Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder
Links and Notes: Poverty and Wealth Inequality in Scifi
Earlier today I spoke as a panellist at WorldCon (DisCon III), in the virtual session "Poverty and Wealth Inequality in Science Fiction." (I was a late addition.) I shared several links so I figured I'd reblog them here.
I'm Sumana (she/her) and I'm a scifi fan who works in the technology industry. I live in New York City and I'm from the US. I co-edited a scifi/fantasy anthology several years ago that you can read for free online. I have also been recommending one story a day on MetaFilter.com for some time now.
In case you're bored with the same old dystopian premises, try my web toy Randomized Dystopia.
I really appreciated what Jason Sanford said about the difficulty of doing international payments as part of the forces against equality in SF/F.
I read far more short stories/novellas than I do novels. Upon considering the panel topic I was reminded of a few recent stories. In all of them we take the point of view of workers or the underclass affected by the oppressive decisions of wealthy elites -- named and unnamed, seen and unseen, capitalist and not. (Warning for spoilers in some of my descriptions below.)
A few places and ways short sf/f sometimes has a more ambivalent reaction to wealth inequality or suggests a more complicated attitude:
Closing recommendations from me: Walkaway by Cory Doctorow, and China Mountain Zhang by Maureen McHugh.
Oh, and I meant to mention the fanvid "Dance Apocalyptic" which collages together a lot of film, TV, and more to illustrate stories of inequality and revolt.
Thanks to Worldcon for having me, thanks to the volunteers who supported the session, and thanks to Olav Rokne for moderating!