Thursday, October 23, 2014

Black Speculative Fiction Month, Day 23: Author Dennis R. Upkins joins us again! #BSFM and LGBTQ Month all in one!

So we've got another awesome treat from author Dennis Upkins! Seeing how Black Speculative Fiction Month and LGBTQ Month fall under the same month, we couldn't go the entire month without addressing both!

Denny was cool enough to join us twice for the month, to bring awareness to some awesome spec fic featuring strong intersectionality, which is what we're really big on here @ Twinja Book Reviews!

Take out your pencils people! We're about to add some more books to our Amazon wishlists!

It's Black Speculative Fiction Month, but it's also LGBTQ History Month as well!
What do you do to prepare yourself and/or those who follow you closely for the

For LGBTQ History Month, I typically speak on issues facing LGBTQs, share my
firsthand experiences and celebrate our history and triumphs. I also try to boost the signal
on worthwhile initiatives and media either made by and/or featuring LGBTQs that’s
progressive. Essentially the same stuff I already do throughout the entire year.

This may not be a holiday specifically for books, but that's we're all about here!
Can you suggest any great titles with queer main characters.

Sadly books that feature quality queer main characters is still very rare. That’s even
more so when we’re looking at LGBTQ characters of color. Huntress by Malinda Lo is a
good title and one I regularly recommend. Sons of Nowhere: Strange and Unusual was
penned by my late good friend Nicholas Almand. Some other titles worth checking out
include the Convent of the Pure by my bud and partner in con shenanigans, Sara M.
Harvey. For my fellow comic book nerds there’s ongoing titles and miniseries that include
Young Avengers, Runaways, Daken: The Dark Wolverine, Voodoo, and my patronus (one
of them anyway), Midnighter.

And word on the street is that there’s this hot new book out called West of Sunset. I hear
the author is a genius and very handsome.

But that’s what word on the street is. And the streets are never wrong. ;­)

When it comes to books with LGBTQ characters, what do you typically look for?
What will ultimately make you pass on a book?
Like most people, I look for characters who are complex, sympathetic, more than
their orientation/demographic, three-­dimensional.

In other words avoid this crap here:

Ars Marginal-Queer Tropes Redux

When it comes to books, author identity also matters. If the story about a queer male is
written by a cis white female, I will in all likelihood pass on it. As I’ve mentioned in the
past, many gay titles being churned out (particularly those in the M/M romance genre) are
not being produced by gay or queer people. No, this cultural appropriating creepy
heterosexist fetishistic bile is being spewed by cis­straight­white female authors (many of
whom impersonate gay male authors for “authenticity”) for cis­straight­white female

Now I have no problem with a white female author or any writer who portrays
marginalized lives, if it is done in good faith and with respect. That’s awesome and that I
encourage. But more often than not there’s an agenda at play and that I have a serious
problem with that.

Representation is extremely important in books, but misrepresentation can be as
equally dangerous. It becomes such a fine line for authors whom aren’t of color, or
queer and/or both to want to pen a character with the fear of getting something
wrong. What do you think is the best advice you could give for future or current
writers for writing diversely? Should they risk getting it wrong?


It goes back to intent in my humble opinion. What is your motivation for writing or
not writing marginalized characters? If your motives are noble and you genuinely want to
portray marginalized characters in a positive and realistic light, then you will understand
that you will get it wrong from time to time, and you’ll welcome the critiques and the
feedback and strive to step your game up. Reading works of marginalized people and
listening with an open mind and an open heart is the best way to learn and grow as a
storyteller and a human being.

Now that it's out there, we'd never considered what it'd be like to have a month
dedicated solely to Speculative Fiction with Queer main characters. Would you
ever consider creating a Queer/Quiltbag Speculative Fiction Month?

If I had that kind of swing with the Powers That Be, there wouldn’t be a need for
Queer Speculative Fiction. But you know, what they say, never say never because you
never know. ;­)


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