The difference [between video games and SFF novels] is that I’ve been writing in that community. I wanted to create, and I did. I started writing, I started publishing, and more specifically, I started writing what I was writing because it was what I wanted to read, it was what I thought there wasn’t enough of. I know so many people who started writing for that reason. It hasn’t been without difficulty, and marginalized people run into massive pushback and resistance way too frequently, but it can be done […]
More importantly, it can be done with much more practical ease than […] dropping everything and making a game. The point is that if I don’t like SF&F culture, it’s quite conceivable – though no means simple or easy – for me to actively contribute to the changing of that culture through my own creation.
I could sit down tomorrow and write a novel in three months or so, and very possibly sell it in a few months more. I am not going to sit down and make an AAA video game. No one person can do that: they take entire development teams years and millions of dollars, and require the backing of large publishers to market and distribute. In other words, the barriers to entry are rather high. Considerably higher still if you’re not a white cisgender man.
–Sarah Wanenchak on changing culture from within.
The SFF fiction scene has, historically, been just as aggressively conservative as the videogame market is currently (and still is, particularly in the intersection between books and other media, like TV and film). The difference is that, more and more, people who’ve felt left out of the scene have started to break into it with the sorts of stories they’d always wanted to read, but never got the chance to. It gets to the point where SFF today is almost unrecognisable compared to what I remember of it from when I was a kid. This is a Very Good Thing, that will turn into an even better thing as the years progress and the market changes.
But videogames–and film and TV–are inherently much more costly to produce than a book is. It’s hard to see that changing to the point where motivated creators can really challenge the status quo from within the industry, though some are certainly trying and this isn’t to denigrate their efforts.
Instead, what I think will probably happen is that market shifts will occur cross-culturally, building up in other media, and will put pressure on the AAA games industry (and Hollywood, et al.) horizontally. Compounded by the vertical pressure from gaming’s own indie scene, I think this will–and, would argue, already is–slowly start to change the industry’s mores.
Maybe. Slowly. It’s a plan with no room for complacency, however, because backsliding to The Bad Old Days is always possible (read: easily profitable, and again see film and TV for historic examples).
Long story short: if you’re unsatisfied with the current state of pop culture representation, then there’s never been a better time than now to write a book to change it.