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Queers Destroy Science Fiction! is a special issue of the Hugo-winning magazine LIGHTSPEED 100% written—and edited—by queer creators.
Queers Destroy Science Fiction! is a special issue of the Hugo-winning magazine LIGHTSPEED 100% written—and edited—by queer creators.
2,250 backers pledged $54,523 to help bring this project to life.

Personal Essay: "All Your Fic Are Belong to Us" by Rachel Swirsky

Posted by Lightspeed Magazine (Creator)

When we set out to destroy science fiction with this Kickstarter, we didn't want it to be your ordinary, run-of-the-mill campaign. We wanted it to be full of smashing, crashing queer voices, telling what it really means to be queer reading and writing science fiction. One of the ways we hope to do that is by sharing a series of personal essays about the experience of being queer in science fiction.  

Personal Essay: "All Your Fic Are Belong to Us" by Rachel Swirsky

Don’t worry. We aren’t really going to destroy your science fiction. We’re just going to queer it up a bit. Toss a boa on your chiseled space captain, slip some Birkenstocks to your doe-eyed scientist’s daughter. We’re going to paint this spaceship purple and dip it in glitter. Heaps of glitter. So much glitter.

As we depart the spaceport, the whole universe will be our disco ball. We’ll shimmy and shimmer as we turn the warp drive to fabulous.

This spaceship is fierce.

We’re hiring Tim Gunn to design the uniforms. We’ve commissioned holographic recreations of Ellen Degeneres and Rosie O’Donnell to host twenty-four solar-hour talk show programming in our entertainment center. The walls of our mess hall are painted with murals dedicated to the great pairings of slash fiction. Careful viewers will discover renderings of Spock and Kirk ravaging each other in two hundred and twenty-seven different ways.

Our first mission? Traveling to a sudden dimensional rift to pick up Captain Jack Harkness.

Now, we don’t want you to feel left out, so we want to assure you that heterosexual content may be included on this vessel as background flavor. Snarky, straight best friends are permitted, especially ones with limited inner lives of their own who help the main characters realize their dreams. Breeder-related hanky panky must be kept to a minimum, preferably off-screen.

Don’t worry, though. No one’s recommending treating y’all straight folks the way you’ve treated us. We’re going to give the violence thing a miss. No executions, no forced castrations, no corrective rape, no mob beatings, and etc.

Hey, even the thing about backgrounding heterosexuality was a joke. Straight, cis people are welcome on Starship Queer. Grab yourselves a sticky-sweet pink beverage with an umbrella in it and come dance to the latest album by the High Queen of All the Universe, RuPaul.

To those of you who are unhappy with this outcome, we apologize. Unfortunately, there’s no way back. Once you go gay, you can’t turn away. Queers are like Midas. We transmute the things we encounter. Everything we touch turns to glitter.

Sure, the same old stories are still there, with their same old muscle-bound pilots and starry-eyed wenches (ever considered turning that around?). You can still read them. Please do. We all enjoy old favorites along with the new.

But now, as you read them, you’ll know that somewhere in the margins, there’s a fleck of glitter. Try to ignore it if you want, but that shine will keep on catching the corner of your eye. And in it, there’s a genetically engineered race of haploid lesbian scientists, and a pair of star-crossed male lovers watching the decline of their galactic empire, and a colony built on a planet where no one has any gender. They’re out there. You can’t forget them.

Tonight in the lounge, we’ve got Rosie the Riveter doing a stand-up routine with Laverne Cox. There’s a boa waiting for you at the coat check. We’ll keep a seat warm in case you decide to come in.


Rachel Swirsky holds a masters degree in fiction from the Iowa Writers Workshop, and graduated from Clarion West in 2005. She’s published over 50 short stories in venues including the New Haven Review, Clarkesworld Magazine, and Her short fiction has been nominated for the Hugo Award, the Locus Award, and the Sturgeon Award, and in 2010, her novella “The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen’s Window” won the Nebula. If it were an option, she might choose to replace her hair with feathers, preferably bright macaw feathers.

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    1. Akil Harris on

      Starship Queer.

      I want to become a crew member of Starship Queer. I'd be sure to give Captain Jack a rather warm welcome when he arrives. ;D