Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Dominance and Submission

So, a thing I've learned from submission guidelines for online speculative fiction zines and podcasts is that people don't want me; or more accurately, I suspect, that people want people who aren't me, rather than specifically not wanting me (or people like me.)

To explain in terms that are less self-consciously and deliberately inscrutable, what is commonly and unhelpfully referred to as 'genre fiction' is clearly aware of being something of a bastion of white, male privilege and is keen to change its image. Check out pretty much any set of submission guidelines and they will include a note that the collection is keen to promote increased diversity within the SF/fantasy/horror community, and that they either welcome with especial favour works by female, queer, trans, disabled, coloured (or rather colored, since most of them are in the US) and non-North American authors (I guess from my perspective one out of six - being somewhere between 1/8 and 1/16 Indian really doesn't count as coloured - isn't the worst thing in the world,) or positively encourage works with female, queer, trans, disabled or coloured protagonists and non-North American settings (which ties in to some stuff I've talked about before.)

I find it an interesting privilege check, since my natural first reaction is 'hey!' I mean, it doesn't seem entirely fair that I have to pay for centuries of cultural dominance which never did me any good. Of course, on any kind of consideration, it has done me good. I may be barely able to make my mortgage, but I live in a country which still (just) has top-notch social healthcare and I've only been stopped at customs once, probably because I'd been working on a dig and my skin had browned to the tone referred to in the law enforcement handbook as 'dodgy foreigner tan'. Anyway, it also reinforces my determination to write more stuff set in less exclusively Euro-inspired cultures.

Rather more encouragingly, I'm glad to say that sexy vampires seem to be being calved off into their own little niche and are invited not to apply for the kind of magazines I'm looking at.

On the downside, the best paid periodical I've found actively discourages puns. Oh well.