A short list this week. I’ve been out enjoying the beautiful weather with my beautiful partner.
* Exactly what it says in the title: (Almost) every Science Fiction and Fantasy and Comic Book Adaptation in the Works.
* I’ve been following the Grand Rapids Whitewater project for several years, and it looks like I might live to see rapids reappear in the middle of Grand Rapids. And I might even be young enough to enjoy them.
* More whacky news from a leader who seems sprung from the same DNA as emasculated president Donald Trump.
* A brief, beautifully done, and heartbreaking documentary on Vietnamese immigrants to Grand Rapids, Michigan.
(These are my lightly edited notes for a panel I attended at the ConFusion Fantasy and Science Fiction Convention in January of 2018)
PANEL: Immigration and Refuge in Science Fiction (20 January 2018, 10:00)
DESCRIPTION: “Travel stories are classics in any genre, but in science fiction stories of travelling to a new home are often about colonization, or about intrepid explorers amongst the (primitive) aliens. Let’s talk about the science fiction stories that better reflect the experiences of immigrants and refugees in the real world.”
PANELISTS: Alexandra Manglis, Amal El-Mohtar, David Anthony Durham, John Chu
- Children of immigrants often turn on the next generation/wave of immigrants
- Difficult to find immigration stories that are not colonization stories
- Immigration is an experience of apocalypse
- Scatter, Adapt and Remember by Annalee Newitz
- Realistic refugee stories tend to be apocalyptic
- Apocalyptic stories for white people tend to be everyday reality for persons of color
- Sci fi tends not to be from the POV of the immigrant
- Naomi Mitchison, friend of Tolkien, first-reader of Lord of the Rings
- N.K. Jemisin – Broken Earth trilogy
- Settler Colonialism theory
- Difference between colonization of e.g. India vs. North America
- Eradicate the indigenous population, make the settlers the new indigenous population
- Indigenous vs. exogenous
- Exogenous – undesirable outsider
- Seth Dickinson – Traitor Baru Cormorant
- Octavia Butler – books about alien assimilation
- Ken Liu – Grace of Kings
- White male savior is an obnoxious and overused trope
- Dances with Wolves, Avatar, etc
- White male “good guy” is adopted by natives, becomes a better native than the natives, becomes champion of natives, saves the natives (or not)
- Projection – Donald Trump, “yellow peril”, etc. We imagine them doing to us what we are already doing to them
- Kenyan science fiction series Usoni – European refugees emigrating to Africa in 2062
- “Schrodinger’s Immigrant” – simultaneously on welfare and stealing your job
- Nnedi Okorafor – Binti series
- Sofia Samatar – The Winged Histories, A Stranger in Olondria
- E. Lily Yu –The Wretched and the Beautiful
There were many important ideas passed around in this panel, particularly in light of the racist, xenophobic, fascist policies of the current (c. 2018) U.S. president and his cabinet. One book which comes to mind which showed the POV of a refugee is What is the What, by Dave Eggers. Neither genre nor quite fiction, but a beautiful book all the same. As for fiction stories, well, I can’t think of any I have read. Not that they are not out there.