Tag Archives: Justine Larbalestier


Con Or Bust Assistance Program For POC Sci-Fi Fans Open Until Nov. 25

If you or any POC fan you know are looking to go to Science fiction/fantasy (SFF) conventions in 2016, you should know that Con Or Bust has opened up its request process until Nov. 25.

The organization is devoted to helping POC fans attend more SFF events. Requests are confidential and can be made through the form located here.

To give you an idea of how the project’s scope has expanded since it began in 2009, here’s an excerpt from its website:

From April 2013 through March 2014, Con or Bust helped 30 different people attend cons 32 times. People attended seventeen different cons. The monetary portion of Con or Bust’s awards again ranged from $0 (membership transfers only) to $1,000. Eleven awards were in the range of $200-450, and seven were from $500-700. At the end of this period, Con or Bust carried forward a balance of approximately $7,700.

The 2014 auction and associated matching challenge raised $16,476. These funds, together with the balance from the prior year, funded assistance for March 2014 through early May 2015. In addition, starting from April 2014, Con or Bust permitted people to request monetary assistance for any upcoming SFF con, not merely cons in the next quarter.

From March 2014 through early May 2015, Con or Bust provided assistance 95 times to help 85 different people attend 25 different cons. Of those 95 times, 41 did not include monetary assistance, only donated memberships (or, in one case, a hotel room donated by a convention). Monetary assistance was provided 54 times, sometimes in conjunction with donated memberships. The awards ranged from $25 to $2,300; 34 of the 54 awards were $500 or less. At the close of this period, Con or Bust carried forward a balance of $67.42.

The 2015 auction was held later in the calendar year than previously, ending in early May; bids and donations raised $12,726 to support Con or Bust for the next twelve months.

In August 2015, a donation drive by John Scalzi raised a total of $11,840.92.

Check under the cut for a listing of 2016 conventions that are covered in this assistance period, along with the number of open membership slots for each as of 11 p.m. PST on Nov. 15.
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Summer Reading: Cindy Pon’s POC-centric YA Lit Giveaway

By Site Lead Arturo R. García

Figured this would be good for our readers seeking out age-appropriate fiction for their children: Author Cindy Pon (Silver Phoenix) is holding a contest at her site where she’s giving away a septet of books, each featuring POC protagonists. Here’s the list of books up for grabs, with ratings listed according to Jacketflap.com:

Contest rules are available at Pon’s site, and the deadline is July 14th. Happy reading!

Why My Protags Aren’t White

By Guest Contributor Justine Larbalestier, originally published at justinelarbalestier.com


I’ve been asked a few times why none of my protags are white given that I am white. (So far that question has only come from white people.) I thought I’d answer the question at length so next time I get that particular email I can direct them here.

I don’t remember deciding that Reason, the protagonist of the Magic or Madness trilogy, would have a white Australian mother and an Indigenous Australian father. I don’t remember deciding that Tom would be white Australian or Jay-Tee Hispanic USian. But I made a conscious decision that none of the characters in How To Ditch Your Fairy would be white and that Liar would have a mixed race cast. Why?

Because a young Hispanic girl I met at a signing thanked me for writing an Hispanic character. Because when I did an appearance in Queens the entirely black and Hispanic teenage audience responded so warmly to my book with two non-white main characters. Because teens, both here and in Australia, have written thanking me for writing characters they could relate to. “Most books are so white,” one girl wrote me.

Because no white teen has ever complained about their lack of representation in those books. Or asked me why Reason and Jay-Tee aren’t white. They read and enjoyed the trilogy anyway. Despite the acres and acres of white books available to them.

Because I don’t live in an all-white world. Why on earth would I write books that are?

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Ain’t That a Shame

By Guest Contributor Justine Larbalestier, originally published at justinelarbalestier.com

liar USIn the last few weeks as people have started reading the US ARC of Liar they have also started asking why there is such a mismatch between how Micah describes herself and the cover image. Micah is black with nappy hair which she wears natural and short. As you can see that description does not match the US cover.

Many people have been asking me how I feel about the US cover, why I allowed such a cover to appear on a book of mine, and why I haven’t been speaking out about it.

Authors do not get final say on covers. Often they get no say at all.

lair AUSAs it happens I was consulted by Bloomsbury and let them know that I wanted a cover like the Australian cover, which I think is very true to the book.* I was lucky that my Australian publisher, Allen & Unwin, agreed with my vision and that the wonderful Bruno Herfst came up with such a perfect cover image.

I never wanted a girl’s face on the cover. Micah’s identity is unstable. She spends the book telling different version of herself. I wanted readers to be free to imagine her as they wanted. I have always imagined her looking quite a bit like Alana Beard,** which is why I was a bit offended by the reviewer, who in an otherwise lovely review, described Micah as ugly. She’s not!***

The US Liar cover went through many different versions. An early one, which I loved, had the word Liar written in human hair. Sales & Marketing did not think it would sell. Bloomsbury has had a lot of success with photos of girls on their covers and that’s what they wanted. Although not all of the early girl face covers were white, none showed girls who looked remotely like Micah.

I strongly objected to all of them. I lost.

I haven’t been speaking out publicly because to be the first person to do so would have been unprofessional. I have privately been campaigning for a different cover for the paperback. The response to the cover by those who haven’t read Liar has been overwhelmingly positive and I would have looked churlish if I started bagging it at every opportunity. I hoped that once people read Liar they would be as upset as I am with the cover. It would not have helped get the paperback changed if I was seen to be orchestrating that response. But now that this controversy has arisen I am much more optimistic about getting the cover changed. I am also starting to rethink what I want that cover to look like. I did want Bloomsbury to use the Australian cover, but I’m increasingly thinking that it’s important to have someone who looks like Micah on the front. Continue reading