Science Fiction from Social Movements An anthology of visionary science fiction and
speculative fiction written by organizers and activists.



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Truth-Out Interview with Walidah Imarisha

'Before we began working on Octavia's Brood, adrienne [maree brown] was doing Octavia Butler emergent strategy sessions (you can read the very early strategic reader she and our Octavia's Brood contributor Alexis Pauline Gumbs created here). The idea behind the sessions was to collectively read one of Butler's books and then pull lessons that can help current movements for social change. At the same time, I was doing work around visionary fiction - the idea of fantastical fiction that can help us challenge existing power dynamics, and build new just worlds (I edited a special issue of Left Turn Magazine).

When adrienne and I got together, we realized that the principles of visionary fiction - centering those who have been marginalized; operating and imagining within a history of resistance; seeing identity and especially intersecting identities; highlighting change from the bottom up not the top down; exploring change that is collective, decentralized - were embodied so powerfully in Butler's books, and is in fact the first place in science fiction many of us saw these principles in practice. So we named the collection in honor of her, as we feel by having an anthology of sci-fi and speculative fiction written by organizers, activists and change-makers, we are continuing the lineage of visionary change of which Octavia is very much a part.'



Truth-Out Excerpts Octavia's Brood

What do activists and organizers have in common with science fiction writers? The remarkable anthology Octavia's Brood starts from the premise that both are engaged in the process of imagining a better world. Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown have collected short pieces of "visionary fiction" that include fantasy and sci-fi, comedy and horror, united by a desire to explore new ways of understanding ourselves and our world. Click here to order the book from Truthout today!

In "Kafka's Last Laugh," Puerto Rican independence activist, artist and filmmaker Vagabond imagines the next stage in the fusion of capitalism, state repression and the punitive legal system - and what could disrupt it.


Virtual Sci-Fi Writing Workshop with Soros Fellows

Co-editor adrienne maree brown recently joined the Soros Fellows via Skype to lead a Collective Sci-Fi Writing Workshop. Each of the fellows received a copy of Octavia's Brood, sponsored by the program, which brings together some of the brightest minds examining justice in the modern world. The session focused on transformative justice, looking at a magical family seeking justice after the death of the father/husband. 


We were excited to build with the Soros Fellows, and also excited to know that our workshops are possible virtually! If you have been wanting to bring us to town but unable to yet, be in touch, perhaps a virtual workshop is possible for your group!

Bao Phi 'Revolutionary Shuffle' Being Used in Schools!

Check out this amazing letter contributor Bao Phi received last week!

Dear Mr. Phi,

We are a group of 9 educators (from first grade to university) in a summer writing institute that is Michigan State University's site of the National Writing Project (Red Cedar Writing Project).  Each of the participants leads the group in a writing workshop, and today's lead, (a Birmingham [Michigan] Seaholm High School participant) led us through a lesson on writing science fiction.  He used your "Revolution Shuffle" as a primary text, and we wanted to know more about you.  We found your Loft Literary Center bio, but it didn't mention this piece.

In response to your piece, (a Okemos HS teacher) noted that the group had a productive discussion of the way in which some science fiction can spark a generative discussion of social issues.  Yours would certainly fall into this subset.

[We] chose the piece because of your heavy focus on character, and your success in developing them.

Your work inspired us all.

Thank you for responding!

Cincinnati Library has Octavia's Brood and you can too!

Cincinnati Library is now carrying Octavia's Brood!!

Make sure to request it at your local library.

If you're in Cincinnati, check it out here : http://catalog.cincinnatilibrary.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb3052494?lang=eng&suite=cobalt

Briarpatch Review of Octavia's Brood

More than merely a “best of” collection, the anthology is a manual for organizing and resisting colonization – territorial occupation as well as what anti-colonial theorist Frantz Fanon described as internal colonization “created by the death and burial of … local cultural originality.” Fanon’s response, in 1952, was to determine his own potential rather than seek recognition from the colonial state: “I am not a prisoner of history,” he wrote in Black Skin, White Masks. “I shall not seek there for the meaning of my destiny.” Twenty years later, Octavia Butler sought not only meaning but also a sense of futurity in sci-fi. And Imarisha, in turn, hopes to achieve this futurity by “decolonizing the imagination.” She and brown explicitly avoid neutrality in this collection, while tacitly refusing recognition from the Western canon with the same determination that drives the characters in Octavia’s Brood. Notably, brown’s “Outro” also encourages us to “bring the work off the page” through emergent strategies of resistance and self-determination. 

Read the full review:


Watch co-editor Walidah Imarisha's graduation keynote

Octavia's Brood co-editor Walidah Imarisha delivered this keynote entitled "Sankofa, Survival and Science Fiction" at the Portland State University Multicultural Graduation Speech, June 12, 2015 in Portland, Oregon - watch the video.

Gabriel Teodros and Walidah Imarisha on Sci-Fi, Social Justice and the Radical Imagination


  1. Science Fiction, Social Justice, and the Radical Imagination

    Walidah Imarisha and Gabriel Teodros, with a special video discussion from Mumia Abu Jamal, examine the ways in which visionary science and fantasy fiction can inspire the radical imagination to envision the features of a socially just world.

    They discuss and read from the new edited collection “Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements” (AK Press - [http://www.akpress.org/octavia-s-brood.html]) which seeks to demonstrate a connection between speculative writing and movements for transformative social change.  

    This event was sponsored by the Anarres Project for Alternative Futures [http://anarresproject.org/] and the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion. [http://liberalarts.oregonstate.edu/shpr]


The Only Fiction Recommendation from Moe's Books, in SF Chronicle

'Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories From Social Justice Movements, edited by Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha: This collection, inspired by the writings of Octavia Butler, features almost three dozen stories that exhibit the natural affinity between writing speculative fiction and reflecting on the means of making a better world.'

Check out the list here:


Equal Time for Free Thought (radio)

'As many may already know, science fiction and speculative fiction in general can investigate and articulate the state of our nation and/or world in very direct but also metaphorical ways. We have talked about Star Trek, for instance, on Equal Time and how Gene Roddenberry was able to discuss humanism and naturalism via the small and large screen. And there have been many novels and short stories since at least the late 19th Century which have done the same.'

Check out the interview here: 


Octavia's Brood Tour Completes on Octavia's Birthday!!

We dreamed of an incredible 10-city tour for Octavia's Brood. We asked y'all to support this book getting out into the world, and you did so, helping us to book a vast and fantastic tour.
Starting in Chicago at the incredible INCITE Color of Violence gathering, and ending this past weekend with a smorgasbord of gorgeous workshops and a massive sold-out reading at the Allied Media Conference where we incubated this project for years, we have now pulled out 47 events in 22 cities!!

Nerdbrarian Reads Us For The Hugo Awards!


octavias_brood_postcard_front_final_revOn the short-story front, I’ve also been reading through the anthology Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements, which I originally encountered via BoingBoing. The majority of the featured authors hadn’t been published before in the genre and yet managed to produce some real quality speculative fiction. My favorite short stories included Bao Phi’s clever take on the zombie genre, “Revolution Shuffle,” and Morrigan Phillips’ dystopian tale about state power and the control of history, “The Long Memory.”


Read the rest here: http://www.nerdbrarian.com/2015/06/reading-for-the-hugos-2016/

'in search of our better selves' blog LOVES Octavia's Brood


Every once in a while, you come across a book that seems too good to be true. A book that almost feels like it couldn’t exist, like it’s too good for this world. Almost as if the existence of the book itself is science fiction, not real life.

I came across such a book this week. It’s called Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories From Social Justice Movements.

Read the rest here: https://insearchofourbetterselves.wordpress.com/tag/octavias-brood/

Octavia's Brood Set to Rock the AMC!!

Thursday, June 18 
Friday, June 19
9:00am - 10:30am
Moving Grief Through the Body
Grief lives in our bodies, long after what we grieve has moved on. It shapes us. This session will draw on tools including Octavia Butler's Earthseed, theater, dance, and somatics. We will learn more about how grief works in our bodies and how we can reshape our grief. Participants will build more space inside of ourselves for embracing our feelings and transforming our grief into gratitude, possibility, and wisdom.
- adrienne maree brown
11:00am - 12:30pm
Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute
Learn tools to apply emergent strategy to your organization/group work. Emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of relatively simple interactions. We will look at how to align our movement work with emergence principles. Participants will walk away with tools they can apply immediately to increase adaptation, resilience and possibility in their movement work!
- adrienne maree brown
4:00pm - 5:30pm
Holding Space: Anti-Oppressive Facilitation
How can facilitators hold space for gatherings that are truly anti-oppressive? Join us as we explore strategies for facilitation that center the needs of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people, disabled people, LGBTQ+ people, survivors, and other marginalized communities. Drawing on knowledge in the room, we will explore how words, structures, technologies, and activities can build solidarity and safety in group settings. We will deepen our existing skills and leave with shiny, effective new tools for liberatory facilitation. 
- autumn brown
4:00pm - 5:30pm
For nine years, Mangos with Chili has dreamed liberatory QTPOC performance art into life. As we prepare to transition our organization, join us to hear stories about lessons learned along the way – about power, leadership, art, grief, conflict, culture-making and liberation song. Through video presentation, conversation with Cherry and Leah, and a fishbowl discussion, participants will explore the nitty gritty learnings and grief work of QTPOC performance making and cultural organization building.
- leah lakshmi piepzna-samarasinha
Saturday, June 20 
9:00am - 10:30am
Nonprofit Trauma: Transforming Harm
After experiencing work-related trauma, we are told that we cannot tell our stories for fear of becoming “unhirable.” How do we find healing when our traumas are ignored? In this workshop we explore storytelling as survival, and how strategic story-sharing enables us to change the way nonprofits function and the way harms are handled. Utilizing drama therapy, participants will have the opportunity to embody their stories and collectively generate strategies for turning their stories into resources for transformation.
- autumn brown
Liberation for Divination in HJPS - listed under the skillshare tab in the Healers Schedule
4:00pm - 5:30pm
The People's Encyclopedia 2070
How do we keep track of our vision for the better world we are working towards? The People's Encyclopedia 2070 is a web-based tool to build our collective vision for what today means for tomorrow. Participants will get to work independently and in groups to write their own entries, engage in collective visioning and contribute to the growing People's Encyclopedia of 2070. - walidah imarisha and morrigan phillips 
4:00pm - 5:30pm
Surviving the Mic: Making Safe Creative Space
The consequences of trauma can echo throughout the lifetime of a survivor. Creativity captures that echo, helping survivor artists shape the sound of their healing. We will explore our experience with Surviving the Mic, a collaborative organization creating safe and affirming creative spaces for survivors of trauma. Participants will learn how we have impacted the way that other creative spaces now welcome the voices and vision of survivor artists. Participants will walk away with a model for how to build their own safe creative spaces. - tara betts 
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Book Release and Signing Event for Octavia’s Brood
Cass Commons (Corner of Cass and Forrest)
Join Octavia's Brood to celebrate the five year journey that culminated in this year's publishing of the anthology of original science fiction from social justice movements, which is already in its second printing! We'll have a delicious local meal, readings and music! Hosts include adrienne maree brown, Walidah Imarisha, Autumn Brown, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Morrigan Phillips, Tunde Olaniran and Dani McClain 

Catered by Ora Wise. Dinner is $15.00. 

Buy tickets here: https://store.alliedmedia.org/octavia-s-brood-book-release-and-signing-event 

We're in The Nation!

OPB Interview with the Co-editors! (radio)

From Ursula Le Guin to George Lucas, science fiction has always celebrated imagination’s power to re-shape society.

Now, there’s a brand-new anthology of science fiction stories with social justice and politics at their heart. It’s called Octavia’s Brood, (the title is a nod to the fantastically imaginative Octavia Butler, who gracefully brought a diverse range of social issues into her fiction). Portland author and organizer Walidah Imarisha and Detroit writer adrienne maree brown teamed up to write and edit stories for the book. We sat down with Imarisha and brown to ask how they came to science fiction, and where they hope it can take us. 

Hear the interview here: http://www.opb.org/radio/article/science-fiction-meets-social-justice-in-octavias-brood/

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