getting clearer on futurist writing13 May 2017
adrienne maree brown’s outro in octavia’s brood has really helped crystallize some things for me. among them is a ton of clarification about the different types and elements of futurist storytelling. as grant and i wade through building out this alternative futures collective (af or afc) (which i’ve been thinking about a good bit), i wish i had read this excerpt first (and to be fair, someone at css told me to read octavia’s brood in 2015… i just didn’t listen. #ffs why don’t i listen?)
The elements of visionary fiction are that it: explores current social issues through the lens of sci-fi; is conscious of identity and intersecting identities; centers those who have been marginalized; is aware of power inequalities; is realistic and hard but hopeful; shows change from the bottom up rather than the top down; highlights that change is collective; and is not neutral—its purpose is social change and society transformation. The stories we tell can either reflect the society we are a part of or transform it. If we want to bring new worlds into existence, then we need to challenge the narratives that uphold current power dynamics and patterns. We call upon science fiction, fantasy, horror, magical realism, myth, and everything in between as we create and teach visionary fiction.
this actually feels like the moment for a drawing, but here’s what i’m thinking in words: visionary fiction is a type of science fiction. all science fiction is not visionary fiction. science fiction (and therefore, visionary fiction) can use “fantasy, horror, magical realism, myth, and everything in between” to do its work.
so now as i think about the afc, i’m realizing that only some of the stories are visionary fiction. i think that’s ok, but i also think i don’t want to stay there. i think visionary fiction is the goal.
i just learned about the neighborhood story project and i think i’d like to combine it with adrienne’s detroit sci-fi generator methodology. i also want to turn the afc stories into little booklets that get left at counters and coffeeshop registers and just see what happens (maybe with some social media tie-ins or something) or maybe paper cranes or other origami like aisha did here and here or like john kidenda wants to do with his african futures story competition…
ps - i’m still not sure where spectulative fiction fits in, though…
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