One of the most obvious arguments for diversity is that if the top people in any given field are almost all straight white men then we must be missing out on talent from other segments of the population. Those who support the status quo will, of course, argue that straight white men are just vastly more talented than anyone else, and thus naturally end up on top in a perfectly functioning free market. The rest of of laugh at their hubris.
But can we prove them wrong? If we do go out and look for more diverse talent, do we get better results? Well, this year, thanks to being on the Tiptree Jury, I have been doing a lot more reading than usual. Probably more than I have done since I stopped doing Emerald City. Back then I would see a lot of talented writers coming through, but most of them would be straight white men. This time around I have read five very impressive debut books by women of color, plus two impressive novellas by a non-binary person of color. I can’t say much more than that because they are all being considered by the Jury (and the fact that they are great books does not necessarily make them great books about gender), but I think all of these books are worth your attention in one way or another.
- The Tiger’s Daughter – K. Arsenault Rivera
- Her Body and Other Parties – Carmen Maria Machado
- An Unkindness of Ghosts – Rivers Solomon
- An Excess Male – Maggie Shen King
- The City of Brass – S A Chakraborty
- The Red Threads of Fortune & The Black Tides of Heaven – J Y Yang