When the TFN forums reopened earlier this month after their migration to a new hosting server, Mike Cooper (CooperTFN) launched his latest iteration of the diversity discussion thread in the Literature forum. Fortunately, even with the sensitivity and sometimes emotionally charged nature of the topic, the discussion has remained generally respectful and allowed fans of all viewpoints to share their thoughts and opinions.
After speaking previously to LucasBooks editor Jennifer Heddle, last week Cooper posted several specific questions at the Star Wars Books Facebook page. He asked about how the editorial process might affect diversity in the Expanded Universe, the potential for expansion of the younger generation going forward with the Sword of the Jedi novels, and also how reaction to racial diversity in movies like The Hunger Games might impact decisions.
Today Heddle took the time to respond, offering fans a chance to see the thread and continue the conversation:
Bumping up Mike Cooper’s post on diversity since I didn’t get his message to me ten days ago that it was up (stupid Facebook). All are welcome to join the discussion.
Her answers are most encouraging and appreciated. Thanks to Cooper for posing the questions and Heddle for answering.
With such an extensive existing universe and the general nature of the publishing industry, in which pitch-to-print can take several years, any true stamp on the state of diversity under Heddle’s tenure could take several years to become evident. At the Celebration VI Del Rey panel, a new initiative for ebooks was announced. This new component of the publishing program affords the Star Wars Books the opportunity to address fan concerns more quickly than they could have in the past. Also just today, Timothy Zahn noted on his Facebook page that his novella Winner Lose All has been “turned in, edited, tweaked, and accepted.” Available in December, the Scoundrels prequel features Lando, Bink, Tavia, and Zerba. So their first ebook will feature a black man, two women, and an alien – certainly a step in the right direction.
Tricia Barr's novel, Wynde, won the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Ebook. She was also part of Silence in the Library's successful all-female creator science fiction and fantasy anthology Athena's Daughters, which is available now. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com.