Saturday, August 13, 2011

NPR picks the top 100 sci-fi and fantasy books

In a welcome nod to speculative fiction, National Public Radio (NPR) had its readers nominate and vote on the top 100 science-fiction and fantasy books of all time. Over 60,000 people voted and it turns out that the Lord of the Rings series came out on top. Though I didn't like the books (I could never get past the first few chapters of the first book), I was glad that some of my other favourites did make the cut.

However, like a similar poll on, I noticed there were very few women on the list. And come to think of it, I'm not sure there were any minorities of any gender at all. I realize that what we choose to revere is entire subjective. In a recent article on several writers, editors and bloggers challenged the legitimacy of even classic works. However, when readers, whom I assume come from all races, ethnicities and genders, seem to privilege the works of white men over all others, I have to start wondering what's going on.

Are we internalizing a certain bias towards the written works of one group of people over all others? Or are there just not enough minorities and women writing speculative fiction? If it's the former, then we all need to examine ourselves and our unconscious preferences. Go out and pick up a book by Samuel Delany, Octavia Butler, Charles Saunders, Nalo Hopkinson or any of the numerous speculative writers of colour and begin opening your minds. But if it's the latter, then I and my fellow fantasy writers of colour need to get to work.

No comments:

Post a Comment