One of the latest crowdfunding projects in anthology publishing has just totally destroyed its funding goal. With nine days still on the clock at the time of writing, Lightspeed Magazine presents Queers Destroy Science Fiction has reached $34,866 pledged of the $5,000 goal in its Kickstarter campaign. Needless to say, its stretch goals have been blown open, and a great many backers are in line to receive a great deal.
“Queers Destroy Science Fiction! is a special issue of the Hugo-winning magazine Lightspeed 100% written—and edited—by queer creators,” explains the preamble. “Even in science fiction, supposedly the genre of limitless possibility, where everyone is invited to the adventure, heterosexual, heteroromantic, and cisgendered are considered the default, to the extent that everything else is “deviation,” and must be eyed with suspicion,” it continues. “Having already invited women to destroy science fiction, it was only fitting that Lightspeed look for a new group of individuals who wanted to trade their feelings of marginalization for sledgehammers.”
Does a genre that numbered writers like William Burroughs, Iain M. Banks and Samuel R.Delany really need a project like this? Probably. It’s no secret that science fiction, ostensibly the most challenging and subversive of genres, has for too long been as socially conservative as it has been technologically imaginative. From Robert E. Heinlein to Orson Scott Card and Vox Day, there’s been a Gernsbeck-style tendency in the genre to match scientific marvels with pedestrian societies that resemble Fifties America in fancy dress.
So is something like Queers Destroy Science Fiction still needed? Sadly, look around you. And plenty of backers have obviously put their money behind the proposition. If only science fiction wasnt looking so destructible – or let’s put it another way, vulnerable through its regressive premises and antiquated attitudes. What a failure of imagination is that, in a genre that is supposed to be based on imagination.