Melanti's Reviews > Report from Planet Midnight

Report from Planet Midnight by Nalo Hopkinson
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really liked it
bookshelves: anthology, library, 2013
Recommended for: Phoenixfalls

This is a very thin volume (which is what originally caught my attention) and about half of this book is about race issues in science fiction - about 20 pages worth of a speech and another 30 pages of an interview.

I wasn't enamored with the two short stories (which is a surprise since I normally love her writing) but the non-fiction portions were fascinating. I really don't pay attention to the goings on in the fandom community and had never heard of "Racefail 2009", and since I really don't pay much attention to authors, I didn't notice how WHITE the average fantasy author is until I participated in a challenge that had a category for "Non-Caucasian Author." I figured it would be easy until I started going through my bookshelves books and realized that NONE of the fantasy authors I generally read could fill that category. Not only that - I had a difficult time naming a single one.

After that wake-up call, I've been gradually expanding my reading in the past few years - both in terms of genre and in terms of ethnic diversity. And while the white authors on my bookshelves still far outnumber the non-Caucasians, it's MUCH better.

In regards to the readers, who like I used to be, just didn't pay attention to the race of the authors, Hopkins says in part:

"... How many books by writers of colour do you think you'll find on their bookshelves? I'll lay odds that if there are any at all, they will be far outnumbered by the books by white authors. Not necessarily because those readers are deliberately choosing mostly white/male authors. They don't have to. The status quo does it for them. So those readers' self-satisfied "I don't know" is really an "I don't care enough to look beyond my nose."

And that's cool. So many causes, so little time. But don't pretend that indifference and an unwillingness to make positive change constitute enlightenment. If you truly want to be a colourblind, unprejudiced reader, you can't do so from a place of being racism blind, or you'll never have the diverse selection of authors you say you'd like. ..."

A very fascinating interview and speech -- it more than made up for the stories I didn't care for as much as I'd hoped. And her description issues she talks about (who does the work in a utopian society) in her early works has made me really eager to them soon!

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Reading Progress

December 23, 2013 – Started Reading
December 23, 2013 – Shelved
December 24, 2013 – Finished Reading

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