Thursday 8 May 2014

Review of the brilliant essay anthology - Invisible

Invisible: Personal essays on representation in SF/F edited by Jim C Hines

People who read a lot of fiction form judgements based upon their reading about how the world works and should work. Books can give us dreams and ideals and goals. Saying to any group, "these dreams, these goals, are not for you" harms not just individuals, but our culture.


This slim, but important and packed volume, is a must read. As the editor explains: This project began as a call for a handful of guest bloggers to talk about representation in fiction, inspired by Alex Dally MacFarlane’s article about ending the default of binary gender in SF/F and the backlash that article received.
Giving voice to thoughts on representation are; writers of colour, women, Trans, non-traditional gender, disabled, a writer with Asperger’s and an impassioned appeal to stop making albinos evil, by an albino. Every single one of these voices underline why representation is important. More importantly, and highlighted in Derek Handley’s brilliant essay, why representation without understanding can hurt as much as, if not more, than no representation at all. This is a book I’d love to put into the hands of many authors, one I’d love to see taught in creative writing classes and one I will be referring to often when discussing why representation matters, with the numerous folk who don’t understand that concept. Stories make the world.


I’ll leave you with Derek’s words on representation:


Representation is important. When you’re a kid, it’s about having a positive role model with your defining characteristics. When you’re an adult, it’s about being reminded that you fit in somewhere and escaping into that character. And when you’re going through a major life change, it’s about finding solace in stories that show you that someone understands and that maybe you can overcome the challenges you face.


Overall – Slim but packs a mighty wallop. Highly recommended.

Check out Jim's website here:

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