Can science fiction be a form of social activism? Walidah Imarisha thinks so, and she's recruited everyone from LeVar Burton to Mumia Abu-Jamal to help her prove it.Read the whole thing. I’m surprised Hudson even felt the need to ask the question. Of course SF—and every other form of fiction—can cause social change. Authors incorporate propositions into their narratives, and when audiences engage with stories, sometimes they come away more than just entertained. To claim otherwise is to deny the power of an art form that has existed for millennia. A better question to ask, I suspect, is to what extent authors should wear their convictions on their sleeves. As the recent hullaballoo over the Hugos has proven, ideological tensions have stretched the field nigh to breaking. I understand the idea of market segmentation, of appealing to the parts of an audience with which you share common ground. But I also suspect that the subtitle alone of Octavia's Brood is enough to disenchant plenty of potential readers. For civility’s sake, perhaps science fiction scribes ought to emphasize the fundamentals. Focusing on storytelling skill, universal human experience, and readerly enjoyment carried the greats; I bet they’d do the same for authors today.
"Whenever we try to envision a world without war, without violence, without prisons, without capitalism, we are engaging in an exercise of speculative fiction," writes Imarisha in Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements, an anthology of short sci-fi stories co-edited by her and Adrienne Maree Brown. "Organizers and activists dedicate their lives to creating and envisioning another world, or many other worlds, so what better venue for organizers to explore their work than through writing science fiction stories?"
(Picture: CC 2010 by colin)