Top Ten Hispanic Authors of SFF
I’m not a fan of identity politics. I won’t play that game. When I’m asked to submit work as a ‘woman writer’ I’m more likely to walk away silently. Either I’m a writer, or not. The fact that I’m female has absolutely nothing to do with it, and I refuse to be given a stepstool that metaphorically lifts me up to the level of other, male, writers. No. Which, I imagine, is how some of my friends who are being identified as ‘minorities’ feel about being identified as such coupled with their writing. But I’ve spent enough time hanging out with Sarah Hoyt (who does not consider herself Hispanic, the American government does) and Larry Corriea to know that they have rolled their eyes and made a joke out of it. So it didn’t surprise me when Jason Cordova brought it up, gently mocking himself as the second-best Hispanic author in SFF, that both Sarah and Jason would egg me on to create a list. It’s what I do, after all, I make lists. When I’m not being all womanish, that is.
So without further… oh, I suppose I should explain my methods before I reveal the results, eh? I was highly unscientific. Having determined that I could set up a poll, I did so in three places, making sure to check the boxes to allow the addition of options by participants, and the one to allow more than once choice to be selected. Two large and active groups on facebook, with a total combined membership of 9000+ (and likely some small overlap) and my public wall on MeWe. So we already have a larger voting pool than the Hugos involved. Then, I stacked the deck. “…if you were to play the game of identity politics, who is your favorite Hispanic/Latin author? I’m going to start the list off with a few names, please feel free to add more and comment away! This will be part of the data I’m going to use to create a ranked top ten list, and it will be published elsewhere. You can vote for more than one…” On cue, they started to vote for all their favorites, and to add names.
That’s where it got interesting. Because it turns out that these thousands of people taking part don’t actually, you know, pay attention to the author’s ethnicity if the story is good. Also, you can’t judge a person’s background from their name. Someone added Lester del Rey, someone else added Phillip Jose Farmer. Um, Sarah pointed out, neither of them are Latin or Hispanic. That’s ok, someone else added Michael Z Williamson, and even the least observant reader knows he’s not at all Hispanic or Latin or…. fans are contrary and have an evil sense of humor. Which is why “Wait, I was supposed to be paying attention to their race?” got added as an option and had 34 votes at the time I was tallying the count. As I said in the comments “if their fans identify them as such, who am I to argue?”
The point of the exercise was thus made neatly. We don’t know, unless you tell us. And even then, we might not care. You could be any shape, size, or color, heck, you could be a cat, as long as you can tell a story. What we want, what we have always wanted, is a good story. Stories which stretch our imaginations, open us up to new worlds, expose us to cultures real and imagined, characters we can identify with and learn from. We want that. We really could care less what ethnicity or color the author was, although a new race would perk our ears up, since so far only H. sapiens has seen fit to regale us.
Having winnowed out some of the sillier suggestions, the list stands as below. My hypothesis about ranking, which is what got me into this, was supported nicely by the data. Also, as with any of the lists I curate, I wound up buying books. I picked up Mario Acevedo’s book University of Doom on Sarah’s recommendation to read and review for the Fantastic Schools blog. I picked up Gustavo Bondoni’s Siege after chatting with him in comments, and the opening is deliciously tense, I’m really looking forward to finishing it!