Sunday, April 8, 2012

Project of Interest: "We See A Different Frontier" Peerbacker

Djibril al-Ayad, editor of socio-political SFF zine The Future Fire, and Fabio Fernandes, science fiction writer, some of whom you might know as a Brazilian steampunk writer, have come together to create a new anthology!

The project in question will be a SFF anthology called We See A Different Frontier, and will be about colonialism from the perspectives of the colonized.

In their own words, here is the gap that this project intends to fill:
Colonialism is still a thorn on the side of humankind. Many of the problems of the Third World, for instance, are due to the social-political-economic matrix imposed on its countries by the First World countries since the 17th century (e.g. the manufacture by European powers of arbitrary borders and tribal conflicts in Africa, and then the creation of Arab countries to defeat the Ottoman Empire in WWI). The balance of power is changing in the 21st Century, but it's still essential to look back if we want to truly understand the forces at play in the political and cultural panoramas of Third World countries—and even in countries that hardly can be labeled as Third World, like the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).
Much widely distributed science fiction and fantasy is written by American and other Anglophone authors, and treats subjects close to the hearts of straight, white, English-speaking men. There's nothing wrong with this sci-fi itself—we love lots of it—but there's clearly something missing. Having white Anglo cis/hetero/males as (the only) role models is not an option any more. We aim to redress this balance, not only by publishing speculative stories by people with different viewpoints and addressing concerns from outside of the usual area (see World SF), but also by explicitly including fiction that addresses the profound socio-political issues around colonisation and colonialism (see Race in SF). We want to see political stories: not partisan-political, but writing that recognizes the implications for real people and cultures of the events and actions that make up science fictional or fantastic histories, as well as our own history. 
For this anthology we will be looking for stories from the perspective of people and places that are colonized under regimes not of their choosing (in the past, present or even future). We are not primarily interested in war stories, although don’t completely rule them out. We are not interested in stories about a White Man learning the error of his ways; nor parables about alien contact in which the Humans are white anglos, and the Aliens are an analogue for other races. We want stories told from the viewpoint of colonized peoples, with characters who do not necessarily speak English, from authors who have experience of the world outside the First World.
Djibril and Fabio are fundraising so that this can be a professionally-paying anthology. It is exceedingly difficult to publish anthologies cheaply (go ask Matt Delman how he is finagling royalty payments for Doctor Bill Shakes!), and most publishers find them very risky. Given how skewed the market is towards EuroAnglo-centrism in even the short story market, this is a very important decision.

Supporting this project means that you believe in and value the voices of the colonized, that you'd be willing to see them be paid professional rates for telling their stories which too often are edited the hell out of to make them palatable and easy-to-understand.

Please help fill in this gaping hole in SFF, even if just a teaspoonful. 

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