Red Wedges Thoughtful Review of Octavia's Brood


The relationship between speculative fiction (sf) and human liberation is perhaps not as straightforward as the old formula “science fiction is progressive, fantasy is reactionary” touted by many leftist literary critics in the past few decades, but it is nonetheless important to understand the ways in which the fantastic can illuminate our world by laying bare its contradictions and oppressive structures. Octavia’s Brood is a collection of sf writings compiled by adrienne maree brown and Walidah Imarisha which engages in a grand experiment to test this relationship by offering amateur writers — who happen to be social justice activists — the opportunity to publish original work which explicitly deals with themes of struggle and oppression. Alongside several non-fiction essays and excerpts from novels written by LeVar Burton (ofStar Trek and Reading Rainbow fame) and Terry Bisson (of the left-wing sf classic Fire on the Mountain fame), the collection represents a powerful collective project aimed at exploring the relationship between art and politics.

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