Sunday, August 24, 2008

Poverty and Speculative Fiction

Readers of this blog who are also on the FFandP yahoogroup may have noticed that Arwen (of Tarot by Arwen) posted a notice about International Blog Action Day, which takes place on October 15th.

Every year, for one day of a year, the Blog Action Day group aims to turn the blogsphere into a global think tank, but simply demonstrating global awareness of a world problem is enough.

This year's topic is Poverty.

"From the About Page:

One Issue, Thousands of Voices
Global issues like poverty are extremely complex. There is no simple, clear answer. By asking thousands of different people to give their viewpoints and opinions, Blog Action Day creates an extraordinary lens through which to view these issues. Each blogger brings their own perspective and ideas. Each blogger posts relating to their own blog topic. And each blogger engages their audience differently.

Mass Participation
From the smallest online journals, to huge online magazines, to EU ministers, to professionals and amateurs, Blog Action Day is about mass participation. Anyone is free to join in on Blog Action Day and there is no limit on the number of posts, the type of posts or the direction of thoughts and opinions."

If Arwen's post held out a baton to me, I've certainly run with it. I'm not sure why. I write Futuristic Romance. Normally, Romance writers are encouraged to write escapist fantasy, where Knights in armor smell manly but nice, no one has bad breath, heroines walk the streets without stepping in anything gross, there's almost always food in the space ship kitchens and the beds are clean. We tend to assume that Poverty and Disease (with the frequent exception of infertility) have been solved in our futuristic worlds.

"What do I know?" "What can I say?" "I'd like to help, but I've nothing to contribute..." has been a common thread on private discussion loops.

Showing up is probably enough. Posting a short excerpt from a novel where a hero or heroine face poverty or discuss poverty or destitution would work, I think. It has occurred to me that I probably ought to have something in one of my future books where some kind of privation is acknowledged, but basically I've been at a loss for what to do.

I got my answer today. Apparently, this is Capuchin month, and a monk was in church to explain how today's collection would help relieve a little bit of the effects of poverty in downtown Detroit. I'm going to interview that monk for October 15th. Although I don't have anything useful to say, I can make sure that a man who has taken a vow of Poverty gets his message out on the Blog Action Day for Poverty.

Will you sign up, and speak up on October 15th?

Best wishes,

Rowena Cherry


  1. A vital issue! It's easy to forget that we -- all North Americans of the middle class or above -- are among the rich of the world. Even our poor citizens (aside from those actually living on the streets) have material possessions beyond the imaginings of the poor in third world countries.