Science Fiction + Social Justice


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By: Levi Dugat

Perhaps it’s because of my lifelong obsession with musicals, biographical dramas and romantic comedies that I was late on this, but I was well into my twenties before I fully grasped the power of science fiction as a social justice movement platform. Even though I had been engaged in activist communities for years at that point, it just never occurred to me that fiction could be a highly effective medium for presenting the ideals of social justice movements.

Taken out of context, the same activist ideals and principals many non-activisty folks might find off-putting, irrelevant or heavily stigmatized in their own lives, become causes they eagerly consent to stand behind emotionally. In the context of science fiction, our tendencies towards apathy are often absolved, and we’re given permission to consider the possibilities of worlds where it’s actually possible to overturn injustices and heal. I suppose the intention is that, this liberating and emotionally inspired experience you’re having in the theater, or with your nose in a book, will somehow filter back through into your real life, altering your established perspectives on what is possible in our world. That’s a pretty empowering prospect.

At the forefront of this realization for me, was trailblazing science fiction writer, and one of my favorite authors ever, Octavia Butler. When I stumbled upon the project, Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories From Social Justice Movements, I was naturally enthralled, and immediately inspired to rally support. At the helm of this project are Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha, both community organizers, educators, writers, and self-proclaimed nerds. Amidst their working to “bridge the visionary qualities of science/speculative fiction with radical community organizing practice,” Octavia’s Brood was born.

Octavia’s Brood, in itself, is an anthology of radical science and speculative fiction, written by organizers and activists. For the next few days, Brown and Imarish are wrapping up an online fundraising campaign for the project, raising money to cover design and printing costs of the book itself, as well as funds to support a national tour. While their initial goal has already been met, this highly valuable and important project can obviously use all the financial support possible.


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