The Science Fiction and Fantasy (SFF for short) community is an interesting space.
The first Worldcon I attended, the annual gathering of the tribes of fans, authors, editors and others who love the genre, made me realize how diverse and accepting these folks must be. Grandly large women proudly donned their plus-size corsets, fans dresses as Wookies, Storm Troopers, Klingons, and Sailor Moon, and a large contingent of people in various personal powered transportation devices made me realize that while people come in all shapes, sizes and abilities, we don’t always see them. In the halls of the convention hotel I saw them all come out and look comfortable doing so, their common denominator being the genre and a love of its offerings.
Of course, everyone getting along sounds kind of utopic. It’s not really that way all of the time. The point is that we try when so many others wouldn’t. We have, at least, bought into a principle, if not always acting on it.
So when the community gets fired up with angry blog diatribes and bitch-slapping takedowns, it polarizes people to one end or the other of the spectrum of opinions on the current topic, whatever that may be at a given time, and it gets nasty. The SFF community includes some very smart and very articulate people with some very divergent opinions. That should be considered a healthy thing. But we have to sometimes take a step back and look for the positive. Such was called for by author Alyx Dellamonica in this blog post. I would like to offer my contribution to the (hopefully) viral response to the latest, and really, to all controversies. Let the positivity flow.
I’d like to recognize:
- Guy Gavriel Kay for writing beautiful and brilliant work that inspires me to write better.
- Julie Czerneda, who continually feeds burgeoning authors with encouragement and wisdom and a love of all things froggy.
- Sandra Kasturi and Brett Savory for bringing people together and exposing them to great authors and their work through their reading series and via Chizine Publications. I’m always impressed with their courage to continually push the envelope.
- Sunburst Award founders Marcel Gagne, Melissa Gold, Peter Halasz, and Diane Walton for caring enough to establish an award that highlights Canadian authors and their work in the area of literature of the fantastic. I know from communications with the winning authors how much the award itself means and how much the prize money has helped them to keep going with their work. Writing can be a lonely activity and the rewards a long way off from when we start a work.
- My writing buddies at Bloor West Writers who share their insights on how to make my work better every single week — no holds barred!
- Maaja Wentz, who sets the bar higher and shows me how much more I can do and write. Thanks for including me in your collective writing projects. It’s nice to know someone in the neighbourhood who shares the same interests!
- The many volunteers who plan workshops and conventions for writers and readers, because it can be a difficult and time consuming job, and everyone’s a critic.
If you want to hear more about the great people of SFF, check out the thread labelled #SFFLove on Twitter. I encourage everyone who has felt some SFF love to consider adding their own post or tweet.