Not too long ago, Jim C. Hines edited personal essays on representation in SF/F, and it was excellent and eye-opening. It was certainly uncomfortable at times, but that discomfort is just panicked relics of oblivious privilege trying to assert itself. I had more than a few stabs of serious guilt in reading this anthology, particularly the one about Albinism. (Having enjoyed that “evil Albino trope” more than a few times in the past, without ever thinking about actual people.) The essays in the first Invisible are:
Introduction by Alex Dally MacFarlane.
Parched, by Mark Oshiro.
Boys’s Books by Katharine Kerr.
Clicking by Susan Jane Bigelow.
The Princess Problem by Charlotte Ashley.
Autism, Representation, Success by Ada Hoffmann.
Gender in Genre by Kathryn Ryan.
‘Crazy’ About Fiction by Gabriel Cuellar.
Evil Albino Trope is Evil by Nalini Haynes.
Options by Joie Young.
Non-binary and Not Represented by Morgan Dambergs.
Representation Without Understanding by Derek Handley.
Shards of Memory by Ithiliana.
I Don’t See Color by Michi Trota.
SFF Saved My Life by Nonny Blackthorne.
If you missed Invisible the first time around, I could not possibly recommend it enough. While happily slumbering away under my rock, I was unaware that Invisible 2 had been put together and published. That’s been remedied, and like the 1st, this is excellent reading. As Jim C. Hines notes in the afterword, “They help us to become better readers, better writers, and better human beings.”
So many of these essays resonated, and others were serious wake up calls to stop being so bloody blinkered. Like the first anthology, this one is littered with highlights, bookmarks, and notes. Too Niche, by Lauren Jankowski about the complete invisibility of asexual people in SF/F was one of those that was a good smack on the head. In her essay, she mentions that Stephen Moffat declared Sherlock Holmes can’t be asexual because he’s too interesting. That left me spluttering and outraged. That’s an incredibly wrong, stupid, thoughtless, and insulting thing to say. Other essays which really hit home were Breaking Mirrors, Fat Chicks in SFF, Not Your Mystical Indian, Exponentially Hoping, and Colonialism, Land, and Speculative Fiction: An Indigenous Perspective.
The Essays in Invisible 2 are:
Introduction by Aliette de Bodard.
Breaking Mirrors by Diana M. Pho
I’m Not Broken by Annalee Flower Horne.
Next Year in Jerusalem by Gabrielle Harbowy.
I am Not Hispanic, I am Puerto Rican, by Isabel Schechter.
No More Dried Up Spinsters by Nancy Jane Moore.
False Expectations by Matthew Thyer.
Text, Subtext, and Pieced-Together Lives by Angelia Sparrow.
Parenting as a Fan of Color by Kat Tanaka Okopnik.
Alien of Extraordinary Ability? by Bogi Takács.
Accidental Representation by Chrysoula Tzavelas.
Discovering the Other by John Hartness.
Lost in the Margins by Sarah Chorn.
Too Niche by Lauen Jankowski.
Fat Chicks in SFF by Alis Franklin.
Not Your Mystical Indian by Jessica McDonald.
Exponentially Hoping by Merc Rustad.
Colonialism, Land, and Speculative Fiction: An Indigenous Perspective by Ambelin Kwaymullina.
Nobody’s Sidekick: Intersectionality in Protagonists by SL Huang.
The Danger of the False Narrative by LaShawn Wanak.
Both these anthologies are excellent, if often uncomfortable, reading. Seriously recommended if you haven’t read them.