It was an underground needle in a haystack of iron and steel, but I finally found myself a C train, and soon enough, I was whisked away to Brooklyn. An hour late, I ran down the street, and not just because storm clouds were moving in. I didn’t want to be any later than I had to be. I didn’t want to miss any more stories.
Saturday afternoon May 10th, I walked in, made my way over to the table at the back corner, and bought my copy of Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, an anthology the genre world has been hotly anticipating. Compiled by editors Rose Fox and Daniel Jose Older, Long Hidden is a science fiction and fantasy anthology celebrating the margins of history, with twenty-seven stories compiled from writers of all colors, creeds, genders, and identities, and twenty-seven pieces of beautiful art to go with it, from artists just as diverse.
Kickstarted with nearly three times the amount they needed, Fox and Older, together with publisher Crossed Genres and stunning cover artist Julie Dillon, created this anthology devoted to showcasing diversity in a genre that has become bogged down in white, male, cisgender, and cissexual norms.
The launch was a mighty success, with readings, speeches, drinks, signings, and great food from Alice’s Arbor. Writers, artists, publishing mavens and readers packed the tables, listening to stories over the din of plates, glassware and cooking. I was happy to see this event packed, and even happier to see how welcoming and enthusiastic everyone was.
Sunny Moraine, Rion Amilcar Scott, Sarah Pinsker, Sabrina Vourvoulias and others were on hand to read passages from their stories, while writers such as Sofia Samatar, Ken Liu, Nnedi Okorafor, Victor LaValle, and many more still grace the pages of Long Hidden.
Long Hidden is packed to the brim with fantastic stories that refuse to be silenced by the norms of the genre. No matter who you are, you’ll recognize yourself in some story, some piece of art from this collective work.
And that’s one of the keys to this anthology. As Fox and Older say in the introduction, “Our lives and personalities and voices were shaped by our culture, our ancestry, and the history of people like us. We wanted more speculative works that reflected those truths. Only an anthology, a book that encompassed many voices, could speak to both the vastness and the underlying unity of our need for fiction that reflects all people and make room for everyone to be a hero.”
In addition to being a platform for diverse and fresh storytelling, Long Hidden is also meant to be, “a book of counter-narratives. It is an act of literary resistance. In whispers, shouts and moans, these stories combine into a collective outcry that is both joyous and mournful, a forgotten praise-song that puts flesh on the bones of our hidden dreams.”
To paraphrase Older at the end of the launch party, this is a time of change in the publishing industry, and Long Hidden represents one part of that change.
With the recent #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, the too-little, too-late actions of Bookcon to recognize its diverse audience, and the surging pushback against publishing and story norms by reader and writer alike, Long Hidden has emerged at a great moment, and is an absolutely vital piece of work, not only to the genre but to the publishing world at large.
Do yourself a favor, and get yourself a copy of this fantastic anthology.