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Does Apartheid & Chauvinism Extend to SciFi? - Back Catalogue Secrets III

Why SciFi?
For years Sci Fi has been the purview of male writers. Specifically white male writers. This is the reason Octavia Butler was repeatedly asked in interviews: Why Science Fiction?

And her response was always “Why not!”

My introduction to screen Sci Fi was through my mother. Growing up in the 60s and 70s, television meant that series such as Dr Who and Star Trek were making their way onto the small screen. I didn’t learn about Dr Who till I came to the UK and went to university. Because of my mother however, Beam me up Scottie, Lieutenant Uhura kissing Captain Kirk and Vulcan salutes regularly featured in conversations. This at a time in my particular part of the world, when cross-racial kissing was frowned upon and not every household owned a TV. The wealthiest families polished their set with Mr Sheen every Friday before friends came round to watch The World at War or Dallas after dinner.

Interestingly, I initially only consumed Sci Fi on the small screen and at the cinema. I adore the films Dune, Bladerunner and The Matrix but didn’t read a novel in the genre until I was in my late 20s. And certainly nothing by a male author until I hit my 30s. That one foray had me racing back to my female favs.

My favourite SciFi Authors
Ursula K Le Guin
Anne McCaffrey
Nalo Hopkinson
Octavia Butler

A Turning Point
In my early twenties, Anne McCaffrey, known to me only as a Fantasy author, co-wrote a SciFi series with Elizabeth Ann Scarborough. It was set on an icy planet called Petaybee and before I knew what was happening I had moved seamlessly from being solely a Fantasy reader to consuming both genres in equal measure. To this day a set of this series still graces my book shelves and I'm about to reread them as I've run out of library books.

Be The Change
As far as I’m concerned, a great divide still exists in SciFi. There are few heroes and heroines of colour in SciFi, few female authors acknowledged for their prowess in dealing with the genre, let alone female authors of colour mentioned in regards to SciFi. But I’m hoping to make a small contribution to changing that situation. Why don’t you help me spread the word.

The 2nd book in the series is currently priced at $0.99 and £0.99 until midnight on 17th May. Don't miss out!


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