poc in sci fi

You know what’s a shame?

When your favorite VOD streaming service cancels  one of their most diverse Shows right at the beginning of Pride Month!

I mean srsly…..

When was the last time I saw a Show that wasn’t either dominated by white folks or kinda exclusive to POC? Instead Sense8 has a mix of 8 wonderfully different main characters, such as…

Will Gorski:

The cop from Chicago, the loyal friend, the lover; a man confident enough to trust the woman by his side with his whole conscious & unconscius being to save him. 

Riley Blue:

The DJane from Iceland, the mother, the lonely spirit; the woman who would walk trough hell and back to save the ones she loves.

Capheus Onyango:

The Matatu driver from Nairobi, the optimist, the one who won’t let himself be defined by poor or rich but just his courage to make a difference. 

Sun Bak:

The Warrioress from Korea, the unbent, betrayed by those closest to her but not even prison could break her. Now she’s on her way for justice.

Lito Rodriguez:

The closeted telenovela star from Mexico, the passionate dreamer, along his career he learnt to be the hero of his own destiny. Can he make it big beyond the borders of his homeland?

Kala Dandekar:

The Pharmacist from India; the believer, once she learnt that traditions are not necessarily the safest option she finds the courage to fight for her happiness.

Wolfgang Bogdanow:

The safecracker from Germany, raised by a brutal and bullying father he found family much closer then bound by blood and even love where he least expected it.

Nomi Marks:

The transgender hacktivist from San Francisco, rejected by her family who refuse to accept her new Identity as Nomi, she made herself a name by blogging about political issues. Her fiancee Amanita a beautiful WOC with 3 father figures have her back in all this.

Now imagine these 8 completely different characters living their individual life finding out that they’re mentally connected with one another. Called a cluster  they explore step by step each others world by visiting one another. Visiting means they can only use the regular given senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting etc from the person they visit. Another ability is sharing. Sharing means they can use each others skills  regardless of their own but this works only within the cluster.  So in short word that means Capheus can share his driving skills with Nomi who can’t drive as much as Lito can feel Sun Baks menstruation symptoms sometimes. Yes they have very a lot of funny and emotional moments together along they way. 

Originally posted by amanitacaplan

Other Characters:

Angelica Turing:

Better known as the mother she appears to be the one capable of giving birth to clusters by releasing/activating their connection to each other. When her last cluster awoke she commited suicide. She was in a relationship with Jonas which whom she released several clusters.

Jonas Maliki:

He shows up when Angelica’s last born cluster awoke to guide and teach them their abilities as sensates. He’s doing this mainly through Will Gorski. Jonas and Angelica were in a relationship and part of the same cluster. 

Dr. Whispers:

He’s the main antagonist of the Show goes by several aliases but best known as Whispers. Although as a sensate himself he’s part of an organisation that hunts down other sensates. He can only connect with a cluster by making direct eye contact. 

Amanita Caplan:

Amanita works in a bookstore, supports LGBT charities, she has a mother named Grace and three father figures because they never cared to find out who’s the biological one. They loved her all the same. She is Nomi’s fiancee.

Hernando Fuentes:

He’s an Art professor, loves to cook and is the lover of Lito. Despite his relationship with Lito needs to be kept a secret due the career of Lito he’s very supportive. Nontehelss he has strong beliefs of its own and is mostly the more grounded part in their relationship.

Daniela Velasquez:

She comes from a wealthy background, is an actress and Lito’s friend as well as his cover at events. Later she finds out about his secret and formes a close bond to both Lito and Hernando based on her fascination with gay men in general.

Felix Berner:

He’s Wolfgangs best friend since they were kids. Although he’s having the talent to getting himself in trouble and Wolfgang along with him hes fairly loyal and the only one who knows about Wolfie’s abusive childhood.

Despite this amazing concept of 8 fully developed individual characters forming a worldwide bond to defeat a greater enemy who’s after them for experiments and killing them in the process Netflix canceled this Show after only 2 Seasons. Sure filming in 8 differerent cities all over the globe is expensive but that makes the quality even better and so much more authentic. There is no need to kill off characters for the shock effect, no need to sideline anyone for the sake of one major pairing. They’re equals, they’re individuals, not dependent on each other but stronger together if it’s necessary.

If you don’t believe me go and watch it for yourself on Netflix if you have it!

Here’s a little preview:

FEEL FREE TO SHARE, ADD TAGS OR CORRECT THINGS! 

SHOW AWARNESS ~ #BRINGBACKSENSE8 ~ SIGN THE PETITION (x)

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BOOK REC (Sci-Fi with PoC and wlw)

Why you should read The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers:

  • IT HAS A HUGE EMPHASIS ON FOUND FAMILY and also on moving forward and how you sometimes need different people at different stages of your life
  • The alien cultures, man, they are like nothing I’ve ever seen before on this scale. It’s not just surface stuff, it’s down to the belief systems and social interactions and how they view things like motherhood and violence and even board games! Also, FEMALE ALIENS WITHOUT BREASTS WHO ARE CONSIDERED VERY ATTRACTIVE TO HUMANS CAN I GET A HELL YEAH
  • Gender and sexuality are definitely way more fluid, one of the crew members is a species that changes gender across their lifetime (plus there is a crew member that goes by they pronouns, though not exactly in a nb way, it’s hard to explain)
  • Imagine Firefly, except in a universe full of aliens like Guardians of the Galaxy, and the crew aren’t criminals (for the most part) and are just generally a bit nicer. And by nicer I mean, as someone else more eloquent than me said about this book “they’re not all good people, but most of them are trying to be”. They care about each other despite all the cultural differences that sometimes have them screaming
  • most of the humans on the crew are not white
  • TWO FEMALE MEMBERS OF THE CREW BECOME A COUPLE I’m not gonna say which because it totally took me by surprise and that was an incredible thing cos I already adored this book and then it gave me the one thing it was missing that I hadn’t dared hope for 
  • polyamory is discussed frequently and is a base part of one of the alien cultures and it’s very normalised and respected
  • seriously everyone does their hardest to be respectful of each other’s culture and all the differences and even though sometimes they fail or really struggle they really TRY and that’s what makes it so great
  • the book is genuinely hilarious (“What do your crazy speciests do?” “Live on gated farms and have private orgies.” “How is that any different than what the rest of you do?” “We don’t have gates and anybody can come to our orgies.”)
  • there’s plot but it’s very character driven in a way that works really well
  • Kizzy - my favourite character who is just a joy (imagine Kaylee Frye if she was Chinese, hyped up on extreme amounts of caffeine, and totally eccentric)
  • REALLY AMAZING PLATONIC MALE/FEMALE RELATIONSHIPS
  • like seriously every damn relationship in this book is so incredible and important and well done
  • I’ve never done a book rec on here before and the fact that I feel the need to do this should in itself say something about how amazing it is

In summary: 

  • SPACE GIRLFRIENDS NEED I SAY MORE
  • amazing and compelling alien cultures
  • a crew/found family that are so beautiful in their differences and how they do their best to respect and accommodate them
  • it’s really fucking funny
  • “Ninety percent of all problems are caused by people being assholes.” “What causes the other ten percent?” “Natural disasters.”
2

Young Adult Books with Black Protagonists

The Diamond Thief (1) by J.A. Mclachlan

On his deathbed, Kia’s father discloses a secret to her alone: a magnificent diamond he has been hiding for years. Fearing he stole it, she too keeps it secret. She learns it comes from the distant colonized planet of Malem, where her father caught the illness that eventually killed him. Now she is even more convinced he stole it, as it is illegal for any off-worlder to possess a Malemese diamond.
When 16-yr-old Kia is training to be a translator, she is co-opted by a series of events into travelling as a translator to Malem. Using her skill in languages and another skill she picked up after her father s death, the skill of picking locks - she unravels the secret of the mysterious gem and learns what she must do to set things right: return the diamond to its original owner. But how will she find out who that is when no one can know that she, an off-worlder, has a Malemese diamond?

The Salarian Desert Game (2) by J.A. Mclachlan

What if someone you love gambled on her life?

Games are serious business on Salaria, and the stakes are high. When Kia’s older sister, in a desperate bid to erase their family debt, loses the game and forfeits her freedom, Kia is determined to rescue her.

Disguised as a Salarian, Kia becomes Idaro in order to move freely in this dangerous new culture. When she arrives on Salaria, she learns it’s a world where a few key players control the board, and the pawns are ready to revolt. Kia joins the conflict, risking everything to save her sister. As if she doesn’t already have enough to handle, Agatha, the maddeningly calm and unpredictable Select who lives life both by-the-book and off-the-cuff shows up to help, along with handsome Norio, a strong-willed desert girl with her own agenda, and a group of Salarian teens earning their rite of passage in the treacherous desert game.

What can an interpreter and former thief possibly do in the midst of all this to keep the people she loves alive? 

*Sister* “Don’t you ever worry about the future, Sharon?” *Me* “I would, sure, but Donald Trump is in charge. Thus, I assume WW3 and the nuclear apocalypse are imminent. At this point ‘planning for my future’ would be learning to drive a tank around a desolate wasteland, watching Mad Max: Fury Road 100x, and getting over my fear of cockroaches.”

*Me* “Admittedly, I haven’t planned for zombies. But I will take one thing at a time.”

Sleight - Opens April 28, 2017

Synopsis - “A young street magician (Jacob Latimore) is left to care for his little sister after their parents passing and turns to illegal activities to keep a roof over their heads. When he gets in too deep, his sister is kidnapped and he is forced to use his magic and brilliant mind to save her.”

I have to see this movie. It seems like producers and directors are starting to listen. I got my fingers crossed that this does well, like Get Out.

10

Kati Kati(2016) directed by Mbithi Masya

“Bereft of earthly memories, a new arrival in the afterlife struggles to recover the past, in this poetic fantasy that offers a dark reflection on personal atonement in the shadow of Kenya’s violent past

Imagine waking up one day in a barren wasteland. Amnesia leaves you clueless as to your whereabouts, your identity, and how you arrived. A small group of strangers welcomes you to a nearby oasis resort, and they reveal to you the nature of this new reality. You are dead. And this is the afterlife. This is what happens to Kaleche (Nyokabi Gethaiga) in the enigmatic opening sequence of Kati Kati, writer-director Mbithi Masya’s poetic first feature film.

Kaleche is a new arrival with no recollection of her life or death. A dozen other young Kenyans are all caught in the same eerie dormant state. They want for nothing; they simply write down whatever their heart desires and it appears at their bedside the next morning.

The group’s unofficial leader is Thoma (Elsaphan Njora), who is passionate about helping the dead remember and reconcile with their fragmented pasts. But Kaleche’s presence triggers a transformation in Thoma. Their mutual enchantment with each other unearths a sinister secret of his, forcing him to confront his own denial and pain.

Masya is one third of the alternative house-funk trio Just a Band, and his musical background clearly informs the film’s lyrical rhythms — to say nothing of the way the script by Masya and co-writer Mugambi Nthiga crescendoes to a climax. With echoes of Wings of Desire and After Life, Kati Kati offers a dark reflection on personal atonement in the shadow of Kenya’s past.”

If You’re Mad About Fantastic Beast’s Whitewashing of Harlem, Why Not Watch Timeless?

So, it’s a brand new time travel show on NBC; still finding it’s feet but I swear every episode has been better than the last and I’m so excited to see where it ends up. 

1. The incredibly gifted Malcolm Barrett plays Rufus. Rufus is a flawless human being. He’s sweet and smart and awkward and scared shitless but keeps trying even though he’s in way over his head. He gets at least one positively epic moment per episode. 

2. Race is brought up in every single episode, because Rufus has his own perspective on historical events and the show bothers to treat that as relevant. His white teammates, Wyatt and Lucy, are made aware of their white privilege while time traveling (for example, in the Lincoln assassination episode, Lucy is constantly reminded that the racial issues she can see in abstract terms are personal to Rufus).

3. Frequent encounters with historical POC, from Colored Regiments to Black Panthers to Shawnee chieftainess Nonhelema (god, I was so sure that episode was going to disappoint me with Scary Indians TM. Then they were like, “Nope, gonna teach you about this amazing Native woman who you never heard of and also portray her grievances with the white invaders as totally legitimate.”) The show constantly reminds us that POC were also doing things throughout history and those things were important. 

4. In modern time, all of the main cast back at base are POC. Two are WOC.

5. POC in the background. When the background is mostly white except for a few Black servants, at some point it will be pointed out that this isn’t because white people are “normal” but because segregation/discrimination was a thing. When the setting was actually diverse, they show that. Like in the Alamo episode; it had many white American and white immigrant defenders, but also some Mexicans and Blacks. Your average portrayal would completely ignore them. On Timeless, they explicitly talk about the free Blacks in Mexico. Even when Crockett or Bowie is talking, the background still has Black and Hispanic actors. 

6. I kept worrying that they’d start out well, but eventually sideline Rufus and focus on just Wyatt and Lucy, especially since they initially bond more with each other while he is very protective of them. But recent episodes have also had them fighting to save him, the whole group bonding more and Rufus consistently getting the most interesting characterization and storylines. 

In conclusion, in addition to being a fun sci-fi adventure it’s sci-fi that remembers to treat POC like a normal part of history. Please support it so it stays on air

Young Adult Books with Black Protagonists

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson

A heart-stopping story of love, death, technology, and art set amid the tropics of a futuristic Brazil.

The lush city of Palmares Tres shimmers with tech and tradition, with screaming gossip casters and practiced politicians. In the midst of this vibrant metropolis, June Costa creates art that’s sure to make her legendary. But her dreams of fame become something more when she meets Enki, the bold new Summer King. The whole city falls in love with him (including June’s best friend, Gil). But June sees more to Enki than amber eyes and a lethal samba. She sees a fellow artist.

Together, June and Enki will stage explosive, dramatic projects that Palmares Tres will never forget. They will add fuel to a growing rebellion against the government’s strict limits on new tech. And June will fall deeply, unfortunately in love with Enki. Because like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die.