black speculative fiction

3

Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy Books with Black Heroines

A.J. Locke Books

The Reanimation Files

  1. Affairs of the Dead
  2. Requiem for the Living

“Help ghosts, stop a thief, and try not to die…”

Necromancer Selene Vanream helps ghosts settle their affairs so they can move on. But when breaking the rules gets her in trouble, she’s bumped down to tracking ghosts trying to avoid the afterlife. Ghosts like Ethan Lance, who claims he was kicked out of his body when someone else jumped in.

Black Widow Witch (standalone)

A deadly curse, a deadly assassin, and one shot to save everyone she loves…

Malachi Erami can’t fall in love. After she’s caught with Knave, the witch Queen’s favorite lover, she’s cursed to savagely butcher any man she falls for. Exiled to live among humans, Malachi runs a bar that serves magic-laced drinks, but since her curse labels her high risk, she’s also closely monitored. Julian Vira is her latest babysitter, but he’s also the first man since Knave that she’s been attracted to. Good-looking and nonjudgmental of her horrible curse? Yeah, he’s hard to resist.

Diverse Reading Resources: Goodreads (POC Speculative Fiction)

I love Goodreads. It’s a great way to see what my friends are reading and to keep track of my own reading. It’s also a great way to connect with more diverse fiction.

I’ve collected a few shelves created by Goodreads users to highlight books about POC. This round is focused on speculative fiction because I love speculative fiction.

4

Books on Science Fiction and Black Speculative Critical Analysis

1. The Black Imagination: Science Fiction, Futurism and the Speculative (Black Studies and Critical Thinking) (2011) by Sandra Jackson - This critical collection covers a broad spectrum of works, both literary and cinematic, and issues from writers, directors, and artists who claim the science fiction, speculative fiction, and Afro-futurist genres.

2. Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film (2008) by Adilifu Nama - The first book-length study of African American representation in science fiction film, Black Space demonstrates that SF cinema has become an important field of racial analysis, a site where definitions of race can be contested and post-civil rights race relations (re)imagined.

3. Race in American Science Fiction (2011) by Isiah Lavender III - Race in American Science Fiction offers a systematic classification of ways that race appears and how it is silenced in science fiction, while developing a critical vocabulary designed to focus attention on often-overlooked racial implications. These focused readings of science fiction contextualize race within the genre’s better-known master narratives and agendas.

4. Horror Noire: Blacks in American Horror Films from 1890s to Present (2011) by Robin Means Coleman - Horror Noire presents a unique social history of blacks in America through changing images in horror films. Throughout the text, the reader is encouraged to unpack the genre’s racialized imagery, as well as the narratives that make up popular culture’s commentary on race. Offering a comprehensive chronological survey of the genre, this book addresses a full range of black horror films, including mainstream Hollywood fare, as well as art-house films, Blaxploitation films, direct-to-DVD films, and the emerging U.S./hip-hop culture-inspired Nigerian “Nollywood” Black horror films.

kickstarter.com
Blacktastic: A Podcast of Black Scifi and Fantasy Stories
Every week, Blacktastic will bring you theatrical readings of Sci-Fi and Fantasy short stories written by and about Black people.

Boosting for support of a new podcast for black SFF writers – only less than $100 away from reaching their initial goal.

“Blacktastic unapologetically gives you Black heroes and sheroes in the stories we present each week. We will bring you the best in Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror and the subgenres of Black Speculative Fiction – Steamfunk, Rococoa, Dieselfunk, Cyberfunk and Sword & Soul – in a weekly podcast.

Each podcast will feature the reading of a short story by an author of Black Speculative Fiction, followed by a Q&A with the author from fans of the genre.

The funds raised will purchase a professional podcast platform, artwork and 3 hours of studio time to record the short stories and lay the sound effects.”

Hey black writers! Get your stories ready for the Black Girl Magic Issue 2, officially open in about a month. My second submission for the first issue - a story that I’m really proud of - has already been guaranteed for this new issue (sobbing tears of joy) and I just gotta advertise~

I’m a black girl who loves speculative fiction.  I love anime.  I love video games.  I love things that make you go ‘what if.’   But there are rarely any black people in these genres, and if there were, they were never leads.  When characters like Rue are revealed to be black, there’s huge backlash from that mostly white community.  But by then of course the story is already famous. So in my black-lead fantasy, I won’t call them “black” either.  I won’t use my name, I won’t include a picture.  Let them read the story and love it.  And by the time they see my dark-skinned characters on the big screen, it’ll already be too late to stop me.

“I think the most important thing for you to do in the meantime is live. It is a very involving job, which takes much concentration and practice.”

Jewelle Gomez born 1948 in Boston, Massachusetts is an American author, poet, critic and playwright. She lived and worked in New York City for twenty-two years working in public television, theatre as well as philanthropy before relocating to the West Coast. Her writing—fiction, poetry, essays and cultural criticism—has appeared in a wide variety of venues, both feminist and mainstream. Her work often intersects and addresses multiple ethnicities as well as the ideals of lesbian/feminism and issues. She has been interviewed for several documentaries focused on LGBT rights and culture.

Gomez was raised by her great-grandmother, Grace, who was born on Indian land in Iowa to an African-American mother and Ioway father. Grace returned to New England before she was fourteen, when her father died and was married to John E. Morandus, a Wampanoag and descendant of Massasoit, the sachem for whom Massachusetts was named.


Growing up in the 1950s and 1960s she was shaped socially and politically by the close family ties with her great grandmother, Grace and grandmother Lydia. Their history of independence as well as marginalization in an African-American community are referenced throughout her work. “Grace A.” from the collection Don’t Explain is an early example. During her high school and college years Gomez was involved with Black political and social movements which is reflected in much of her writing. Subsequent years in New York City she spent in Black theatre including work with the Frank Silvera Writers Workshop and many years as a stage manager for off Broadway productions.

During this time she became involved in lesbian feminist activism and magazine publication. She was a member of the CONDITIONS, a lesbian feminist literary magazine. More of Gomez’s recent writing has begun to reflect her Native American (Ioway, Wampanoag) heritage.

Gomez is the author of seven books, including the double Lambda Literary Award winning novel The Gilda Stories . This novel has been in print since 1991 and reframes the traditional vampire mythology, taking a lesbian feminist perspective; it is an adventure about an escaped slave who comes of age over two hundred years. According to scholar Elyce Rae Helford, “Each stage of Gilda’s personal voyage is also a study of life as part of multiple communities, all at the margins of mainstream white middle-class America.”


She also authored the theatrical adaptation of her novel Bones and Ash which in 1996 toured thirteen U.S. cities performed by the Urban Bush Women Company. The book, which remains in print, was also issued by the Quality Paperback Book Club in an edition including the play.

Her other books include Don’t Explain, a collection of short fiction; 43 Septembers, a collection of personal/political essays; and Oral Tradition: Selected Poems Old and New.

Her fiction and poetry is included in over one hundred anthologies including the first anthology of Black speculative fiction, Dark Matter: A Century of African American Speculative Fiction edited by Sheree R. Thomas; Home Girls: a Black feminist Anthology from Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press and Best American Poetry of 2001 edited by Robert Hass.

Gomez has written literary and film criticism for numerous publications including The Village Voice, The San Francisco Chronicle, Ms. Magazine and Black Scholar.

She’s been interviewed in periodicals and journals over the past twenty-five years including a September 1993 Advocate article where writer Victoria Brownworthdiscussed her writing origins and political interests. In the Journal of Lesbian Studies (Vol. 5, #3) she was interviewed for an article entitled “Funding Lesbian Activism,” which linked her career in philanthropy with her political roots. She’s also interviewed in the 1999 film produced for Public Television, After Stonewall, directed by John Scagliotti.


Her newest work includes a forthcoming comic novel, Televised, recounting the lives of survivors of the Black Nationalist movement, which was excerpted in the anthology Gumbo.

She authored a play about James Baldwin in 2010 in collaboration with Harry Waters Jr., an actor and professor in the theatre department at MacAlester College.Readings have been held in San Francisco at Intersection for the Arts at a seminar on Baldwin at Carleton College in Northfield, MN, at the Yellow Springs Writers Workshop in Ohio, AfroSolo Festival and the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival Gomez and Waters were interviewed on the public radio program Fresh Fruit on KFAIby host Dixie Trechel in 2008. The segment also includes two short readings from the script.

Gomez was on the original staff of Say Brother (now Basic Black), one of the first weekly Black television shows (WGBH-TV Boston, 1968), and was on the founding board of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) in 1984.


She also served on the early boards of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation and the Open Meadows Foundation, both devoted to funding women’s organizations and activities. She’s been a member of the board of the Cornell University Human Sexuality Archives and the advisory board of the James Hormel LGBT Center of the main San Francisco Public Library. She was a member of the loose-knit philanthropic collective founded in San Francisco in 1998 called 100 Lesbians and Our Friends. The group, co-founded by Andrea Gillespie and Diane Sabin, was designed to educate lesbians who were culturally miseducated—as women—about the use of money and benefits of philanthropy. The philosophy of making “stretch gifts” (not reducing contributions already being made) to lesbian groups and projects raised more than $200,000 in two years.

She was a commencement speaker at the University of California at Los Angeles Queer Commencement and acted as a keynote speaker twice for Gay Pride in New York City and as a host for Pride San Francisco.[

She and her partner, Dr. Diane Sabin, were among the litigants against the state of California suing for the right to legal marriage. The case was brought to the courts by the City Attorney of San Francisco, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union. She has written extensively about gay rights since the 1980s, including articles on equal marriage in Ms. Magazine and has been quoted extensively during the court case. In May 2008 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the litigants, allowing marriage between same-sex couples in the state of California. Such ceremonies may legally begin after thirty days, which allow municipalities to make administrative changes. They were among 18,000 couples married in California before (Proposition 8), which banned further same-sex marriages in California, was approved by the voters on  November 4, 2008.


Formerly the executive director of the Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives at San Francisco State University, she has also had a long career in philanthropy. She was the director of Cultural Equity Grants at the San Francisco Arts Commission and the director of the Literature Program for the New York State Council on the Arts.

She has presented lectures and taught at numerous institutions of higher learning including San Francisco State University, Hunter College, Rutgers University, New College of California, Grinnell College, San Diego City College, The Ohio State University and the University of Washington (Seattle). She is the former director of the Literature Program at the New York State Council on the Arts and of Cultural Equity Grants at the San Francisco Arts Commission.She also served as executive director of the Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives at San Francisco State University.

She is currently employed as Director of Grants and Community Initiatives for Horizons Foundation,the oldest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender foundation in the US. She serves as the President of the San Francisco Public Library Commission.


2

“How are you, Dean?”

That little glance to Sam before he answers Cas’ question though. It’s kind of breaking my heart a little bit, because he checks if Sam is looking at him first before he replies. Please don’t understand the following as hating on Sam, this is not what I have in mind at all (I hope this will get clear in a bit - I don’t want to turn this into Deancas either, it’s really just more an assessment or spec/meta whatever of this scene), but I wonder if maybe Dean would have given a diffferent reply, if Sam wouldn’t have been around. We have seen multiple times over the seasons, that Dean is acting a little different around Cas when Sam is there with him. It’s like he is keeping up ~appearance around Sam so to speak. And now more than ever before, because their relationship is so strained and Dean thinks Sam might not care anyway, which we know is far from the truth when we look at Sam and his worried expression. Because deep down and despite everything that has happened between them in this season, it’s clear as day that Sam cares, that he is worried and would wish Dean would be honest with him (but then again, Sam knows Dean’d deflection mechanisms better than anybody else, so he can see right through Dean’s act - and I think Dean knows that too, but it’s complicated).

Also, as I just realized the scene when Sam finds Dean on the floor and Gadreel unconscious in the old and rundown warehouse, (to me) kind of calls back to this scene. In that scene, when Dean is sitting there, leaning against the wall, knuckles bruised and bloody, he looks up to Sam with such desperation in his eyes. With eyes that say “help me”, “can you see me”, “I don’t know what is happening to me”, “I don’t know, who I am anymore”. Yeah, that scene in the warehouse to me was a silent pleading for help and I think abit of that I can see in this scene as well. In the way Dean glances at Sam. But then again, that might just be me feeling this way…

medium.com
Antiblack Racism in Speculative Fiction — Fireside Fiction
#BlackSpecFic: A Fireside Fiction Company special report
By Cecily Kane

This struck me:

“For this report, we focused on black authors specifically rather than authors of color generally because, while all are important, we noticed several patterns — not limited to the short fiction field — in which “diversity” initiatives excluded black people and hid antiblackness. The terms “people of color” and “PoC” can have a flattening effect, so we took a closer look than the white/not-white binary.”

blackquantumfuturism.tumblr.com
Time Travel
"Black Quantum Futurism: Theory & Practice (2015)“Black Quantum Futurism (or BQF) is a new approach to living and experiencing reality by way of the manipulation of space-time in...

Research. This term, more of my posts are about process than about what we read. Actually, it is closer to 50/50. I have had to come to terms with the idea that I am absolutely fascinated, more like obsessed, with black speculative and science fiction. So much so, that it is impacting my daily life in terms of thinking of constructions of blackness, liminality, space, blackness as a technology, and how this is even further complicating by gender, disability, and neuro-atypical folks.

My heroine jumps through time, not like the show Quantum Leap, but rather she feels her way into other times and places. She does not imagine herself in these places or try to go there (at least not initially), it is when that she is feeling most free, detached from the world around her, and connected with something greater, that she takes the leap. She is in a state of bliss, and at some points, ecstacy when she leaves her body. Pleasure is the catalyst. Pleasure is power. What is more radical than a black woman channeling pleasure into something as immense as time travel?

2

We are extremely proud to participate in Unveiling Visions: The Alchemy of the Black Imagination, an exhibition afrofuturistic and black speculative material culture, art, and ephemera coming to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture’s Latimer Gallery on Sept. 25 thru Jan 16. @afrofuturistaffair Creator Rasheedah Phillips has an essay featured in the exhibition catalogue called “Dismantling the Master’s Clock: Black Quantum Futurism as a New Afro-Diasporic Time Consciousness”

9x18 "Meta Fiction"

He doesn’t fight back. He doesn’t try to yank his arm free. No, he almost holds completely still, when Cas manhandles him and lets him uncover his arm, see the mark, see him. And what he has become. And that expression on his face. It’s almost indecipharable, because there are so many layers. There’s annoyance and anger and defeat, but also something like understanding and sadness. Something that says “Yes, I know… it might have been stupid”, but that’s what I derserve. That deep breath he takes before he opens his eyes again. Eyes that shift so fast from showing deep desperation and wanting to be saved to sadness to completely empty, hardened, ~dead. He’s so tired, so worn down. He just wants it all to be over. A means to an end. Or should we say a means to his end…

Brief Thoughts in Black Time - A Series of NonLinear Incompletions | by Cheikh Athj

listen. a woman just came into Community Futures Lab and told me that her son, along with three other youth, was killed this past week. she was a bit intoxicated, and selling hygiene products to raise money. asking for donations. we exchanged information and, before leaving, she told me she was single. that she might need to call on me / us for help.i had a conversation with a man today who told me that for every building that goes up in this neighborhood, two fall down. he does not want to see words on paper, to sit in front of notebooks in housing workshops. he wants to see these new developments fall, and for the hood to see the money that is being asked of it. he wants to see resources not on paper but real, tangible material. “this ain’t sharswood. what is sharswood? this is columbia ave.” i really don’t know what to tell you at this moment. black ass beautiful people are under assail and our kids, we are being released from our flesh in these streets. i know this is and *isn’t* common knowledge (cognitive dissonance does not count). i do not wish to trigger you. i just be so confused about what to do with this knowledge. about what to actually do other than sitting in front of my computer / ableton / a notepad and waxing poetic / musical / angry. there are so many facts missing, so many media files uncompleted, the ghosts of anger that undulate and rise and wane like bloody / bloodless tide. telling facebook of these narratives and making this a public post is no form of absolution. it is pixels on a telescreen, it is truth on the internet. i did not know these four youths. i met this woman and i met this man today. i am leaving the lab and i am headed to figure out a portion of my life. i am working on new things. i am in hoods i am not of (have my ancestors traversed these spaces?) trying to tell people who look like me that i am here to help them. i am here to help, and yet absolution is a heavy word on my tongue. liminality is where i stand. this is not absolution, but these stories will not be lost. these people will not be smudged out. they deserve every option, every opportunity, contact with every body gone ghost… fam…

———— 

if there’s anything this election was supposed to teach me, i’ve missed the lesson. white folks want me and people who look like me abolished, which i laugh at. it’s cool, i been known this. a nigga ain’t go to Ferguson and walk all up and down Broadway for nothing.

i still ain’t going nowhere, cept ancestral lands for that deep rejuvenation and deeper reckoning. then back up in this mug to raise a lil lot of hell, sing the graves open, and praise dance the sky red with every flesh ridden matrix of skeleton work released of spirit too soon. gon call apocalypse home and watch every silver spoon fed mouth salivate til they flesh dry up like ocean spray craisins and chime against they bones in the wind.

we been magic. been brothel and boo. been broke mosaic’d, re|paired and sometimes i lose myself in all this deep black and deeper blue. all this deja vu. and there is nothing wrong with the way indigeneity quietly shakes the earth i move along, a bump in every night. how i evade and give reason for sight. i strike fear and call every trigger by name.

it is hard for a bullet to hit you in the dark so that’s where i bool at. no night vision. we ain’t gon be alright but we will be black, will be indigenous. we have always been these things, have always been threats and that is why they want to turn our lights out, keep theirs on. it’s cool. we live here in this subtle dark, are everything that comes before and after the tenuous flip of a plastic switch… 

————

under the midnight haze of another philadelphia crescent moon, fishtown reeks of a similar scent to a close and recent sibling. i won’t conjure its name but will say it sits adjacent to — east of — a floating island we nickname the fruit that got us all here in the first place. another white man is president and this is the first time in (american?) history white folks speak of rebellion. some of us believed a white woman with a feminist lens and a penchant for planned parenthood centers would somewhat save us, and throughout her presidency i could not help but remember when a black gender nonconforming person asked her to apologize for mass incarceration, saying to Hillary’s face, “i am not a superpredator.” 

dismissed. white hands tugging at black words, Hillary’s words, and all of this is and isn’t metaphor. how i have seen folks turn, so quick to palimpsest the sins of a new “savior” helmed and still holding blackness hostage. still ready to deport and decimate, to break families into states: cut, partitioned, bordered. adversarial even. my tongue is tired of waking up to name subjection, again. 

———— 

faced with what has always been 

before you — 

a smoke screen, 

a limber faith made of 

stretch and pray 

hoping the sky don’t go ghost 

behind a blanket of red 

jurisdiction 

on some day you have not 

readied your soul 

for flight, yet — 

you don’t quite crumble 

at the core from the crypt 

of isolation; 

more so, at the inefficiency 

of language. 

tones, vowels, syllables, 

consonants, “english 

words" 

all fall short of explanation 

and how contrary of a 

battle you find yourself 

fighting. 

for the tongue beneath 

the one 

you usually use to talk something 

serious or sexual 

or even just punctuate 

the salt that finds 

exodus down your cheek 

does not speak resurrection, 

but remembrance: 

like: to birth what has not lived. 

like: to water a seed unsowed 

like: the tear drop attempted 

like: a deep and dark loin tempted 

like: how many times you gon say 

nanga def before your mouth 

run away from you, 

back to somewhere more flexible 

like: why you focus only 

on what you know 

like: i got folks down south too 

tho its soil is still a ghost to me 

like: i’ve never worn a rosary 

———— 

taking on the role of the ghost 

while at vassar, i began to experience what felt like being cast into a space of ghostliness. what i meant by this (mostly) is that i was not seen by the white folks on campus. 

the way i see being a ghost has since shifted, not so much to operate in binary opposition of "now i’m a ghost bc you white folks made me this,” but an understanding of how ghostliness can be utilized as a space of regeneration and the activation power. in what i have seen, which is shaky, i mostly cannot see what the ghost is doing — much of their actions are cast into darkness and obscured. this is what i’m interested in. while we see the ways in which the ghost haunts and terrorizes (often but not always) settler colonial bodies, we spend so much time not seeing what the ghost is doing otherwise. 

bullets go missing in the dark, so that’s where i’m at. white folks and murderous cops ain’t gon be shooting shit at me because they might end up shooting themselves. anything can happen in the dark. it is a space of expansive misunderstanding. the dark is faster than the light, which means all the things unimaginable in the light may be possible in the dark. time travel, every horrific monster, connecting with and feeling our ancestors and loved ones, love itself, so on and so forth. 

i am coming to reckon with how as a black person, as a black queer person, i am always already navigating darkness from a “cast into” pov. while i am interested in that because it is apart of my experience, i am navigating further into what it means to intentionally trudge into and out of the dark at will — not solely based on other people’s actions. i want to know what it means to know i am a ghost, to reckon so continually and deeply with this knowledge that i live and create both within and in spite of it. in some ways this way of operating draws on DuBois’ theory of double consciousness. but that’s the other thing about the dark: it is not limited by binaries because ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. the dark can be an important space of presence, activation, and protection esp for marginalized folks who are always negotiating danger and the potential of our own (fleshly) deaths. 

———— 

Bio: Cheikh Athj is young black ghost producing in the tradition of Octavia Butler, Henry Dumas, and loved ones who have left the flesh. Whenever he isn’t theorizing, you can find him making music, crying, or watching black television shows on repeat. 

SUBMIT YOUR SESSION PROPOSAL

LIBERATION TECHNOLOGIES: SCI-FI FOR WORLD-BUILDING & SURVIVAL

at the 2014 allied media conference in detroit

deadline to submit session proposals: MARCH 1st 2014

This track seeks sci-fi and speculative themed session proposals that disrupt, deconstruct, and reframe oppressive mainstream media networks, narratives, and representation by using sci-fi possibilities to re-orient existence.

http://liberationtechnologiesamc.tumblr.com/call-for-participation

http://liberationtechnologiesamc.tumblr.com/call-for-participation

http://liberationtechnologiesamc.tumblr.com/call-for-participation