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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.
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: "The Books That Read Me" by Everett Maroon

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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: "The Books That Read Me" by Everett Maroon

I spent copious hours in my childhood trying to find myself in the books I read, often via the weak beam of a dying flashlight. Although I was a fan of some young adult authors in the 1970s and 80s--Judy Blume, Paula Danziger, and Lois Duncan--it was science fiction that grabbed my imagination and where I most wanted to wander. But SF thwarted me; Stranger in a Strange Land, I grokked you so hard, I loved what you had to say about shaking our expectations for government and culture, but then there was the endless het-fest, pages and pages of straight people sex. I learned to twist and manipulate myself to remain in the text--reading Neuromancer, I pretended Case was planning to merge with Molly instead of combining the AI machines, producing some new combination of gendered human. When I was eleven I evaded most of the activities during a two-week fat kid camp by burying my face in a leather-bound compilation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books, and while they were hilarious--though I still haven’t managed to fly by missing the ground--I became increasingly tired of Arthur Dent’s innocence and banality.

Then I moved on to feminist SF, with the likes of Joanna Russ and Katherine Forrest, and I sat amazed at the deconstruction of SF tropes, not to mention modernist narrative, that they created. It was a lesbian love fest in The Female Man and Daughters of a Coral Dawn. I see them now, along with The Left Hand of Darkness and The Handmaid’s Tale, as standard bearers for second wave feminism’s influence over the genre. And there are pieces in Russ’s work in particular that stand out to me as transphobic, which made me anxious to move on to a different kind of deconstruction of science fiction.

I found an even more imaginative, queer SF world in the work of Samuel Delany and his protégé, Octavia Butler. I devoured the Lilith’s Brood trilogy. I struggled through Dahlgren like I was trying to understand a boa constrictor that was in the process of destroying me, fascinated and frightened and committed to the outcome. What these novels did was incorporate the postmodern reconceptualization of narrative, reorient the SF narrative structure away from white male exploration and philosophy, and offer explosive new ideas on society and subjectivity.

Science fiction, in its mirroring of contemporary friction points, needs another transformation that transgender and queer writers of color can continue to push as a vanguard. SF imagines the worst about people and hypothesizes our exit routes toward cultural actualization at the same time. This is why I write science fiction (you know, for what it’s worth). I realize I can’t keep up with the tsunami of new stories in SF, but I am having a hell of a good time trying. And hello, Lightspeed is a terrific place to start. Thanks for making a contribution to this Kickstarter project.

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Everett Maroon is a memoirist, humorist, and fiction writer. He is a member of the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association and was a finalist in their 2010 literary contest for memoir, and was a 2013 Lambda Literary Foundation Emerging Writer Fellow. Everett is the author of a memoir, Bumbling into Body Hair, and a young adult novel, The Unintentional Time Traveler, both published by Booktrope Editions. He has written for Bitch Magazine, GayYA.org, Amwriting.org, RH RealityCheck, and Remedy Quarterly. He has had short stories and essays published here and there.

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    1. Lightspeed Magazine 3-time creator on February 15, 2015

      Hi Gary. You should be able to unsubscribe from the updates.

    2. Gary Halpin on February 14, 2015

      I wish you well with project and have backed it, but too many mails. 31 at last count. Enthusiasm is bordering on spam now. Sorry. Please dial it back a little. Thank you.