Okay, then, week number three for Scission's new Cultural Mondays is underway.
Speculative fiction has always been of interest to me. It has the potential to lay out things political in a way that masses of folks can enjoy and at the same time help social activists experiment with ideas in a way that a straight line political piece just cannot.
I once took a course in college on Science Fiction and was asked to write a short story. I came up with the now famous (yeah, right), get this, "Quotations from Mao Tse ?." Hey, it was like 1972 or something. I won't even go any further with that.
Now back to our story.
Octvia Butler is (actually she is now deceased) a well known African American female writer of socially important, progressive Science Fiction or Fantasy or Speculative Fiction, Visionary (whatever you want to call it). I've read a number of her works and found them to be outstanding. They are a fascinating read and politically (and philosophically) significant at the same time...and much better written than most works in the field. She tackles issues most writers of fiction do not in a way almost none can and from a perspective which few in the world of Speculative fiction could possibly relate. As ColorLines writes, "The late writer’s work often centers on black women who must navigate the politics of apocalypse."
Now along comes Adrienne Maree Brown. Brown is a co-founder of the Ruckus Society and has participated in and helped to organize numerous direct actions in a variety of cities. She also loves Science Fiction. She has all co-hosted workshops on Octavia Butler an annual gathering of technology and media activists in Detroit. ColorLines reports:
This summer, Brown and her allies wrapped up a remarkably successful crowd sourcing campaign and raised more than $17,000 to take their work on the road. The finished product will be “Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories From Social Justice Movements,” an anthology of speculative fiction written by activists. The project is also the work of Walidah Imarisha, a writer and activist based in Portland. Along with the book, the editors and authors will also host writing workshops across the country.
“There have been great anthologies of explicitly political or identity-based sci-fi, but to our knowledge there hasn’t been a collection of original sci-fi from people who do social justice work,” Brown says. “And our work needs us to be so visionary so it’s an exercise and experiment.”
“A lot of our movements are shaped defensively, necessarily,” Brown says. “It can be easy to set our dreams only on the horizon of what seems possible in circumstances largely controlled by oppressive systems. It feels like radical work to actually stretch our imaginations and recenter ourselves in the long arc of what we need to survive.”
I really am looking forward to the end result.
So should you.
I am going to give you two posts again. I know this is becoming a habit, but I promise it won't be. I just couldn't figure which of the two below to leave out. The first is an interview with one of those working with Brown on the project Walidah Imarisha found at Red Door Project. The other is sort of a first for Scission. It is actually a A selection from the forthcoming anthology Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories From Social Justice Movements which I found at the Hooded Utalitarian. I hope you enjoy it.
“All Organizing is Science Fiction:” Walidah Imarisha on Her New Crowdfunded Project, Octavia’s Brood
Learn more about and support Octavia’s Brood at its Indiegogo campaign page.
Excerpt from “Black Angels and Blue Roses”
[Note by Noah: This is an excerpt from a story by Walidah Imarisha which will be included in the anthology Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories From Social Justice Movements, edited by Walidah Imarisha and Adrienne Maree Brown. The book is a collection of sci-fi stories by social activist writers, inspired by the work of Octavia Butler. The editors are currently running a funding campaign on indiegogo, where you can find out more about the project.
Thanks to Walidah and Adrienne for running this excerpt here!
… The gang stayed for a few hours, drinking copious amounts of whiskey and making more noise than the rest of the bar put together.