Excuse me for preempting your regularly scheduled Thursday Toon or book review, but from now until 11:59 p.m., Pacific Time, SFF author John Scalzi is matching funds for the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund and The Carl Brandon Society.
If you didn't know, Octavia E. Butler was a woman of color, and a fantastic SF writer. To date, I believe that she is the only woman of color who has made a living from her work in the science fiction and fantasy field. I hope I am wrong, and that someone else has finally managed, but who knows. Anyway, at the time of her far too early death, she'd published fourteen novels and many short stories, and claimed a MacArthur, Nebula and Hugo award for her efforts. The scholarship fund created in her honor enables writers of color to attend one of the Clarion writing workshops, where Octavia got her start back in 1970. Everyone knows that conferences and writing courses are not cheap, and to be a Butler scholar is a huge honor - and a leg up.
Carl Brandon was not a real person. He is a fictional fan fiction writer created in the 1950's by two guys writing about science fiction and its future. Today, he represents the lone black guy at the cons that people hope to see joined by other friends. The mission of the Carl Brandon Society is to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the production of and audience for speculative fiction. This society is made up of regular people who band together to raise funds to make inclusiveness more than just something we talk about and fuss about and scream "whitewashing" about. I really admire these people. Both memorial scholarship and society are joining to make it possible for talented newcomers in the field of science fiction and fantasy - writing for Young Adults or Older or Crossover - go get in the door.
It's happening now: ground-level support for SFF writers of color. Please click through to the society's links, comment on your donation at John Scalzi's blog, and he'll match what you give. Thanks!
FOUR DAYS LATER, Edited To Add: So $16,900, people. Not bad, and something of which I'm so proud to have been a part. Yay!