State-of-the Art: March 2022

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed recently published essays in the SFF field, but this month I’m restarting the practice. It’s important for any field to examine and critique itself; to reflect on the current state of affairs. These round-ups are far from complete. They are just a sampling of the many ongoing conversations.


Meg Elison writes of the insidious dangers lurking behind writing that makes fat people the unknowable evil.

Shiv Ramadas explores humor, particularly the lack of it, and the lack of respect for it in SFF via this layered, funny piece. Honestly, this was my favorite essay in all of 2021.

Vida Cruz writes one of the best articulated reasons judging stories, especially in SFF, by testing for an active or inactive protagonist doesn’t just miss the point, but also limits the story forms we see. SFF should not be such a limiting literature, yet often it is.

C. S. E. Cooney writes about writing during the last couple of years. She explores specifically the aspects of social writing. Working with and around others and how that’s evolved.

Carrie Sessarego explores women’s rage in horror. Reading this reminded me of Mallory O’Meara’s statement (and I’m paraphrasing) ‘Horror happens to women, in fiction, the movies, and real life.’ (The Woman from the Black Lagoon)