My Favorite Bit: Julia Rios talks about KALEIDOSCOPE
Julia Rios is joining us today with her new anthology, Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Sicence Fiction and Fantasy Stories. Here’s the publisher’s description.
What do a disabled superhero, a time-traveling Chinese-American figure skater, and a transgender animal shifter have in common? They’re all stars of Kaleidoscope stories!
Kaleidoscope collects fun, edgy, meditative, and hopeful YA science fiction and fantasy with diverse leads. These twenty original stories tell of scary futures, magical adventures, and the joys and heartbreaks of teenage life.
Featuring New York Times bestselling and award winning authors along with newer voices:
Garth Nix, Sofia Samatar, William Alexander, Karen Healey, E.C. Myers, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Ken Liu, Vylar Kaftan, Sean Williams, Amal El-Mohtar, Jim C. Hines, Faith Mudge, John Chu, Alena McNamara, Tim Susman, Gabriela Lee, Dirk Flinthart, Holly Kench, Sean Eads, and Shveta Thakrar
What’s Julia’s favorite bit?
Asking an editor to choose a favorite story from an anthology is sort of like asking parents to choose favorite children. They’re all brilliant, and brilliantly diverse, so comparing them to each other isn’t really fair. Given that, I had to go to a more meta level to find my Favorite Bit.
One of the joys of seeing how this book came together was discovering all the different forms a story might take. In addition to the expected straight up narratives, Kaleidoscope stories come in the shape of diaries (“Vanilla” by Dirk Flinthart), transcripts of police reports and phone calls (“The Lovely Duckling” by Tim Susman), and my personal favorite non-standard format: the research paper homework assignment.
When Sofia Samatar turned in a paper by a student named Yolanda (complete with section headings, footnotes, and copious misspellings), I instantly fell in love. I thought, “Yes! This is a person who remembers being in school, being clever and lonely, and using homework as a dialogue with the teacher.” I was such a student, and I couldn’t help being drawn in by Yolanda’s voice because it felt so true. It turns out this is probably because Sofia was a bit like Yolanda and me when she was younger. Here’s a note she sent her teacher to excuse her paper’s tardiness back in her own school days:
Yolanda is not quite as clever and polished as young Sofia was. She makes a lot of grammatical and spelling errors, and she slips into personal stuff a lot more often than a student writing a research paper should. But there’s a kind of magic to this story because it makes the reader really believe in that research paper. This is something we found evident when we got our proofreader’s notes.
Our proofreader was wonderful. She caught all kinds of mistakes that slipped past both the authors and the editors. I feel just a little bit bad about not having thought to warn her in advance about what exactly she was going to see when she proofed Sofia’s story, though.
You see,our proofreader is a teacher.
Her notes on this story started by pointing out all the incorrect apostrophes and misspelled words, while noting that she thought this might be intentional. Somewhere along the way, though, she started looking at the story as a paper, and looking at it through a teacher’s grading lens. I don’t think Yolanda would have gotten a very good grade.While many of the stories in Kaleidoscope are likely to be crowd pleasers, I think “Walkdog” might be one of the more divisive ones in the anthology. People are likely to love it or hate. I fall on the love side of the divide because beyond the clever formatting is a funny, sweet, and heartbreaking story. But in addition to all of that, I will forever cherish the bits of ephemera associated with it.
The book on the publisher’s website: http://www.twelfthplanetpress.com/products/ebooks/kaleidoscope
The Kaleidoscope blog: http://kaleidoscope.twelfthplanetpress.com/
Julia Rios is a Hugo nominated fiction editor at the online magazine, Strange Horizons. She’s also the co-editor with Alisa Krasnostein of Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories, and with Saira Ali of In Other Words, an anthology of poems and flash fiction by writers of color. When not editing, she writes, podcasts, and occasionally narrates audio stories and poems. She’s half-Mexican, but her (fairly dreadful) French is better than her Spanish.