Writing Sci-Fi Together
Today I got the honor, blessing, geek-out of getting to jump in on the Writing Sci-Fi workshop with Walidah Imarisha, my co-editor for Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from the Movement (a real book that’s coming out next year!!!)
She crafted a brilliant agenda and we had an incredible time. I wanted to share some notes with you:
What is visionary fiction and radical sci-Fi?
- it explores current social issues
- it’s conscious of race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, identity and power, and explores intersecting identities
- supports change from the bottom up
- it moves or places power in the hands of the oppressed
- not neutral…the purpose is social change
Other brilliant ideas, from participants:
- it offers us a way to test drive responses to issues
- gives us freedom to break life’s stereotypes
- makes us question ‘what is human?’
- it’s revolutionary, versus reactionary
- let’s us imagine a new society, and new solutions
- makes the perspectives of oppression palatable to folks who otherwise couldn’t grasp it
we had folks read an excerpt from Derrick bell’s space traders short story as an example of radical science fiction, and then break into four groups and build stories together, mapping out characters, setting, backdrop and conflict.
here are four synopses from the breakout groups! we hope you agree they are fantastic
1) Checkpoint Apocalypse: Robots are defending borders in an apocalypse where we no longer have nations. All families are required to donate a child to be robotized. Our character is on a quest to find his robot sibling after his parents die, only to find that his sibling wants to turn him into a robot too!
2) Smash Patriarchy: The main character in smash patriarchy is a gender nonconfirming alien who crash lands in the tent city of the oppressed – queer and trans, poc, immigrants – around the Washington Monument where they have been displaced by the new ruling majority (white women who feel the revolution is done now that they have “smashed patriarchy.”) The white women in charge want to co opt the alien who is old and the alien has to decide whom to align with.
3) the Constructs: main character is a tenant in an animate building in a world where everything is alive and shifting. The building doesn’t want the tenant anymore because she and her intimate are always fighting. dialogue includes: woman: “you’re a construct.” building, “YOU’RE a construct!!!”
4) Quanta: living in a world with the Earth is emitting a numbing agent that dulls human senses so they will no longer be driven to destroy each other and her. the dream world is the only place where people still experience their senses. quanta, our lead character, is able to be in two places at once and she is working in the dream and waking world to help humans evolve so that they can have their senses and be in harmony with planet.
folks shared stories and got applause. we were amazed by each other!!