Vandana Singh’s essay on travel, otherness and the need for diversity in speculative fiction becomes essential reading when you consider the links included. Linking to articles such as Nisi Shawl’s “Transracial Writing for the Sincere”, Jim Hines “Diversity, Appropriation and Writing the Other” and Samuel Delany’s “Escaping Ethnocentricity” creates an educational journey for every writer. And every reader. If you stay on the train for the next article, the next station stop, you’ll find sign-posts to new brilliant destinations; travelogues filled with writerly advice and possibilities and hope.
I was recently in the remote Alaskan town of Barrow for an academic project. Barrow is profoundly different from any place I have been: at 71.3 N latitude, it perches at the edge of the Arctic Ocean. During April, when I visited, the ocean is frozen as far as you can see. The tundra is white and flat, and there is no vegetation. Most of the people who live there are Inupiat Eskimos. It is as far removed as you can imagine from Delhi, where I grew up, or for that matter, Boston, near which city I now reside.
I was wandering through the bright hallways of Ilisagvik college in Barrow, looking for someone with whom I hoped to speak, when I found an efficient young administrative assistant. She assured me she would find the person I was seeking, and took my name down. As is usual in…
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