Whenever we envision a world without war, without prisons, without capitalism, we are producing speculative fiction. Organizers and activists envision, and try to create, such worlds all the time. Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown have brought twenty of them together in the first anthology of short stories to explore the connections between radical speculative fiction and movements for social change. The visionary tales ofOctavia’s Brood span genres—sci-fi, fantasy, horror, magical realism—but all are united by an attempt to inject a healthy dose of imagination and innovation into our political practice and to try on new ways of understanding ourselves, the world around us, and all the selves and worlds that could be. The collection is rounded off with essays by Tananarive Due and Mumia Abu-Jamal, and a preface by Sheree Renée Thomas.
Author: Mark A. Fabrizi
Release Date: 2016-10-11
Fantasy literature, often derided as superficial and escapist, is one of the most popular and enduring genres of fiction worldwide. It is also—perhaps surprisingly—thought-provoking, structurally complex, and relevant to contemporary society, as the essays in this volume attest. The scholars, teachers, and authors represented here offer their perspectives on this engaging genre. Within these pages, a reader will find a wealth of ideas to help teachers use these texts in the classroom, challenging students to read fantasy with a critical eye. They employ interdisciplinary, philosophical, and religious lenses, as well as Marxist and feminist critical theory, to help students unlock texts. The books discussed include epic fantasy by such authors as Tolkien and Le Guin, children’s fantasy by Beatrix Potter and Saint-Exupéry, modern fantasy by Rowling and Martin, and even fairy tales and comic books. The contributors offer provocations, questioning the texts and pushing the boundaries of meaning within the fantasy genre. And in doing so, they challenge readers themselves to ponder these tales more deeply. But through each of these chapters runs a profound love of the genre and a respect for those who produce such beautiful and moving stories. Furthermore, as with all the books in this series, this volume is informed by the tenets of critical pedagogy, and is focused on re-envisioning fantasy literature through the lens of social justice and empowerment. Prepare to be challenged and inspired as you read these explorations of a much-loved genre.
Author: Walidah Imarisha
Publisher: AK Press
Release Date: 2016-01-18
Genre: Social Science
"There was a time I believed prisons existed to rehabilitate people, to make our communities safer. . . . When I saw for the first time (but not the last) a mother sobbing and clutching her son when visiting hours were up, only to be physically pried off and escorted out by guards, I knew nothing about that made me safer. This is the heart of this country's prison system. And the prison system has become the heart of America."—Walidah Imarisha, from the introduction. This is no romanticized tale of crime and punishment. The three lives in this creative nonfiction account are united by the presence of actual harm—sometimes horrific violence. Walidah Imarisha, a sexual assault survivor, brings us behind prison walls to visit her incarcerated brother Kakamia and his fellow inmate Jimmy "Mac" McElroy, a member of the Irish gang the Westies. Together they explore the questions: People can do unimaginable damage to one another—and then what? What do we as a society do? What might redemption look like? Imarisha doesn't flinch as she guides us through the complexities and contradictions of transformative justice, eschewing theory for a much messier reality. The result is a nuanced and deeply personal analysis that allows readers to connect emotionally with the stories she shares, and the people behind them. Walidah Imarisha is a writer, organizer, educator, and spoken-word artist. She is the co-editor of Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories From Social Justice Movements and author of the collection of poetry Scars/Stars.
Author: Shelley Streeby
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 2017-10-06
From the 1960s to the present, activists, artists, and science fiction writers have imagined the consequences of climate change and its impacts on our future. Authors such as Octavia Butler and Leslie Marmon Silko, movie directors such as Bong Joon-Ho, and creators of digital media such as the makers of the Maori web series Anamata Future News have all envisioned future worlds during and after environmental collapse, engaging audiences to think about the earth’s sustainability. As public awareness of climate change has grown, so has the popularity of works of climate fiction that connect science with activism. Today, real-world social movements helmed by Indigenous people and people of color are leading the way against the greatest threat to our environment: the fossil fuel industry. Their stories and movements—in the real world and through science fiction—help us all better understand the relationship between activism and culture, and how both can be valuable tools in creating our future. Imagining the Future of Climate Change introduces readers to the history and most significant flashpoints in climate justice through speculative fictions and social movements, exploring post-disaster possibilities and the art of world-making.
Author: Sami Schalk
Publisher: Duke University Press
Release Date: 2018-02-23
Genre: Literary Criticism
In Bodyminds Reimagined Sami Schalk traces how black women's speculative fiction complicates the understanding of bodyminds—the intertwinement of the mental and the physical—in the context of race, gender, and (dis)ability. Bridging black feminist theory with disability studies, Schalk demonstrates that this genre's political potential lies in the authors' creation of bodyminds that transcend reality's limitations. She reads (dis)ability in neo-slave narratives by Octavia Butler (Kindred) and Phyllis Alesia Perry (Stigmata) not only as representing the literal injuries suffered under slavery, but also as a metaphor for the legacy of racial violence. The fantasy worlds in works by N. K. Jemisin, Shawntelle Madison, and Nalo Hopkinson—where werewolves have obsessive-compulsive-disorder and blind demons can see magic—destabilize social categories and definitions of the human, calling into question the very nature of identity. In these texts, as well as in Butler’s Parable series, able-mindedness and able-bodiedness are socially constructed and upheld through racial and gendered norms. Outlining (dis)ability's centrality to speculative fiction, Schalk shows how these works open new social possibilities while changing conceptualizations of identity and oppression through nonrealist contexts.