Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Dear chica, comadre, chingona, cabrona: Sci Fi, Fantasy, Speculative fiction needs you (#SFWAPro)

Photo: Pixabay

Here is what I know: You are writing. Fan fiction. Stories about ghosts and legends and shapeshifters. Vampires. Monsters. Spaceships and magical neighborhoods.

Sometimes — when I'm lucky — I get to read your words.

From those examples I know you are cabronas with enough will to crash through Sci Fi's titanium ceiling; chingonas with entries that greatly expand the vocabulary of the fantastic; comadres mixing speculative into your masa and green chile sauce, and other elements of the everyday; chicas whose stories are prompted by epic or dystopic worlds first limned by others. 

But most times, when I land on the pages of my favorite SFF magazines or leaf through the anthologies, you are not there.

You should be.

Latinas comprise 16.4 percent of the female population of the United States. There is no comparable demographic breakdown for SFF women writers, but given how rarely Latina writers are in evidence in the pages of even the most diversity-focused publications, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the percentage were in the lower single digits. 

There are strong voices that have emerged in short and long form: Kathleen AlcaláCarmen María Machado and Guadalupe García McCall (to name just three), but there aren't nearly enough chicas, comadres, chingonas and cabronas to represent us.  

You need to submit your work, even if it is only once or twice a year, okay? I know it's hard to put your work on the line, particularly with the microaggressions Latin@s sometimes experience about inclusion of Spanish and Spanglish words (and so many other aspects of our cultures and experiences), but here are a few submissions calls you might want to consider:

• Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine, guest edited by C. C. Finlay and open to electronic submissions until Jan. 15.

• The Los Angeles Science Fiction One-Act Play Festival, Roswell Award for Short Fiction, open to submissions until Jan. 15

• Crossed Genres, current theme: failure, open to submissions until Jan. 31

• Unlikely Story, Issue #12 Journal of Unlikely Academia, open to submissions until March 1.

• Terraform, submission information, ongoing.

• Fantastic Stories, submission information, ongoing.

Be in evidence "off the page" as well. There are an incredible number of conventions across the nation at which, generally, Latinas are sadly underrepresented. My own favorite conventions to attend are Readercon and Arisia, but I have heard great things about WisCon and Mo*Con. Financial assistance to attend some cons is available through Con or Bust.

Keep going. Young Latinas (hell, old Latinas too) need to see themselves in stories, and as purveyors of stories. Each story is about so much more than just the story ... it also represents, to paraphrase Gina Rodriguez in her Golden Globes acceptance speech a few days ago, a culture "that wants to see themselves as heroes" — and not only in the narrative, but in crafting the narrative.

(go to approx. 1:39 to hear the section of Gina's acceptance speech that made many Latinos tear up.)

Meet some Latina writers also crafting their own narratives, here.