Kathryn Allan and Djibril al-Ayad are co-editing a forthcoming anthology, Accessing the Future, that will explore disability—and the intersectionality of race, nationality, gender, sexuality, and class—in both the imagined physical and virtual spaces of the future. They want people of all abilities to see themselves, as they are now and as they want to be, in our collective human future(s). The campaign passed the minimum target this week, and is now closing on the pro-paying goal! Please pre-order the anthology and help the editors pay a professional rate to all authors: igg.me/at/accessingfuture.
Since we like thinking and writing about science fiction all of the time, Kathryn says, I asked my co-editor Djibril al-Ayad a few questions about his thoughts on Accessing the Future. What unfolded was, in my opinion, an insightful look into the rewards of editing on the margins of genre when you have a love of science fiction and an open mind. The interview ended up being longer than we intended (this is a good thing!), so we decided to break it up into three parts. Today we share with you Part II. (See part I, here.)
[Kathryn]You’ve explained how intersectionality and a plurality of voices is important to you as an SF reader and editor. What audiences, then, do you hope to reach with Accessing the Future (and with your other TFF/FFN projects)?
[Djibril] Intended audience is a very difficult question, or at least one with two sides to it. Part of our duty as a publisher with a social conscience is to help provide a platform for underrepresented voices, and therefore to bring a diverse range of speculative fiction before the reading audience that is normally swamped by mainstream publications and vanilla reading lists. So from this perspective, we want to reach the same audiences that mainstream publishing target.
But I really wouldn’t like to think that we were asking our authors to target their stories, which are based on a variety of experiences, backgrounds, issues and perspectives including culture, language, race, sexuality, health and so much more, at an imagined, homogeneous, white-male cis-het-abled-American readership. People outside that mainstream need to read stories that matter to them too, and if the truths those stories tell shock and alienate the privileged reader? Fuck that reader. They’re not the only important reader in the world, y’know?
[Kathryn] Agreed! People with the most privilege, and who never stop to acknowledge it, tend to be shocked (and whine) the easiest. So what has the initial response to Accessing the Future been like?
[Djibril] The response to all of the anthologies (Outlaw Bodies, We See a Different Frontier) so far has been extremely supportive from the very start; people have talked excitedly about the projects, spread the word, reviewed the books, donated rewards, pre-ordered copies. Stories from our anthologies have been included in best-ofs and honorable mentions lists, and I get the impression a lot of people liked them. Of course, being a small press, we haven’t sold many hundreds of copies. On the one hand, this limits our reach, but on the other, it makes the level of support and acclaim we’ve received especially heartening.
Please support the Accessing the Future anthology at igg.me/at/accessingfuture.