CELEBRATING DIVERSITY WITHIN SPECULATIVE FICTION IS NOT DIVISIVE OR SEPARATIST

WHAT WE CAN ALL LEARN FROM BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION MONTH

 

Last month, I ran a series of blog posts spotlighting Black Speculative Fiction Month. BSFM was designed to acknowledge and spread the word about black authors and artists within the speculative fiction genre.
In and of itself, speculative fiction is mostly represented by whites and thus doesn’t usually have protagonists of color. That said, the readers of speculative fiction are mostly unaware of black authors in the genre.

One of the intentions of BSFM is to not only celebrate the achievements of black authors—which can be easily overlooked by the mainstream audience—but to also inform and educate the readers and potential reader of speculative fiction that diversity does exist and that various racial and cultural groups are being represented.

Many within the black community don’t read speculative fiction because they see it as either silly—too far removed from reality—or dominated by whites who often exclude any characters of color. So, most of the black community isn’t even aware that black speculative fiction authors exist. This is where BSFM comes into play.

The month long celebration informs those within the community and in the mainstream who don’t know, of the existence of black speculative fiction authors. This is an effort to not only inform readers of black authors, but to also bring new readers to the genre of speculative fiction as a whole.

I was confronted by an individual who felt that having BSFM was divisive and separatist. I attempted to explain that his interpretation of the celebration was not at all its intent. I tried to point out the goals I stated earlier, but unfortunately to no avail.

Sure, as you would expect most black speculative fiction writers have a predominately black cast of characters, whereas most white speculative fiction writers have a predominately white cast of characters. We write within our framework of experience and what comes natural and to me there’s nothing wrong with that. I have white characters, Asian characters, etc… in my work(s), as white authors have black characters within their work(s). But how I approach any character I create—regardless of race—is to make them human, first and foremost. I don’t get caught up in trying to make them conform to typical stereotypes in order to assert authenticity. To do this, creates a caricature of an ethnic group and does almost nothing to develop the character as an entity.

I have enjoyed books where the cast of characters were all white, but I never got particularly angry or disgruntled, nor did I urge those creators to include token blacks to make their work more balanced. I write stories with black protagonists and a predominately black cast, not in answer to my white counterparts, but because that’s what comes naturally to me. It’s not divisive or separatist to write what you know.

It wasn’t too long ago that the mainstream public refused to acknowledge, let alone publish or feature black speculative fiction authors. If we as a group wanted to be seen or heard, we had to do it for ourselves. Now, there is a slow movement to integrate black creators into the mainstream however, much more is yet to be done and  celebrations like BSFM only help to foster diversity within the world of genre fiction by spreading the word about those outside of the mainstream’s purview.

A lot of people I know within speculative fiction are coming together to explore our differences and learn something new about other people and to me that’s a good thing. It has always been my idea that when I’m reading speculative fiction, I’m looking for a bold new adventure. What could be more different than to step outside of the box you’re accustomed to and explore a more diverse take on genre fiction? I’m not sure how making people aware of diversity, exploring new cultural takes on genre fiction and authors writing within the scope of their experience is such a bad thing.

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BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION MONTH SPOTLIGHT #25

TODAY’S BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION MONTH SPOTLIGHT IS BALOGUN OJETADE!

1014308_10151651562099253_183144284_nBalogun is the author of the bestselling Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within and screenwriter / producer / director of the films, A Single Link and Rite of Passage: Initiation.

He is one of the leading authorities on Steamfunk – a philosophy or style of writing that combines the African and / or African American culture and approach to life with that of the steampunk philosophy and / or steampunk fiction – and writes about it, the craft of writing, Sword & Soul and Steampunk in general, at http://chroniclesofharriet.com/.

He is author of three novels – the Steamfunk bestseller, MOSES: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman (Books 1 & 2); the science fiction gangster saga, Redeemer; and the Sword & Soul epic, Once Upon A Time In Afrika and contributing co-editor of two anthologies: Ki: Khanga: The Anthology and Steamfunk. He is also co-creator of the soon-to-be-released role-playing game, Ki-Khanga™: The Sword & Soul RPG.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once Upon A Time In Afrika

 

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Balogun can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Afrikan.Martial.Arts and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Baba_Balogun.

 

BE SURE TO HELP CELEBRATE BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION MONTH BY CHECKING OUT THE WORK(S) OF THIS WONDERFUL CREATOR & REMEMBER TBIYTC!!!

BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION MONTH SPOTLIGHT #24

TODAY’S BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION MONTH SPOTLIGHT IS WAYNE RILEY!

allknightzteamWayne Riley is the brainchild behind All Knightz, a team of animators, graphic designers, illustrators and writers who are together most notably responsible for the animated series known as ‘Hard Wired’. Their aim is to give you a whole new fresh take on how you view comic books and cartoons by giving you a different kind of character that you and your children will always remember as well as a new way of story telling that will encourage you to look deeper into the stories from our African history.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BE SURE TO HELP CELEBRATE BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION MONTH BY CHECKING OUT THE WORK(S) OF THIS WONDERFUL CREATOR & REMEMBER TBIYTC!!!

BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION MONTH SPOTLIGHT #23

TODAY’S BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION SPOTLIGHT IS MILTON DAVIS!

 

 

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Milton Davis works as a full time chemist and a part time writer. He is finally fulfilling my dream of writing by self publishing his novels and stories. His publishing company is MVmedia Publishing and Beyond.

 

 

 

 

Some of his titles include:

  • Meji: Vol 1 & 2
  • Changa’s Safari:  Vol 1 & 2

Anthologies he’s published and had work appear in:

  • Griots: A Sword & Soul Anthology
  • The Steamfunk Anthology

MEJI VOL 1 BOOK COVER

GriotsWoman of the WoodsSteamfunk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To learn about other titles and purchase copies of his work(s) visit the company website @: http://www.mvmediaatl.com/

Check out his blog Wagadu @: http://www.mvmediaatl.com/Wagadu/

 

BE SURE TO HELP CELEBRATE BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION MONTH BY CHECKING OUT THE WORK(S) OF THIS WONDERFUL CREATOR & REMEMBER TBIYTC!!!

BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION MONTH SPOTLIGHT #22

TODAY’S BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION SPOTLIGHT IS HASANI CLAXTON!

Hasani Claxton

Hasani Claxton

Hasani Claxton was raised on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. He studied Business Management at Morehouse College (1999) and Law at Columbia University (2003). While serving as an Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx, he began taking evening classes at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. In 2005, he decided to pursue his passion full time, enrolling in Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2009 and later that year attended the Illustration Master Class at Amherst College.

His commissions have included book illustrations, album covers, a mural for an installation at the Carolina Children’s Museum in Puerto Rico, as well as private portraits. In 2012, his work was selected as the People’s Choice for the Black Art In America Juried Art Exhibition and displayed at the Harlem Fine Arts Show. He was a semifinalist in the 2013 Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series. He currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland.

Knights of the Savana 30 X 40 oil on linen

Knights of the Savana (30 X 40 oil on linen)

The Fall of the Witch King oil on panel

The Fall of the Witch King (oil on panel)

Ivory Blaque

Ivory Blaque

For a more extensive look at Hasani’s artwork, visit his website @: http://www.hasaniclaxton.com

BE SURE TO HELP CELEBRATE BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION MONTH BY CHECKING OUT THE WORK(S) OF THIS WONDERFUL CREATOR & REMEMBER TBIYTC!!!

BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION MONTH SPOTLIGHT #20

TODAY’S BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION MONTH SPOTLIGHT IS SHAWNTELLE MADISON!

ShawntelleMadisonShawntelle Madison is a web developer who loves to weave words as well as code. She’d never admit it, but if asked she’d say she covets and collects source code. After losing her first summer job detasseling corn, Shawntelle performed various jobs—from fast-food clerk to grunt programmer to university webmaster. Writing eccentric characters is her most favorite job of them all. On any particular day when she’s not surgically attached to her computer, she can be found watching cheesy horror movies or the latest action-packed anime. She lives in Missouri with her husband and children.

About Me: Shawntelle is the urban fantasy author of the Coveted series featuring Natalya Stravinsky, the charmingly neurotic werewolf from South Toms River, New Jersey. The first book, COVETED, was named a Barnes and Noble Romance Pick for the month of May.

The Natalya Stravinsky trilogy will conclude with COMPELLED, which will release in May 2014. Additional series are planned in the Coveted universe.

She is also the author of the romantic horror series called Hadley Werewolves.

You can find Shawntelle on her website, Twitter, and Facebook. She has a variety of helpful author tools on her website:

http://www.shawntellemadison.com/

BE SURE TO HELP CELEBRATE BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION MONTH BY CHECKING OUT THE WORK(S) OF THIS WONDERFUL CREATOR & REMEMBER TBIYTC!!!

BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION MONTH SPOTLIGHT #19

TODAY’S BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION MONTH SPOTLIGHT IS JOE ROBINSON CURRIE!

Joe Robinson CurrieMy name is Joe Currie aka That Strictly Kid

I am the Head Creator and Publisher for Strictly Underground Comics.

I have been in the comic book business as a publisher and a creator for about 17 years.

My credits: Include,Co-Creator, Co-Writer and Publisher for the “Huntsmen” 3 issue mini series. Published in 1996.

Co-Creator, Co-Writer and Publisher for the “Something” 4 issue mini series.

Creator, Writer and Publisher for the “Prodigy” 4 issue mini series.

Creator, Writer and Publisher for the “PUNXofRAGE 6 issue mini series.

 

 

 

Dodger & Prodigy PUNXofRAGE Pic: Stanley Weaver

Dodger & Prodigy
PUNXofRAGE
Pic: Stanley Weaver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Website www.punxofrage.com

BE SURE TO HELP CELEBRATE BLACK SPECULATIVE FICTION MONTH BY CHECKING OUT THE WORK(S) OF THIS WONDERFUL CREATOR & REMEMBER TBIYTC!!!