Diversity in Australian Speculative Fiction : A Bibliographical Exhibition
Researched and compiled by Dr Catriona Mills
(Status : Public)
Coordinated by AustLit UQ Team
  • Further Reading

    Below are a selection of essays and other resources that further explore some of the works and concepts raised in this exhibition. Unless otherwise stated, links take you outside the AustLit database. This section is designed to offer broader reading, and not all works will directly address Australian writing.

    This section is subject to further expansion.

    Most recent update: 25/07/2017.

  • General Resources

    The links below are a collection of pieces sourced from outside the AustLit database. Links (which open in a new tab) will take you directly to the work itself.

    • Love Oz YA: this website, arising from the original #loveOzYA hashtag, gathers together a range of information around the topic, including a dedicated section on diversity.
    • Visibility Fiction: as well as including reviews, interviews, and general blog posts, this site also publishes free, inclusive YA short stories. None of the fiction is, to date, by Australian authors, but Australians do contribute other material.

    • Character Index: published on international author Polanth Blake's personal website, this is an index to a wide range of diversity in speculative fiction, including physical/neurological, sexual/gender, and racial diversity. The list has a North American focus, and includes a category for Native American characters.

  • Racial or Ethnic Diversity

    The links below are a collection of pieces sourced from outside the AustLit database. Links (which open in a new tab) will take you directly to the work itself.

    • 100 African Writers of SFF, Part One: Nairobi: British author Geoff Ryman traces writers of speculative fiction who fit within what he calls the 'dubious concept' of "Africa"–'mostly people with African citizenship in Africa, but I’m not going to be draconian'.
    • The POC Guide to Writing Dialect in Fiction: American writer Kai Ashante Wilson (whose fiction is rich in people of colour, including queer characters) discusses the position of the 'author who writes dialect as an insider, as a native speaker, but who faces the disadvantages of being a POC outsider in the publishing context'. The author writes from his own perspective, but the general argument is broadly applicable.
    • BlackSpecFic: A Fireside Fiction Company Special Report: undertaken by Fireside Fiction, an American small press specialising in speculative fiction, this report was an examination of over 2000 short stories in more than 60 periodicals, to assess the publication of stories by writers of colour. The published report is accompanied by a series of long-form essays, responses, and interviews, as well as making its full statistical data available. Focused on American publications.
    • Indigenous Australians in Comics: A detailed, illustrated blog post from the National Library of Australia, tracing the changing depiction of Indigenous Australians in comics and graphic novels. Please note: this post includes imagery that may be considered sensitive.
    • NEOMAD website: NEOMAD, the three-episode story of young heroes from the Pilbara region, was written with the assistance of over forty young people from the Ieramugadu (Roebourne) community in Western Australia, and released as part of the Yijala Yala Project. The project maintains a rich website for the project.
    • 'We Need Diverse Books because ...': An article written by Ameblin Kwaymullina for Melbourne's Wheeler Centre, 'We Need Diverse Books Because ...' makes a passionate case that 'We need diverse books because a lack of diversity is a failure of our humanity'.
    • An Interview with Rebecca Lim: Made available on ABC Splash, a website devoted to learning resources, this is a half-hour interview with Rebecca Lim, author of (among other works) the Earthbound Quartet.
    • The Stella Interviews–Sarah Ayoub: While Sarah Ayoub isn't included on this page (her work is contemporary YA, rather than speculative fiction), this interview covers many aspects of seeking diversity in Australian fiction.
    • The Stella Interviews–Randa Abdel-Fattah: Like Sarah Ayoub, Randa Abdel-Fattah's fiction falls outside the scope of this exhibition, but the author herself has much to say about diversity in Australian writing.
    • People of Colour List: a running list from Dark Matter Zine of reviews, blog posts, interviews, and more that discuss works including people of colour. Contains a mixture of SFF and non-SFF. Note: Dark Matter Zine emphasises that inclusion on the list does not equal recommendation.
    • 'Crossing Lines: Deconstructing Black Superheroes': written by American author Naamen Gobert Tilahun, this piece is focused on the American comics industry, but makes interesting points about the representation of non-white characters as heroes.
    • PoC-centric and POC-written Steampunk: via the blog Silver Goggles, a list of steampunk works written by or prominently featuring people of colour. Currently, Stephanie Lai is the only Australian author represented, but the list is subject to expansion (and the authors who aren't Australian are also worth checking out).
    • 'In History and Fantasy, Diversity Is the Tradition': an essay by American author Myke Cole, outlining the diversity in such armies as those of Ancient Rome, and what this should suggest for modern fantasy writing. No Australian content, but the argument is generally applicable.
  • Physical, Neurological, and Sensate Diversity

    The links below are a collection of pieces sourced from outside the AustLit database. Links (which open in a new tab) will take you directly to the work itself.

    • The Monster in the Mirror: On Horror, Disability, and Loving Both at Once: written by American author Emily Foster, this is an essay–deeply personal, but embedded in an understanding of genre–about 'about Growing Up Mentally Ill while surrounded by all of this dollar store horror'. Foster argues that 'the notion of disability has been worked over in the genre so much that it has become corny'. (No Australian content.)
    • Disability in Kidlit: a website (run outside Australia and with an international focus) offering a wide range of engagements with the question of children's lit. and protagonists with disabilities.
    • Disability Books: a Goodreads list curated by the same people who are behind Disability in Kidlit, Disability Books is a very long and wide-ranging list, navigable by a staggering range of individual categories, from 'Blind in one eye' to 'cardiomyopathy', 'PTSD' to 'severe burns'. The authors listed are from all over the world.
    • 'Disability Fiction': A list, from Dark Matter Zine, of reviews, blog posts, interviews, and more that discuss works where characters have disabilities. Contains a mixture of SFF and non-SFF. Note: Dark Matter Zine emphasises that inclusion on the list does not equal recommendation.
  • Sexual or Gender Diversity

    The links below are a collection of pieces sourced from outside the AustLit database. Links (which open in a new tab) will take you directly to the work itself.

    • Writing Women Characters into Epic Fantasy without Quotas: written by American Kate Elliott, this essay challenges the idea that 'there is little scope for women taking an active and interesting role in epic stories set in fantasy worlds based in a pre-modern era.' No Australian content, but the argument is applicable to fantasy more broadly.
    • 'The Courier's New Bicycle': an in-depth review of Kim Westwood's novel from Hugo-Award-winning science-fiction critic and publisher Cheryl Morgan.
    • 'Gay YA': an enormous, still-growing website focusing on issues of sexuality and gender in YA fiction. Despite the name, it covers not only gay and lesbian relationships in fiction, but also lists books whose characters are bisexual, transgender, intersex, and asexual / aromantic.
    • 'LGBTQ Reads': a growing website that lists works with LGBTQ characters. While it covers a full range of works, it does have a specialised SFF section.
    • 'LGBTIAQ Listing': A list, from Dark Matter Zine, of reviews, blog posts, interviews, and more that discuss works where characters are not hetereosexual, not binary, or otherwise queer. Contains a mixture of SFF and non-SFF. Note: Dark Matter Zine emphasises that inclusion on the list does not equal recommendation.
    • 'Gay-themed Picture Books for Children': compiled by a librarian based in the United States (and with, therefore, a strong focus on US books), this is a broad survey of books for children whose families include LGBTQ people. Does not focus specifically on speculative fiction.
    • '45 Must-Read YA Books Featuring Gay Protagonists': published on the Epic Reads website in June 2017, this list, despite the title, covers LGBTQ works, helpfully divided into the individual letter categories both in a graphic and in the annotated list. Includes some speculative fiction and some Australian authors (though no speculative fiction by Australians), but not explicitly focused on either.
  • Religious Diversity

    The links below are a collection of pieces sourced from outside the AustLit database. Links (which open in a new tab) will take you directly to the work itself.

    • 'How Science Fiction Found Religion': Benjamin Plotinsky's long-form essay was published in City Journal in 2009. While not concerned with Australian science-fiction, it offers a fascinating overview of a perceived trend in the genre.
    • 'Religious Science Fiction': a brief essay by Jo Walton, one of the most esteemed contemporary writers on and of speculative fiction. Again, this is a general overview, and not specifically about Australian writing.
    • Islam and Science Fiction: a website devoted to tracing science-fiction works that involve Muslim characters or build Islam into their world. Occasionally discusses Australian works.
    • Islamicates Volume 1: a freely available anthology of short stories inspired by Muslim cultures. Published on Islam and Science Fiction. None of the stories are by Australian authors. (Note: we have linked to a PDF version. Also available for ereaders.)
    • Sci Phi Journal: an online journal of science fiction and philosophy, which publishes a combination of fiction and non-fiction. While the focus is not exclusively on religion, religion is a frequent component of the journal's philosophical examinations of science-fiction universes. Note: while some content is freely available, some is restricted to subscribers.
    • 'The Islamic Roots of Science Fiction': written by Charlie Jane Anders for io9, this is an overview of early works of science fiction by Islamic writers. (Note: does not mention Australian writers, or modern works.)

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