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Things I wondered about Hieroglyph

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
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  • #2385
    Rudy Ch. Garcia
    Kathryn Cramer

    Welcome, Rudy. We are, in fact, working on a response to your questions. Since you asked a lot of questions, it will be somewhat long and detailed.

    Kathryn Cramer

    (I am not at the California event. I am in Westport, NY in my kitchen making dinner.)

    The short answer is that we would be delighted, even overjoyed, to have more Latino involvement with Hieroglyph, and indeed more participation by people of color. While we were actively working to recruit writers of color for the first book, now in copy editing and which will be published in the fall, we were less successful than we had hoped.

    Our detailed response will be posted to this site before the Sunday panel.

    Rudy Ch. Garcia

    I wasn’t so much expecting direct answers as much as just hoping to generate discussion in Hieroglyph circles. But, I appreciate the attention. I’ll share responses with the PoC world. At least with the ones I know, anyway.

    Gracias, RudyG

    Ed Finn

    I’d like to thank Rudy for his post and for raising these important questions. We have given a lot of thought to the challenges of creating a diverse and inclusive community at Hieroglyph and welcome this opportunity to discuss them collectively.

    Let me start with the community in general (including authors, researchers, students, and the many others who have become involved). We do not have demographic information on all of these people, but we aim to create a diverse and welcoming network of collaborators, where diversity is measured in many dimensions: race and ethnicity, gender, generational, economic background, intellectual approach (e.g. STEM fields, arts and humanities), geography and even genre (from hard science fiction writers to scientists who never read fiction at all). There are a number of people of color involved, but as with these other forms of diversity we we’d like to continue welcoming new voices to the conversation.

    Let me specifically invite you, Rudy, to participate and help us get more people involved. This is a collective project and we’d love your help in figuring out where Hieroglyph should be going in the future. Thank you for cross-posting this on the Hieroglyph forums.

    It’s also important to note that Hieroglyph is hosted by the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University. ASU is one of the most diverse universities in the country along several metrics ( and, a rarity among so-called “Research 1” universities, comes close to mirroring the ethnic diversity of the state of Arizona. We recruit students, researchers, writers, artists and other collaborators from this huge and talented group of people, and hope to bring more people of color, more women, more international voices, more LGBTQ perspectives, and more diversity of all kinds to this project as it continues to grow. I’ll return to that question of growth below.

    Ok, so let’s talk about the book project and how we recruited writers there. Hieroglyph is essentially an anthology of hard science fiction, and when he first conceived of the project Neal Stephenson did the first round of recruitment among best-selling writers and established hard SF writers. On the basis of the first round of recruitment, the book was sold to HarperCollins.

    With strong support and encouragement from our editor there, Jennifer Brehl, we set about broadening out the initial invitation list by attempting to recruit women writers, writers of color, stylistically diverse writers, writers from other countries, major writers from outside SF, and writers with political perspectives unusual for hard SF. We succeeded more in some areas than others.

    Of those writers we invited, the white males joined the project at the highest rate. Women joined the project at a much lower rate than men. Major writers from outside SF were the least likely to express interest joining the project.

    There are many reasons why some writers chose not to participate. A number of them would have liked to participate could not because of our deadline or because of book contracts or other conflicts. The farther afield our invitations ranged from the established canon of hard science fiction authors, the less alluring they were (to well-established non-SF authors or to those for whom this project seemed like a non sequitor). Of the writers of color invited, our success rate was about 16%. We invited six writers of color: writers who are black, Asian, and Latino. We ended up with one in the book. We had hoped to do better.

    As we lay plans for future iterations of Hieroglyph, diversity remains a central concern. Our larger goal is not merely to write science fiction for science fiction readers, but to generate a broad, public conversation about the future. We are actively pursuing projects that will explore the future of the Southwest geared especially towards young people in local communities. We are also building a collaboration with a major international philanthropic group around inspiring young people in developing nations to become more engaged in their communities, education and sustainability. It is deeply important to me that we are not simply preaching to the choir and that we engage diverse audiences around the world, and also that we recognize social justice as a desirable area for technological innovation and other big ideas.

    So thank you again for bringing this up, and let’s continue the conversation, hopefully with some new participants!

    Ed Finn
    Co-signed by Kathryn Cramer

    Rudy Ch. Garcia

    Thanks, Ed and Kathryn for the info. I’ll ruminate on it, as well as wait so others can have their say.



    Women joined the project at a much lower rate than men. Major writers from outside SF were the least likely to express interest joining the project. as quoted above can i know the reason for that, i want to know more about hieroglyph.

    Kathryn Cramer

    We don’t know the answer. The most obvious answer in that it is a hard science fiction project. Hieroglyph sets out to be welcoming to a wider range of writers than would usually appear in a hard SF anthology.

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