Elizabeth Bear

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Elizabeth Bear, born September 22, 1971 in Hartford, Connecticut is an American author of primarily speculative fiction.

The Author

Partial bibliography


Other novels

  • Carnival
  • Undertow
  • A Companion to Wolves, co-written with Sarah Monette
  • All the Windwracked Stars

Awards received

  • 2005 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
  • 2008 Hugo Award for Best Short Story ("Tideline")

Fanworks policy and history

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Below is a partial timeline of events that took place in this fan community.

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The Cultural Appropriation Discussion of Doom

A very large race wank exploded in January 2009, bridging science fiction and metafandom and quickly being referred to by the title above by many of those involved in the kerfuffle.

It began in early 2009 with a round of discussion on metafandom regarding "writing the Other"[1],[2] which pointed out a novel by Elizabeth Bear, Blood and Iron. This novel included the use of a character of color in a way which was critiqued as racist in an Open letter to Elizabeth Bear in Seeking Avalon's blog.

Elizabeth Bear responded,[3] saying, "the book of mine you threw across the room is, in part, actually intended to address the point you make about it, but I obviously failed for you as a reader in doing so, and I'm sorry." She agreed that there should be some betaing involved to make sure such issues were caught and addressed before publication. Discussion in Bear's journal quickly deteriorated as PoC and "White Allies" began arguing with Bear's friends over the matter. Acafen were heavily involved in the discussion, some then criticized by other acafen for attempting to invalidate the feelings and readings of People of Color because they did not have the appropriate background in literary theory.[4]

Much discussion followed about how authors should "write from a human perspective instead of an individual." This was later translated by some people interpreting that message as "oh you mean write from a White" perspective. Things went down even further after that, with metafandom helping the process along by linking to a number of race-wank related posts on January 20, 2009.[5], [6],[7],[8], [9],[10],[11]

Several individuals ended up deleting their LiveJournals as a result of the fallout from this wank, including Patrick Nielsen Hayden, one of the major editors at Tor who had been involved in the discussions as one of Bear's friends and defenders.[12],[13] Others began to wonder how comfortable they would be attending upcoming conventions where this matter could have impact on friendships and interactions within the literary science fiction community.[14]

On the 20th Elizabeth Bear declared the debate over in her journal space, with the threat of banning individuals who continued to comment in it.[15]. Discussion of the matter and criticism of Bear and her defenders continued onward in other LiveJournals.[16], [17],[18], [19],[20], [21],[22], [23],[24], [25],[26], [27],[28], [29],[30], [31],[32], [33],[34], [35],[36], [37]

Patrick Nielsen Hayden's wife, Theresa Nielsen Hayden, stepped into the fray, criticizing those who had engaged her husband in the debate such that he'd eventually deleted his journal.[38] Before friendslocking her post on the subject, comments by many who disagreed with her were screened or deleted, and the discussion then continued in more journals through to the end of January.[39],[40], [41],[42], [43],[44], [45],[46], [47],[48] Writer David Levine also discussed the matter in his blog[49] and how he felt the current "kerfuffle" might dissuade him from attempting to write Colors of Character in his future work. Reactions to his post elsewhere included calling him a "dickhead", and "angsty whine-hole" and "wanting to punch him in the face".[50]

On March 5, 2009, Elizabeth Bear broke her relative silence to give one last word on the subject, calling for a cease fire in Race Fail 2009. [51]

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