On the “New Movement” in SF/F: An Archived Twitter Thread
Wrote this up on Twitter just now; archiving here for posterity. Because this is a Twitter thread, please note that the very first graf below is referring to the screen cap of text below it.
So, I do have a take on how this movement functions, strictly as a practical matter, and involving the Hugos and other awards. I will share it with you in further tweets in this thread.
(Quote is from Elizabeth Sandifer and taken from here: https://www.eruditorumpress.com/blog/four-tiny-essays-on-sf-f)
How it works:
1. The modern corps of acquiring editors, in both NY publishing and in short fiction, has SIGNIFICANTLY more women and/or (out) LGBTQ+ folks, and more diversity generally. Stories they buy reflect their interests, and the sales numbers are good, so they keep at it.
2. When the Puppy nonsense happened, people committed to more diverse storytelling either entered or re-entered the Hugo voting pool to counteract the Puppy brigade. When they were routed, Puppies and their sympathizers flounced. Those interested in more diverse stories stayed.
3. Generally speaking, the stories over the last few years written by more diverse storytellers and selected by more diverse editors are *really fucking good*. The table stakes for award consideration are higher these days, and all writers have to step up to this new level…
… white dudes are not excluded from the Hugos or other awards (said the white dude who had a Hugo nod last year), and they win their share. But the operative phrase is “their share.” The field is wider now, and better, and the default to them has decreased significantly.
Sandifer is correct that this shift is as significant as any that has come before, and possibly more so, because previous movements were still largely about white dudes. But I would suggest it’s not only about the aesthetics of today’s SFF; it’s also the MECHANICS of the field…
… WHO is acquiring, WHO is voting and WHO is writing — and how it’s selling and making a mark in the larger culture. Diversity in each case has broadened the field, in what’s bought, what’s read and what wins awards. As a field we’re better for it. It starts with the editors.
Final note: Because the aspects of this new shift are as much about the state of the industry as they are about the aesthetics, I strongly suspect this is not so much (or merely) a “movement” as simply(!) the new normal in the field and the basis of further growth.
As a postscript, I wrote about some of this before in this essay here, and particularly point 4:
Oh! Shit! Forgot the traditional closing cat picture. Sorry!