As I’ve mentioned before, I became a sci-fi fan when I was in college. However, even though I was interested in writing sci-fi (and the one short story I’ve had published had been written during this time) I didn’t really get into the world of being a sci-fi writer until I learned who author John Scalzi was, thanks to Wil Wheaton. His writing about what it’s like to be a sci-fi author drew me into wanting to learn more about the fandom and the genre, to the point of where I now actively follow several prominent authors on Twitter and know the names of several more.
When word first broke on how a vocal and reactionary segment of the sci-fi/fantasy fandom managed to rally its supporters over the years into jamming works they liked into the nominations list for the Hugo Awards, culminating in a near-total overrun in 2015, I was amused at how it began, appalled and how it progressed, and ultimately impressed at what they managed to pull off.
Which makes me think that if a group of terrible people can push forwards works they think epitomize the best in science fiction and fantasy, why can’t someone like me who is not completely terrible do the same thing?
Here then are the planks of the first-ever “Geeking Out About…” platform for the 2016 Hugo Awards season:
1. All works which are being promoted must be created by people who believe that genre fiction should contain diverse characters and perspectives.
2. All fictional works which are being promoted must contain at least two characters whose gender, sexual, physical, and/or racial identity is substantially different from the creator’s and also:
a) Has their own agency within the plot.
b) Has a scene with another character who is also of their same gender, sexual, physical, and/or racial identity where they don’t speak about the main protagonist but do advance the plot.
c) If there is a love interest for either or both of the characters, it is not the same character as the main protagonist.
d) If the characters die, the deaths are meaningful.
3. All non-fictional works which are being promoted must contain references to and/or significant discussion about diversity in genre fiction, and also:
a) If a web article written by one person or solo podcast or web series, must contain links to other articles or references to other work where the gender, sexual, physical, and/or racial identity of those creators/authors is substantially different from the solo creator’s.
b) If a multiple-creator podcast, article, or web series, one of the authors/creators or a guest speaker must be a person whose gender, sexual, physical, and/or racial identity is substantially different from the other creators.
4. All visual works which are being promoted which depict humanoid beings must contain imagery which does not demean individuals who are not of the same gender, sexual, physical, and/or racial identity of the creator.
As you can see, the “Geeking Out About…” platform is all about inclusivity, diversity, and reaching outside of a creator’s comfort zone to encompass new points of view into their own work. It’s all about promoting works where the creator has made a conscious effort to reach out not just to an audience who is just like them but can transcend their own cultural/physical identity and reach an audience which are not like them in substantial ways. I hope it goes without saying that all of the works I’ll be promoting must be things which I think are “good,” but that’s more of a subjective standard than an objective standard, so I didn’t include it as a plank.
Now that I have the terms of my platform all set, I’m definitely more eager to continue reading and experiencing more Hugo Award-eligible science fiction work as well as naming the first entry on my recommended list. Also, if you know of a work which you think I should consider, please drop a note in the comments and I’ll be sure to take a look at it.