I am incredibly honored and excited to announce that my short story, “The Fisher Queen,” originally published in the May/June issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, has been nominated for a 2014 Nebula Award, one of the biggest awards in science fiction and fantasy! The full list of nominations is here, and I’m so glad to see such a range of brilliant, biting, heart-holepunching stories on it.
I was also incredibly excited to find out that I’m the first Filipin@/person of Filipin@ descent to be nominated for the Nebula. It’s humbling, more than a little terrifying, and a huge honor. It’s also a sign that American SFF, a field that was once very white and male, continues to broaden to include, nurture, and provide space for people of color, people in non-Western countries, and people who write in languages other than English. This year alone, the Nebula slate includes French-Vietnamese award winner Aliette de Bodard; indomitable Cixin Liu, writing in Chinese and translated into English by the brilliant Ken Liu; and newcomer Usman T. Malik, the first Pakistani Nebula nominee. It’s heartening and beautiful to see.
However, that doesn’t mean that we don’t still have to fight for our space in American SFF. There have been a lot of loud voices this past year (and many years before that) complaining about the changing landscape of science fiction and fantasy. The aftereffects of colonialism and preferential attitudes toward Western writing influence the literary landscape in many non-Western countries, creating environments with damaging systems for local writers. That being said, this past year has brought many concrete landmarks of progress, including Lightspeed Magazine’s Women Destroy Science Fiction! and Queers Destroy Science Fiction! Kickstarters, which sought to highlight marginalized groups — women and QUILTBAG people — through a series of issues with all-female, all-queer contributors, respectively. The #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign began and still operates in children’s literature, but I believe that its influence and very visible insistence on diversity inclusion is spurring on change and raising champions for diversity in genre fiction. And now the Nebula slate, beautiful, burning with otherness, and rich for it.
“The Fisher Queen,” set on the Mekong River, is a story about mermaid fishing and the effects of systematic violence against women. Its protagonist is a young brown girl; its focus, dealing with injustice that you’ve grown up with. That people connected with my story enough to nominate it is an incredible experience, and I’m so excited for the future of more Asian/Asian American nominees, more Filipin@ nominees, more Pakistani nominees, more, more.
It’s not the weight of the past I feel; it’s the brightness of the future. And that takes my breath away.
Alyssa Wong is a 2013 graduate of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop. Her fiction has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Strange Horizons, Black Static, and Tor.com. You can find her on twitter [as @crashwong] and tumblr [at www.crashwong.tumblr.com].
Reposted from http://crashwong.tumblr.com with permission from author.