Kickstarter has become ubiquitous around the SF community, funding things like “An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer,” the digital archiving of Charles Brown/Locus Magazine’s extraordinary collection of SF-related documents, and a thousand other things. But, there’s a new Kickstarter in town, and it’s one that I very much want to draw attention to.
Jef Smith is running a fundraising drive for a feminist speculative fiction anthology, to be edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer and published by PM Press! The description on the Kickstarter page says, “The anthology will emphasize women’s speculative fiction from the mid-1970s onward, looking to explore women’s rights as well as gender/race/class/etc. from as many perspectives as possible. The contributors are not yet established so we hesitate to name names, but rights to reprint stories from Ursula K. Le Guin, Octavia E. Butler, Joanna Russ, and James Tiptree Jr. would be sought in addition to a wealth of newer voices in the field.”
The anthology is already almost one-third funded, but still has approximately $8,000 left to raise by May 31st or it won’t happen. And I really, desperately want this book to happen. An anthology of reprinted feminist SF from the seventies to today would be a great contribution to the field no matter what, but I’m particularly enthused by the fact that the VanderMeers—editors of such fabulous retrospective works as The Weird—will be editing the book.
On his blog, Jeff VanderMeer has given his own thoughts on the project, saying:
[ ] we consider this antho to be a contribution to the ongoing conversation and the long and complex history of feminist literature. We plan to take suggestions, have already begun outreach through email, and also hope if time permits to have at least a limited open reading period (for reprints). Our research for The Weird has given us leads on a fair amount of international fiction and authors as wellwork that didn’t necessarily fit the focus of that anthology.
We’re also aware there is no way to get this completely right, if that makes sense. But we hope to make an honest and comprehensive effort, and to use web supplements and other online resources to make the antho the focal point of attention for existing feminist anthos and the websites of individual writers of note.
Ann and I are intensely excited to re-read the work of so many writers we love and to put together something that’s of use.
VanderMeer’s mentions of international and otherwise less collected work, and of making a contribution to the ongoing conversation, point toward a strong anthology that will be a true gift to the field of feminist speculative fiction and to spec-fic as a whole. To put it simply, I want to read this book.
The funding overall will go towards “the editors’ fee, contributor fees/advances, book design, printing, [and] as much advertising and promotion as possible. To help the project get off the ground the editors have agreed to take a small honorarium as their fee, with no share of royalties.” For those not familiar with the way Kickstarter works, you pledge a given amount—with attendant rewards and gifts for your donation!—and will only be charged if and when the project comes to full funding. The different tiers of rewards are comfortably distributed, with $25 dollars netting an “I Read Feminist Literature” bumper sticker, an e-copy of the book, and a print copy on publication. (And, if you feel particularly generous and donate $5,000, Smith will adopt a cat or dog and name it after your favorite feminist.)
So, if a retrospective feminist speculative fiction anthology edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer sounds right up your alley, go forth and pledge a donation. For the cost of a hardcover book, you can help guarantee that this anthology will happen—and then you get a copy of it, too!
Lee Mandelo is a writer, critic and occasional editor whose primary fields of interest are speculative fiction and queer literature, especially when the two coincide. Also, comics. She can be found on Twitter or her website.