deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
2009-03-17 10:13 am

science-fiction's loss could be young adult's gain

I've been reading Mary Anne Mohanraj's (parts one and two) and K. Tempest Bradford's posts in John Scalzi's blog with interest and pleasure (pleasure from their powerful and eloquent posts, and because I am choosing not to spend Sanity Watchers points on the comments). The conclusion of Tempest's post, however, is what really caught my eye:

"SF doesn’t deserve half of the wonderful voices it silences, anyway, not to mention the amazing ones that do make it into print, because their awesomeness shines brighter than the sun. Knowing that, there are days when I just think: Fuck it. I’ll write YA, instead."

To which I had the supremely unhelpful response of "Yes, please!" Unhelpful because F&SF needs to get fixed. It can't afford to keep driving out all these wonderful people. It's wrong and it's strangling and it's stupid. It harms primarily readers and writers of color, of course, but also white readers and writers, in all of the important ways people have been talking about for months.

But I still can't help myself from thinking "Yes, please!" Because, Tempest, F&SF won't appreciate you, but YA sure as hell will.

(Note that I am absolutely not propagating the idea that any good adult writer can also be a good children's or young adult writer. Writing good young adult fiction is difficult, and it's a and it's a different skill set for a different genre. Moreover, most young adult fiction is full length novels; it's not a genre in which the short story is particularly in fashion. But that doesn't mean Tempest shouldn't try.)

It's not that we have no authors of color writing fantasy and science fiction for young adults and children -- I just reviewed Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's latest and Cindy Pon's debut, both due out imminently -- but nobody could argue that we don't want more.