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Invisible: Personal Essays on Representation in SF/F

(Invisible #1)

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  119 ratings  ·  30 reviews
13 essays on the importance of representation in science fiction and fantasy, with an introduction by author Alex Dally MacFarlane. Proceeds from the sale of this collection go to support the Carl Brandon Society.

Full table of contents:

Introduction by Alex Dally MacFarlane.
“Parched” by Mark Oshiro.
“Boys’ Books” by Katharine Kerr.
“Clicking” by Susan Jane Bigelow.
“The Prince
Published April 11th 2014 by Jim Hines
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Oct 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Neither lengthy nor academic, these are well-written, very personal essays on the effects of NOT being represented in the kind of fiction one most enjoys- and/or being represented badly and inaccurately.

Obviously, some reflected my own experiences more closely than others, but the others were in many ways more rewarding perspectives. It's all too easy for any of us to be very aware of our own issues, but oblivious to those faced by other people, and I welcomed the heartfelt accounts that opened
Brianna Silva
Jul 06, 2019 rated it liked it
As I've been doing a podcast on this topic (representation in fiction) for a year and a half, and participating in the conversation online for longer, I can't say I got much new out of this book.

I think it serves well as an introduction to the topic, but there does come a time where it feels like you're repeating yourself. "Don't write stereotypes," and "feel free to not be limited in the kinds of people you write about, because representation is powerful." This remains true for every conceivabl
Elea Brandt
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An incredible collection of voices on representation and diversity in SF/F. The essays are short and easy to read, so I'd recommend this collection not only to people that are familiar with the topic but also to "beginners" that wonder why representation in SF/F may be an important issue.

The collection targets different topics such as representation of gender, queerness, disability, mental health issues, or chronic illness.

The essays share very personal experiences from various perspectives, th
M.E. Garber
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This is a great set of essays on inclusion/exclusion--in writing and other entertainment media--from the point of view of so many "groups" of people that it almost felt overwhelming. Placing the final essay in that place, though, was a masterful stroke. It toned down the "oh, look at all this stuff I have to think about!" feeling that started creeping over me, and replaced it with a sense of encouragement, of anticipation of my and others' attempts at including people of groups often overlo ...more
K.M. Herkes
Apr 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I feel comfortable rating this at five stars while it's still on my "I want to read" shelf because I read the essays in their original form on Jim C. Hines' blog. I've purchased my need-to-own copy, and I'm looking forward to revisiting these powerful, personal stories soon.

Go buy this book now. Prepare to feel uncomfortable in the best possible way. Prepare for some feels, and brace yourself for the possibility that you'll want to do some serious introspection.

These are words that needed saying
Aug 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
"I saw all the mirrors on earth and none of them reflected me..." (Jorge Luis Borges). This book is a collection of essays representation in SF/F. Individually the essays explore the lack of characters of color, various genders, queerness, nonNeuroTypical minds, and representation without understanding (disability, always-the-villain, not-seeing-color). I read this for my 2016 Reading Challenge "read a book of essays" (Bustle Reads).
Alis Franklin
Apr 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Read a lot of these when they were published on Hines' site, then immediately bought the ebook when it went on sale.

Important voices for an important project, and a must-read for anyone with even a tiny ounce of interest in representation in genre fiction.
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: k, 2014
A thought provoking collection of essays on the the importance of diversity in sci/fi and fantasy. I could easily relate to a few of the essays and gave some heavy thought to the others and after reading this I will think twice about what I choose to read next.
Glinda Harrison
May 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing series of essays on representation in SF/F.
Book #49 for 2017
PopSugar's Ultimate Reading Challenge (max. 3):
- A book with multiple authors
- A book with career advice
- The first book in a series you haven't read before
Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge:
- A book about books
- A book published by a micropress
Better World Books: A book under 200 pages

This is a great collection of short essays on the literary experience as a reader and/or writer of "other." Different voices come together to provide perspectives that are both unique and represent
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A quick, important read for anyone who wants to be a better writer, but geared toward sci-fi/fantasy. There are three volumes of essays, and this is the first. I plan on ready the other two as well. One note: I was only able to find them as a Kindle file, and I don't have a Kindle, so I am reading them in my browser. No problem.

I have many, many thoughts, but I feel like writing them all out now on Goodreads would be kinda navel-gazey. But if any of my friends wants to chat about issues of repr
This was a series of essays by writers on writing non standard characters. It was mostly heartfelt narratives of how people got into writing in order to represent the person that they are. I enjoyed reading it, and one essay in particular felt as if I could have written it myself. I had been hoping for more ideas on how to actually incorporate people who are different than me into stories. I bought the second collection at the same time that I bought the first, so I will be reading that as well ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thought provoking collection of personal essays allowing you to see beyond your own limited perspectives.

Highly recomended if you want to broaden your character scopes, or understand that your normal is not the same as everyone elses.
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A useful read on why we need all kinds of representation in SF/F and what it means to people to have it. A lot of the essays in this first collection focus on gender and sexual orientation - but disability, age and ethnicity feature as well.
David Lamb
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
My Kobo tells me I read this book in 16 minutes, which I find hard to believe. Even if it really took five times as long, in terms of value per unit time, it is hard to beat. This collection of moving and informative essays by marginalized people from the SFF community, especially when read as quickly as I did, hammers home the need for authors to represent a wide diversity of people in their stories. It deserves a reread, with pauses after each essay to reflect on Lessons Learned.
Dark Matter
Jun 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Evie Kendal reviewed this book; for more reviews by Evie, see Evie Kendal on Dark Matter Zine. To see all reviews on Dark Matter Zine, go to Dark Matter Zine's reviews.

Invisible is an anthology collection of short pieces focused on giving a voice to marginalised groups and individuals in fiction. This quote comes from the Introduction and summarises the project well:

“Art without a default, without dominant voices–imagine it! The writers in Invisible want to. Art without a default is art where
Janet Martin
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
While I think that folks who fall out of the norm deserve to have their voices heard, most of these essays sounded pretty whiny to me. No one feels normal all of the time. I was an introverted white girl reading boys' books and no one ever talked down to me about them. I was overweight--and on the cruelty scale, that was something to overcome, I can say. I have an autistic grandson--we treat him like a "real" person--with the same kindness and expectations we have for all of the children in our ...more
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
I have to admit, I found the quality of the essays in this book sort of all over the place. The first few were just...sort of there. They were short and didn't seem to have much point. As the book went on, though, the essays got better.

All of the authors of these essays are different from the general populous for one reason or another. Some of the essays were lamenting the lack of characters like the author in stories. Some were talking about how characters like them were not portrayed accuratel
Amy Hoodock
Jul 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I picked this up to read when it was released in April because Jim Hines is the editor and I like that he's been a strong proponent of equality. I've been following the debates in the SciFi community fairly closely over the last year regards racism and sexism and other isms and I know I don't know as much as I should so I decided to give this a try.

Honestly, I expected to saddened and angered by the essays but I also expected the reading to be a bit difficult and sometimes for it to get ranty s
This book of essays, most of which are available to read on Jim Hines' blog, represent an important reminder of the reasons that diversity and representation are important, and broader than just race and (binary) gender, although those are important and included too. I particularly appreciated the focus on disability, non-neurotypical people and non-binary gender identity. That said, the essays themselves were uneven in quality, and I liked the idea better in theory than execution. Invisible 2: ...more
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an anthology of personal essays from fans and creators of sf/f, about finding or not finding representation for parts of their identity in sf/f.

This is the first volume, and I recommend continuing with Invisible 2 for even more personal stories.

The essays are very readable and most people will probably relate personally to at least one or two of them. More importantly, for the ones you don't personally relate to, you can begin to understand how others are viewing the stories and characte
Apr 15, 2014 marked it as to-read
This began as a series of guest posts on Jim's blog about representation in SFF and is now an expanded e-book, with the proceeds going to Con or Bust. The original essays did a great job of going beyond just gender and racial/ethnic diversity (although those are there and they're great). I'm very excited to read more. ...more
Matthew Thyer
Feb 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Some eye opening ideas in here. Unless you're convinced that SFF should only maintain the status quo, endlessly repeating memes from the 20th century, you're going to want to challenge your understanding of the fiction. This is a good starting point written by a collection of thoughtful people.
Great Resource

The essays in this collection certainly make the case for diversity and representation in science fiction and fantasy. A good resource for authors looking to add depth to their characters.
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An easily digested series of short essays on representation in speculative fiction. The essays are personal, rather than academic, and as such some resonated more strongly with me than others... which is kind of the point.
Mar 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Important conversations, inconsistent quality and relevance.
Victoria Sandbrook
Aug 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'll be shelving this one somewhere close by so I can look back at it for reading recommendations and especially for reminders for my own work.
Sarah Schanze
A great collection of essays on why diverse representation is so important in books and other media. Inspires me to read and write at the same time.
These are beautiful essays about why there is a need for more than whole, white, male figures in books. It is about the importance of representation, and quite frankly should be required reading.
Alica McKenna-Johnson

Each essay taught me and made me long to create more and more diverse characters. I hope every writer reads this book.
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Jim C. Hines is the author of the Magic ex Libris series, the Princess series of fairy tale retellings, the humorous Goblin Quest trilogy, and the Fable Legends tie-in Blood of Heroes. His latest novel is Terminal Uprising, book two in the humorous science fiction Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse trilogy. He’s an active blogger, and won the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer. Jim lives in Michigan ...more

Other books in the series

Invisible (3 books)
  • Invisible 2: Personal Essays on Representation in SF/F
  • Invisible 3: Essays and Poems on Representation in SF/F

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