Making Lemons into Stuff: Appreciating A Decade of Hand-made, Artisinal Lemonades.

It’s the last day of my Making Lemons into Jokes campaign! Thanks to absolutely everyone who has contributed, supported, signal boosted, chuckled, and etc. And there’s still a little time to chip in! There are three stretch goals left —

$850 – A satirical essay by Greg Machlin on the topic of how I, personally, destroyed science fiction.

$900 – I’ll write a silly story based on a prompt that John Hodgman gave SFWAns at this year’s Nebula banquet.

$950 – I’ll write a silly story based on all three of his prompts.

$1000 – I’ll hire a professional to make the whole bundle into something pretty.

It would be nice to hit the last one; I could probably use the help. ūüėČ


I’ve written a bunch about the harassment and the campaign this month.¬†On Ann Leckie’s blog, I talked about why the common advice to ignore trolls isn’t enough. On Mary Robinette Kowal’s, I wrote about some of the threads of oppression that make solidarity personally important to me. On Jim Hines’, I wrote about coping with harassment as a vulnerable person.

Today, I wanted to write a little about the places where the light is increasing.

When I started selling my writing in 2005, if¬†I wrote a story with queer characters, I had to think about where I could send it.¬†Not all markets would publish things that pushed those boundaries. Even¬†editors who had no problem with queer content might have to deal with things like school library distribution, where some librarians (more than do today) believed¬†that “gay” = “sex” = “inappropriate for children.”

These days? I don’t even think about it.

These days, when a young trans writer asks me whether there are people with non-normative genders in the industry, I have instant access to an array of publicly known names like my former student, An Owomoyela, one of the fiction editors of the Hugo-winning Strange Horizons, Keffy Kehrli, a brilliant writer who is also running his own queer-themed podcast, and Charlie Jane Anders, whose beautiful writing has been acknowledged with well-earned awards.

In 2005, a venerated old, male writer grabbed a woman’s breast without her permission, on stage, in front of thousands. The science fiction community was befuddled,¬†tripped over its own feet in confusion, and nothing decisive proceeded.

Now large numbers of pro writers have signed pledges not to attend conventions without harassment policies. Activists like Elise Mathesen, Genevieve Valentine, and Rose Fox, among so, so many others, have stood up to make those policies mean something.

And yet more activists, like Mary Robinette Kowal, Michael and Lynne Thomas, and Mari Ness, have come up with a similar pledge about accessibility policies, to try to extend that energy and protection to disabled congoers.

In 2008, fans of color stood up to be counted, because people¬†didn’t even really believe they were there.

I think most white people know better now. It’s been a long time since I saw someone suggest everyone who said they were brown was a sock puppet.

Con or Bust did that. Tempest Bradford did that. The Carl Brandon Society did that. Smart, dedicated, writers activists and fans, did that, by raising their hands.

When I came into the field, I knew a little about post-colonial and Indian diasporic¬†science fiction because of my anthropology classes, and I’d been reading some Japanese fiction in translation. But it’s only been in the past several years — thanks to the efforts of American translators like Ken Liu, and international critics and writers like Charles Tan and Lavie Tidhar — that non-anglophone speculative fiction¬†is being widely read and heard in the United States, leading to the recognition of powerful, non-Western writers like¬†Liu Cixin¬†and Hao Jingfang.

Every single moment of progress has had its backlash, of course. When Nora Jemisin came to deserved prominence as one of this century’s most important, emerging voices, jealous graspers harassed her, to try to put her back in her “place.” Elise Mathesen and Genevieve Valentine are still subjected to victim blaming.

But they made a difference. They’re still making a difference.

If my post on Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog was about why people still need to stand together, then this post is the light side of that. When we push hard, and when we bear the costs of pushing, we¬†can make progress. We¬†have.

Five days left on the Butts Fundrasier! Audio book stretch goal achieved & thanks to Jim Hines for hosting me today!

Five days left in May, and five days left until the end of the “If You Were a Butt, My Butt” fundraiser.

Thanks so much to Jim Hines for hosting me at his place today! I talked a little bit about how to be an individual coping with harassment when you’re someone who’s vulnerable.

As of yesterday, we’ve reached $700, and the audio book stretch goal!!¬†Unicorn glitter!!

Just a bit more to reach $800, and original cover art from Barry Deutsch!

Yay for Round Robin Dinosaurs! And new stretch goals: Greg Machlin and John Hodgman!

Iiiiit’s time for an “If You Were a Butt, My Butt” update!

Butt My Butt Square

(By the way, that’s a tomato. If you’re at work, Liz Argall suggests that just in case you’re worried, you exclaim, “It’s a culinary vegetable!” whenever anyone passes by.)

Kermit arms and confetti! We reached the $600 stretch goal. Now I can continue to usher forth into the world the terrible brainchild that is the round robin short story about dinosaurs currently being written by me, Brooke Bolander, Adam-Troy Castro, John Chu, Alexandra Erin, Ann Leckie, Ken Liu, Juliette Wade, and Alyssa Wong!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand we’re halfway to $700! Mary Robinette Kowal, of the sultry tweet-reading voice, will narrate the audio book if we hit the stretch goal, and I personally think that would be hilarious so I hope it happens.

At $800, Barry Deutsch will create original cover art — but skipping over him for a moment, because I have new announcements for the later stretch goals:

At $850, Greg Machlin will contribute EVEN MORE SATIRE with an essay detailing his argument that I, personally, have DESTROYED SCIENCE FICTION. (Confession: I had help.)

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if John Hodgman wrote a science fiction story? In a way, we could call that the first fiction authored by an artificial intelligence (because he’s a P.C…. thank you, I’ll see myself out). At this year’s Nebula banquet, John Hodgman proposed three science fiction¬†concepts he felt SFWAns should get on writing.

If I can find a copy of his speech (I’m trying!) then at $900, I will be that SFWAn for one of his prompts. At $950, what the heck–I’ll just do all three.

And if we hit $1000, I will hire someone to make a professional, pretty package out of the whole thing, so that my poor subscribers are not burdened by my technologically unsophisticated hands.

I know that’s a long way to go — but what the heck, why not go for it, right? There’s nothing to lose, and only ridiculous things inspired by John Hodgman to gain.

Butt My Butt Update: Guest Post on Ann Leckie’s Blog, New Rewards from Alexandra Erin & Will Alexander

Ann Leckie was kind enough to let me borrow her blog to chat about ignoring bullies — how it didn’t work in elementary school, and continues not to work now.

My Making Lemons into Jokes campaign (details here) to retaliate against harassment by raising money for LGBTQ healthcare is doing great! We’re really close to the $600 stretch goal. Speaking of which, I have an announcement.

At¬†$600, several other authors and I are going to write a round robin short story about dinosaurs. I’m excited to announce that Alexandra Erin is joining us! So, the current author list is: me, Brooke Bolander, John Chu, Adam-Troy Castro, Alexandra Erin, Ann Leckie, Ken Liu, Juliette Wade, and Alyssa Wong!

And another announcement — at $700, Mary Robinette Kowal will record the audio book of “If You Were a Butt, My Butt.” AND now National Book Award winner Will Alexander will also record, “If You Were a Cuttlefish, My Love.”

As I’ve previously announced, graphic novelist Barry Deutsch will create an original piece of cover art at $800, and I have something in the works for $900, too… announcement to come…

Butt my Butt Rectangle 500


Butt My Butt Update: John Chu and Adam-Troy Castro join the $600 stretch goal!

Thanks to everyone who’s supporting my Make Lemons into Jokes campaign! For those coming upon it for the first time, here’s my explanation of what it is and why I’m doing it. (Short version: A bigot is using the Hugo Awards to harass me and LGBTQ people, so fuck him. Let‚Äôs follow the Scalzi strategy‚Äďand raise money for something he hates. In this case, Lyon-Martin health services for LGBTQ folks.)

We have achieved the $400 stretch goal: “If You Were a Cuttlefish, My Love.” I showed it to Mary Robinette Kowal and a few other folks, and she gave me an unintentional blurb: “I LOVE THIS WITH THE LOVE OF A THOUSAND CUTTLEFISH EGGS.” I hope y’all enjoy it, too!

We’re partyway to the $500 stretch goal when Liz Argall will make an original comic in her series… Things Without Arms and Without Legs… and Without Butts?

Socks need feet!

And I’m thrilled to announce that John Chu and Adam-Troy Castro will be joining us for the $600 stretch goal — a round robin story about dinosaurs.¬†The other authors¬†include me, Brooke Bolander, Ann Leckie, Ken Liu, Juliette Wade, and Alyssa Wong!

Signal boosts appreciated.