Fellow WP blogger speciesismandsciencefiction writes, “While I have read some incredible novels discussing gender, race and class, I have noticed that there is also space to analyze nonhuman animal ethics.”
Yes! Equality movements in the 1800s and early 1900s, such as women’s rights and anti-slavery abolitionism, made use of fiction and those works still endure as classics. LGBT+ literature has always written LGBT+ characters. Why, then, do so many vegans only write non-fiction (mainly recipe books and academic critical theory), overlooking opportunities in fiction? Vegans tend to be better at empathizing with others, which would make for valuable fiction writing skills, to put themselves in places of the characters. Empathy grows like a muscle, the more it is used. Yet, when I Google “vegan fan activism” “vegan science fiction” “vegan fanfiction” “vegan fantasy” and the like, nothing much comes up! What few sites there are cite the same small handful of books, with tenuous and scant examples, written a hundred years or so ago, along with a few fairy tale books aimed at small children. What about modern adult writers?! Where can we read, share, and connect for literature for and by compassionate people?
We need fan activism and fiction activism because there are vacuums needing to be filled and stories which need to be told. We still live in a world where too many editors care more about exclamatory punctuation marks than bigoted comments, objectifying pronouns, etc. It falls upon us to tell our stories! We should not let others speak for us, especially when we are the ones who have experience in compassionate living, while others misrepresent and erase both vegans and other fellow animals and perpetuate myths. I just read a book written recently in 2016 depicting human space travelers asking their plant-based alien hosts where they get their protein (!) and the humans give a teenager of that culture a candy bar made with cow’s milk, in spite of the adults rightfully saying that such treatment to fellow animals is barbaric. Seriously? the Mars mission will be plant-based. And, don’t even get me started about the errors and Oberoth-styled might-makes-right mentality of SGU’s 2011 episode “The Hunt.”
Fan activism often comes about because the media at large lags a few steps behind the times while it plays catch up. During that time, diversity is either lacking or underrepresented. Writers can create our own worlds with new, diverse OCs, explore gender and race bending and swapping, explore diverse pairings, hybridization, chimerization, differently-abled characters, etc. while big media leaves us wondering and wanting for more. Science fiction fans, especially, tend to be more curious and open-minded people.
As progressive creatives writing fiction, we give much needed facets of value:
*We offer an oasis for our like-minded audience. We offer self-care, for both readers and ourselves, to get lost in a story and to refresh. We support others looking for the same kind of inclusive literature.
*We share, relating to the hearts and minds of society as a whole, rather than speaking in an echo chamber.
*We help to model more hopeful and better worlds, where inclusion is the norm.
I am proud to be a vegan fanfiction writer and fan artist and encourage other vegans out there to start writing fanfiction and/or original works of fiction. The need is there. As I have written before, now is a great opportunity! Search engines have been very good to me and this little page– and the show I focus on is nearly 10 years off the air by now, with lesser-known characters who are insect and human hybrids. What opportunities can you uncover if you let your imagination soar?