I was talking to author Saladin Ahmed on Twitter about the Save the Pearls mess, and the fact that all of the attention being paid to this racist book, particularly with the Weird Tales disaster, has undoubtedly led to additional sales of the book.
I’m skeptical as to how many extra sales the book has gotten — while there are a ton of Amazon reviews, the sales rank is nowhere near as good as I’d expected, based on the controversy. But that rank has still jumped up in recent days, so she’s getting some sales, if only from people curious to see what all of the fuss is about.
I don’t believe this is a reason to not talk about the book, or to not publicly and loudly challenge racism in the genre. I might not appreciate that my blog post yesterday could have given this author a few more sales, but I prefer that potential side effect to silence.
That said, it totally sucks that a hugely problematic book is rewarded with so much attention while other, far better books by and about people of color are overlooked or ignored.
Therefore, I’d like to open the comments to recommendations of better books to read.
I’ll throw out a few of my own to get things started.
- Redemption in Indigo [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] by Karen Lord. (Reviewed here.)
- Who Fears Death [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] and Zahrah the Windseeker [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] by Nnedi Okorafor. (Reviewed here and here.)
- Throne of the Crescent Moon [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] by Saladin Ahmed. (Reviewed here.)
- Shadow Ops: Control Point [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] by Myke Cole. (Reviewed here.) ETA: Charles Stross disagrees with me about this one in the comments here.
- Crystal Rain [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] and sequels, by Tobias Buckell. (Reviewed here.)
- The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] and sequels, by N. K. Jemisin. (I recommended book one for a Nebula, and reviewed book two here. A review of book three will be coming soon.)
- Bone Game [B&N | Amazon], by Louis Owens. (I read this one a long time ago, and it impressed me a great deal.)
- Anything by Octavia Butler. I’ve never read a book by Butler that I didn’t like.
Also, see the Carl Brandon Society Resource page for reading lists.
Your turn. What other books by and/or about people of color would you personally recommend? What authors do you believe deserve more time and attention?
ETA: I’ve started a Twitter Hashtag for this conversation as well: #ThoroughlyGoodBooksByPOC