Tony C. Smith of the incredibly good District of Wonders network of podcasts, including Starship Sofa (Science Fiction), Tales to Terrify (Horror), and Far Fetched Fables (Fantasy), was annoyed and outraged about the most recent drop into the bucket of right-wing backlash against democracy, inclusiveness, and liberty, namely Donald Trump’s “Muslim Ban”.
He vented his frustration in a good rant on one of the shows and promised to do something. Something that Science Fiction fans are best at: to use stories to tear down the walls in our heads. Tony is running a Kickstarter campaign to fund an anthology of Science Fiction stories by authors from a range of ethnic and national backgrounds: “Everyone: Worlds without Walls.” Considering how good the Starship Sofa Podcast is, I have high hopes for this anthology to not only be the right thing to do from an ethical perspective but also the right thing to support if you like to read good-quality speculative fiction.
There was a time when I used to think that Science Fiction fans were generally more open-minded and inclusive than the average public. How can you be fascinated by the Prime Directive when you’re fucking bigot? How can you believe in humanity’s future in space when you can’t even see how we should overcome petty nationalistic tendencies on Earth? I know that the truth is different. I have experienced utter indifference from SF fans against the frankly terrifying “war against science” by populists like Trump, and the AfD in Germany. I have heard that politics should not invade the hobby. Another time I might have agreed. But not this time. This is the time to take a stance.
Tony’s initiative is small. It won’t sway public opinion, it won’t make Trump lift the travel ban, it won’t bring the UK back into the European family.
But it can introduce every reader to a different perspective, a different voice, and a little more understanding. Understanding, we can only hope, that is contagious. These days, we need even those little initiatives.
I do not know Tony C. Smith personally. I have nothing to gain from the anthology (apart from the enjoyment of reading it). I do not know any contributor personally. But I DO think it’s fantastic idea and I have supported it. And I think, so should you!