ongoing nonexhaustive list of authors of speculative fiction writing in or translated into English who are not of European descent.

If you think that list begins and ends with Octavia Butler and Chip Delany, may I respectfully suggest that you click the cut tag. Emendations and additions are encouraged.


  1. Kobo Abe
  2. Ray Anthony
  3. James Stevens-Arce
  4. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
  5. L.A. Banks
  6. Kage Baker
  7. Steven Barnes
  8. Marlorie Blackman (Noughts and Crosses)
  9. Aliette de Bodard
  10. K. Tempest Bradford
  11. Maurice Broadus
  12. Tobias Buckell
  13. Octavia Butler
  14. Levar Burton
  15. E.L. Chen
  16. Eric Choi
  17. Ted Chiang
  18. Brenda Clough
  19. Sylvia Day/S.J. Day
  20. Samuel R. Delany
  21. Junot Diaz
  22. Wu Dingbo
  23. Moondancer Drake
  24. W.E.B. DuBois
  25. Tananarive Due
  26. David Anthony Durham
  27. Louise Erdrich
  28. Stella Evans
  29. Minister Faust
  30. Heinz Insu Fenkl
  31. Eugie Foster
  32. Amitav Ghosh
  33. Craig Gidney
  34. Owl Goingback
  35. Hiromi Goto
  36. Angélica Gorodischer (Kalpa Imperial, translation by Ursula K. Le Guin.)
  37. Virginia Hairston
  38. Virginia Hamilton
  39. Karen Harbaugh
  40. Naomi Hirahara
  41. Ernest Hogan
  42. Nalo Hopkinson
  43. Kazuo Ishiguro
  44. Nora Jemisin
  45. Alaya Dawn Johnson
  46. Ruchir Joshi (The Last Jet Engine Laugh)
  47. Daniel Heath Justice
  48. Jackie Kay (Scottish-Nigerian fantasy, Strawgirl)
  49. Yoji Kendo/Eric Kotani
  50. Maxine Hong Kingston
  51. Swapna Kishore
  52. Hari Kunzru
  53. Larissa Lai (When Fox is a Thousand)
  54. Yoon Ha Lee
  55. Mary Soon Lee
  56. Marjorie M. Liu
  57. Karin Lowachee
  58. Derwin Mak
  59. Carole McDonnell
  60. Yukio Mishima
  61. Miyuki Miyabe
  62. Mary Anne Mohanraj
  63. Toni Morrison
  64. Walter Mosley
  65. Haruki Murakami
  66. E.C. Myers
  67. Linda Nagata
  68. Suniti Namjoshi
  69. Shweta Narayan
  70. Gloria Naylor
  71. Misha Nogha
  72. Nnedi Okorafor/Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu
  73. Helen Oyeyemi
  74. Ruth Ozek
  75. Fiona Patton
  76. Gary Phillips
  77. Tony Pi
  78. Chelsea Polk
  79. Cindy Pon
  80. Ishmael Reed
  81. Eden Robinson
  82. Michelle Sagara/Michelle Sagara West
  83. William Sanders
  84. Charles Saunders
  85. George Schuyler
  86. Nisi Shawl
  87. Leslie Marmon Silko
  88. Ulises Silva
  89. Vandana Singh
  90. S. P. Somtow/Somtow Sucharitkul
  91. Cecelia Tan
  92. George Takei
  93. Sheree Thomas
  94. Greg Van Eekhout
  95. LaShawn M. Wanak
  96. Wrath James White
  97. Colson Whitehead
  98. Frank Wu
  99. Tetsu Yano
  100. Erzebet Yellowboy
  101. Lawrence Yep
  102. Doselle Young


Comments

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I'll be honest, but I have never even thought about the ethnicity of any author I read. They could all be purple for all I know.
If you were to go read Nalo's essay, it might show you that (a) not everybody has that privilege and (b) having that privilege without examining it can be a bit problematic.

One thing Nalo's essay does not point out, which I think is important for white fans to recognize, is that oftentimes works by white writers featuring characters of color get more critical and fan attention than works by writers of color, simply because works by people who share our cultural preconceptions are easier for us to understand and make us less uncomfortable.

But that discomfort that comes from being exposed to viewpoints not our own is actually a good thing.
I've met some of them. Without exception, they have all been very cool people.
I'd like to quibble, gently, with the phrase "americanized names". To me that phrase implies that someone has changed her name to blend in with dominant-white US society. In the cases you mention, Virginia Hamilton is an African American who grew up in a farming family; I think it quite likely that her family has had that name, for example, longer than my family has had ours. (I don't think ours was changed at Ellis Island like so many, but we probably wouldn't have *had* a name other than patronymic until whatever czar made it mandatory.)

In Karen Harbaugh's case, her website describes her as a "half-Japanese US Navy brat", so it seems likely her American father (don't know his race, but "half-Japanese" probably implies white) married a Japanese woman. I don't know if Harbaugh is her birth or married name, but either way I doubt she WASP-ified it on purpose unless it's a nom de plume.

The other part of the phrase I dislike is the implication that only Western European names are "American". Hsu is an American name. Wishnevsky is an American name. Berman is an American name. Mvele is an American name. Ng, Stoltzfus, Red Horse, Huang, Price, Otani, Dzikowski, Lim, Iannacone, Washington, and even Obama are all American names.
Thank you!
Marjorie Liu!! :-)

(I had no idea that Fiona Patton was not-of-European-descent. I would have sworn she was Irish on a stack of Holy Documents of Varying Source. Shows what I know.)
Thanks!

She's also first peoples, and I never would have known it had I not met and spoken with her, and been on a panel on race in SFF with her.

O hai there, Bear, nice assumption.
Mary Anne Mohanraj writes some of my favorite erotica, so I'm very glad to see her on this list.
George Takei wrote a pretty good novel about a Japanese swordsman. With robots! I was 9 or so, and that's all the info I have. But it did include a scene where the guy hiring the hero gave him his fake ID, and the hero pointed out that a Japanese guy didn't really want to use a fake Chinese name. That part made an impression.
Dude! Who knew?

0.0

Thank you.
Craig Gidney (short story collection Sea, Swallow Me and Other Stories came out last fall.

Alaya Dawn Johnson (YA fantasy novelist)

Eden Robinson (Canadian First Peoples novelist, works in and out of genre, Monkey Beach is a brilliant ghost story.

The Carl Brandon Society has some great readings lists.
Alaya and Craig have books out? I did not know. Yay! Thank you.
Alaya Dawn Johnson and E.C. Meyers
Thank you!
Thanks for posting this list.
This is a great list, with some fabulous writers on it. Thanks for posting (I share your opinion of Nalo's writing).

I do have to point out that Lucie Chin, an old friend/roomie of mine, is Chin only by marriage; she's as white a blonde midwestern person as you are ever likely to meet. But writing a Chinese fantasy novel came out talking with her in-laws and their parents. The Fairy of Ku-She is a wonderful book.
Ooops. She's one of the writers I've never read, nor met--but somebody suggested her last go-through.

There are too many books.
I'm glad I'm starting to be able to read fiction regularly again, and that you posted this list so I have more fiction to look for. I hope the Finnish library system has lots and lots of books by these authors.
Mostly on the short fiction end of things, LaShawn M. Wanak and Swapna Kishore (who is soon to appear in Ideo. And rocks). And Shweta Narayan, Derwin Mak, Eric Choi, and E.L. Chen.

L.A. Banks on the multiple-novels end, too.
Thanks!
Oh, no intentions of a complete list: that's why I call it nonexhaustive.

There's at least one author who's been removed on his own request, so it will never be complete.
Nice list. Some of my favourites as well as lots of writers I'm not familiar with that I'll be looking into in the future.

(By the way, I see that an extra d has somehow become affixed to Malorie Blackman's name. Thought you'd want to know. :) )
Thank you.
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