Author diversity...

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by MadeIndescribable, May 14, 2017.

  1. T'Bonz

    T'Bonz Romulan Curmudgeon Administrator

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    The problem has been removed.
     
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  2. rahullak

    rahullak Commodore Commodore

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    Someone's signature here is: "Don't sweat the small stuff. It makes you small-minded." Apropos perhaps?
     
  3. trampledamage

    trampledamage Clone Moderator

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    Hello *waves*

    Was ill for a couple of days so didn't keep up with my reading. T'Bonz has banned the Cadet poster who was stoking the bad feeling.

    However, this subject is valid, and deserves to be discussed here as it affects Trek Lit.

    But - please keep it civil and keep it polite.
     
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  4. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That might express itself in different ways as a lot of folks don't like writing novels. There are different kinds of music.

    My guess, we have a situation similar to storm chasing. Different things appeal to different people.

    I will say this. I was in Wal-Mart the other day--and one African-American child say me looking at a die-cast 09 Enterprise. Most of them sold. He said he like Star Trek better than Star Wars. That was probably his Dad's voice, I'm thinking. He didn't buy the toy itself though.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I have no idea what you mean by this. If you're suggesting that only white men are interested in writing novels, nothing could be further than the truth. There are great novelists of all different ethnicities, nationalities, genders and sexualities, etc. -- it's just a question of the industry being open to them. As for Star Trek in particular, the first generation of fan and pro authors was overwhelmingly female, so it's kind of odd that the balance has shifted so much toward male authors.
     
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  6. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    No, no--I'm coming from a different place.

    Richard Wright wrote great novels--he just didn't choose to write sci-fi novels. Instead of seeing a utopia off in the future--he wanted better things now, after all.

    One might say that wondering what the next sci-fi canon whatever is--is the height of White People problems.

    Spike Lee has done lots of movies--but Time Traveller (Mallet's story) just wasn't a big priority for whatever reason:
    http://www.slashfilm.com/spike-lees-time-traveler/

    I want more diversity in art, novels, storm chasing--I'd like others to have the same interests as we do. One might argue that-that isn't diversity. Down here--a lot of folks like NASCAR. I don't get it myself--it only seems to appeal to a certain demographic for whatever reason
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2017
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Again, you're making a categorically false assumption. There are plenty of black, Asian, and other science fiction writers, and plenty of female and LGBTQ science fiction writers. Indeed, this is the basis of the controversy that's engulfed the Hugo Awards for the past few years -- the onetime dominance of white males in the SF field has faded, with plenty of diverse authors contributing to the field and getting nominated for awards, and there's an old guard of white male social conservatives that resent that loss of their traditional dominance and have tried to do what their like-minded counterparts have also done in politics -- cheat, corrupt, and subvert the process by any means necessary in order to try to screw over everyone else and resist accepting the reality that their traditional dominance is a thing of the past due to demographic shifts and social progress. Groups called the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies -- the latter led by a particularly noxious, white-supremacist demagogue named Theodore Beale, aka "Vox Day" -- took advantage of a loophole in the Hugo nomination process that let them gang up and nominate "slates" that suited their narrow ideological preferences, shutting out other, worthier candidates from being nominated. Two years ago, a great many categories ended up with "No Award" outvoting all the Puppy slate nominees, because the majority of Hugo voters rejected the Puppies' narrow white-male-bubble view of what science fiction should be and despised the dishonest and sleazy way they'd tried to force their tastes and ideologies on everyone else. In the two years since, the "slates" have continued to have some impact, but thanks to nomination reform, they've become little more than a nuisance. Indeed, last year, the Puppies' sabotage backfired in an amusing way -- in an attempt to embarrass and demean the Hugos out of petty revenge, the "slaters" pushed a work of gay dinosaur porn (yes, really) onto the Hugo slates -- and the writer of that porn took advantage of his newfound fame to troll the Puppies relentlessly, becoming an unlikely hero of the very people that his nomination had been intended to hurt and humiliate.

    Bottom line, the modern science fiction community is finally the diverse, accepting place it always should have been, and the mentality that science fiction is the province of white men alone is well on its way to the dustbin of history. Science fiction and fantasy have always been a way to comment allegorically on today's problems, so naturally female, minority, and LGBTQ authors have plenty to say. You mention Richard Wright -- I give you Octavia Butler, Samuel R. Delany, Steven Barnes, Nnedi Okorafor, N.K. Jemisin, Trek author Geoffrey Thorne, etc., not to mention the whole genre of Afrofuturist SF. Then there are Asian-American SF/fantasy writers like Ken Liu, Ted Chiang, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Laurence Yep (who wrote the Trek novel Shadow Lord), Majorie M. Liu (whom I've had the pleasure of meeting), and others. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speculative_fiction_by_writers_of_color
     
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  8. Nyotarules

    Nyotarules Commodore Commodore

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    South Africa......White people still living large and not in charge
     
  9. Nyotarules

    Nyotarules Commodore Commodore

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    Call it - 'IDIC for dummies' or 'Why the colour of your skin makes you as important as the colour of your palms.'
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Oh, and I should point out that when I spoke before of the "traditional dominance" of white males in the SF/F field, I'm speaking more of perception than reality. There have always been female and minority authors in the field (here's a recent Tor.com article about female space opera authors), but they tended to be overlooked because of the popular myth that SF was a white man's industry, as DS9's "Far Beyond the Stars" dramatized. Things have improved now, but there's still room for further improvement.
     
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  11. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't read as much overall science fiction as most of you do here--so you would all know more about trends than I ever will. I didn't even know who Theodore Beale the heck was or the deal with the "puppies."

    Now you did say that:

    The thread began with

    It just may be that newer, more diverse writers just want their own playgrounds. The reason the photo looked the way it did wasn't out of malice or exclusion, one would think. When The LEXX and NuBSG were out--folks boasted about how great it was that they were un-trek-like.

    I must have made myself more clear. The thread starter was worried about a lack of diversity in trek novels.

    Understood.

    That's true. My response is that maybe folks really aren't into writing Star Trek novels any more. If younger folks who are more diverse want to write in other genres--that's their choice.

    I wonder if Trek itself is just seen as something for a dying demographic. That's why I appreciate JJ and others for bringing Trek back--and at least trying to get younger folks into it again.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2017
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Exactly. Tie-in writing is a very different field from mainstream science fiction. So what's going on in Trek Lit can't be taken as representative of any larger industry trend.

    Like I said before, the first generation of Trek fandom's organizers and fanfic writers were overwhelmingly female. That's the generation that gave us people like Paula Block and Margaret Clark (I think) as well as other prominent fandom figures like Joan Winston, Jacqueline Lichtenberg, etc. The early Pocket novelists were primarily female -- Vonda McIntyre, Sondra Marshak & Myrna Culbreath, Sonni Cooper, A.C. Crispin, Diane Duane, Jean Lorrah, Janet Kagan, Della Van Hise, Margaret Wander Bonnano, Majliss Larson, J.M. Dillard, Barbara Hambly, Diane Carey, Carmen Carter, etc. It's the younger generation of authors, relatively speaking, who are predominantly male. People like myself, Dave Mack, Keith DeCandido, Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore, Bill Leisner, etc. are mostly in our late 40s or so and got into Trek writing about a decade to a decade and a half ago. We're folks who grew up reading the work of the first-generation novelists. And I don't really understand why the gender balance has shifted so far to the male side in recent years. But it's certainly not because of any lack of newness in Trek Lit. It is a relatively new development, compared to even a decade ago.
     
  13. tenmei

    tenmei Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I may have missed it somewhere in the past six years - but what is the LGBTQI representation of authors (if we know it) as the only LGBTQI Trek author I could name is Andy Mangels and he doesn't write Star Trek novels anymore.
     
  14. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It always seemed that I saw more Trek novels years ago than today. Seems like the trek-novel section just keeps shrinking--or maybe that's just the bookstores.

    I can't figure trends out...I just chalked it up to lack of interest. Eveyone seems to love HALO and video game stuff these days--maybe that's where the action is. That and anime, superheros, etc.
     
  15. tenmei

    tenmei Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Speaking of superheroes - would love to see writers like Steve Orlando and Jody Hauser tackle a Trek novel, or even a brief run on one of the comic series. Or someone like Adam Silvera or Margaret Stohl tackle a novel.
     
  16. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That would be nice--but if someone doesn't want to write a trek novel--you can't make them want to. Unless you have a lot of money up front--and it is hard enough to find trek merch out there. "Dying demographics" and all.

    Businessmen
     
  17. tenmei

    tenmei Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Oh agree on that front - but Stohl especially has made the transition from writing novels (the Beautiful Creatures series and the two Black Widow novels) and is now running the current Captain Marvel title, so I think that out of the authors I've mentioned above she might be the most likely to be swayed.
     
  18. MadeIndescribable

    MadeIndescribable Captain Captain

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    The number of Trek books published does seem to have declined, so perhaps there is less demand for them from a paying audience, but given that there are still many many fan-fiction writers out there, I'm sure there's loads who love to write the official novels.
     
  19. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    Andy's departure from Trek novel writing is not due to a lack of interest on his part. It's entirely due to some internal politics at Pocket Books that he was pushed out.

    The fact that his erstwhile (straight) writing partner was kept on to write several more books solo, and only stopped getting new contracts after a number of (IMHO) sub-par offerings makes me wonder if it isn't possibly some kind of anti-gay thing on the part of Pocket's PTB.

    But then, KRAD was "voted off the island" at about the same time, so that kind of undercuts the argument.
     
  20. tenmei

    tenmei Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Martin's style is why I'm seriously considering jumping over Seize the Fire and Fallen God directly to The Poisoned Chalice in my Titan readthrough.