Saturday, August 22, 2009

Eclipse Three, Jeff VanderMeer, Thoughts

Jeff VanderMeer talks a little bit about the lineup for Eclipse 3.
Jonathan Strahan has announced the line-up for Eclipse 3 and it’s extremely strong. Let me blunt. In the wake of the fall-out from the mindblowing SF stories antho being all white males, it’s just as important if not more important to celebrate anthologies that seem more diverse and inclusionary. In other words, being proactive means not just complaining about what seems wrong but praising what seems right.
The more anthos like this that succeed in the marketplace, the more diversity you’re going to see, and less reliance on the same safe names (from a book sales point of view–which is the main way that publishers gauge how they think an anthology is going to do). The more anthos like this that don’t succeed in the marketplace, the more you’re going to see a fall-back reliance on what’s comfortable for publishers. Activism means letting your money talk for you, sometimes.

When I posted the TOC for Eclipse 3
I didn’t say anything about it at the time and I should have. Not necessarily because of the Mindblowing SF fallout, but because I was critical of the TOC of Eclipse 2 (which was in response to the lack of women on the cover of Eclipse 1). It’s all to easy to be silent when stuff doesn’t raise my irk-level, but VanderMeer is right. The line-up for Eclipse 3 IS extremely strong. It’s an exciting list of authors and includes Nnedi Okorafor, Nicola Griffith, Peter Beagle, Daniel Abraham, Jeffrey Ford, Elizabeth Bear, and Ellen Klages – to mention seven names which make me pay attention. There is gender diversity. I can’t speak to other forms of diversity because unless I’ve been to the writer’s website, I don’t know skin color, and I don’t know orientation unless it has come up elsewhere.

This is just to say that Jonathan Strahan has exceeded expectations for what a diverse anthology lineup should and could look like. More, I have complete trust in Strahan’s editorial eye that he has also selected the best stories possible. That’s what he does, and what he should do. What the TOC shows is that the net was cast widely.

This is a TOC which truly excites me and that I feel compelled to read. I expect the highest levels of quality, because that is what Strahan delivers with his anthologies and that is what these writers deliver with their fiction.

No comments: