I just finished reading “A Memory Called Empire“, a superb space opera by Arkady Martine. The authors that are now getting the spotlight (some old, some new) are absolutely revitalizing my interest in science fiction and fantasy. They remind me of the love I had when visiting different worlds and realities. I’m so jazzed for what’s coming next.
Here’s where racism and bigotry rears its head. We’ve got a set of older authors that just. cannot. let. go. of the fact that the people they loved were ardent, stringent racists/misogynists. Or that the fiction being put out there now is so much better than what came before; the more people who are included, the more diverse, the more empowered.
I will never forget the Asimov or Bradbury or McCaffrey or LeGuin of my childhood, but equally so, what’s happening now is -exciting-.
I’m sorry to say George RR Martin’s just added himself to the list of racism apologists. He shaped his performance presenting the Hugos as a sneer at the talented nominees, mispronouncing names (which is a -ridiculous- thing for a fantasy author to do) and going on long rants about how good the (white) authors of the past were. He even took the time to wax poetic about an author whose Hugo got -yanked- because the author was so racist.
I suppose through all this, I’m saying this. If you find yourself saying “Well, back in my day, X was so much better…” stop. Just stop. Don’t be a Martin. Pick up a book, like you were when you were a kid and this was all brand new. Challenge yourself and embrace the fact that the world is -still- much wider and stranger than you may know.