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Books Bans: Author Voices

It only takes a cursory perusal of today’s news coverage to happen upon a fight about book banning. It seems to be increasing in frequency, which is concerning to those of us who write books and believe in the freedom of expression. Like most aspects of human progression over time, book banning goes in cycles. And we repeatedly have to push back against it. The beginning of book banning Chinese…

Libraries Under Fire: Lessons From the Front Lines of Book Bans

In 2002, I was a second-year English teacher in a struggling northern Ohio town. Poverty was rampant, and investment in education was inconsistent. That year, 15 percent of my students were parents; of the 88 counties in Ohio, our county had the highest teen pregnancy rate. My job? To get seniors to read and write at a level that would boost job opportunities—and occasionally, college acceptanc…

Understanding and Fighting Back Against Harassment

In 2013, a big-name editor at a major sf/f publishing house lost his job after multiple reported incidents of sexual harassment. Among the reports and stories shared around this time was an author who reported that after she signed with this publisher, other writers had quietly warned her about this editor. She’d signed with them in 2002. In other words, this editor’s harassment wasn’t a one-ti…

ChatGPT and Authors: The good, the bad, and the ugly

ChatGPT and other AI programs have gone from science fiction to something a few users were playing with in various beta programs run by OpenAI, the parent company of ChatGPT, to something that is a part of our everyday lives. And as more authors, copywriters, and marketers use AI to ideate or create prompts, outlines, book blurbs, and more, one central question has risen to the top of discussio…

We Need to Talk About COVID

As we enter our third year of the pandemic, writers of contemporary fiction face a dilemma: to write about the coronavirus or not.* In the past, diseases have formed a backbone for artistic storytelling—tuberculosis in La Bohème, for example, or AIDS in Angels in America—written while the maladies they discuss continued to spread uncontrolled. But are contemporary audiences ready to face storie…