Listening to other voices and Alif the Unseen

The fan- driven voting system of SFF awards the Hugos is probably now untenable, and three right-wing white American men have tainted this year’s awards to such an extent that the properties winning this year cannot escape unscathed. I feel desperately sorry for authors and editors who have felt driven to remove themselves from the lists. 

However, at least the debacle has generated debate in the SFF world, as NPR discussed with Monica Byrne. In my other world, education, there has been debate about speakers at conferences; many, many times speakers are all white and frequently keynote speakers are all male. A conference organiser recently tweeted that BME speakers and women are welcome to submit papers. However, if none do, there must be onus on organisers to look at where calls for papers are posted, and look at the format to enable wider voices to be heard. It can only benefit conference attendees to hear wider opinions.

I recently finished Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson, creator of Ms Marvel. I was entranced by its mixture of computer programming, Arab Spring uprising, Islam, djinns and a love story.  There are also references to Narnia, The Golden Compass and Star Wars, which delighted me. I can’t recommend this highly enough. 

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