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



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How Are You Using Octavia's Brood?

We've started hearing amazing things from people doing book groups, sacred readings and study groups around the book. We want to know - how are you using it? Tell us on Twitter, Facebook or post pics of it to our Instagram!

Celebrating the Black Fantastic (adrienne maree writes from the road)

This past week has been an explosion of black science fictional brilliance, and I want to share it with y'all, these are models of how to use Octavia's Brood to catalyze and deepen local movement work.

First, in Boston, we had two days of Black to the Future, hosted by Intelligent Mischief.

The first day was an afternoon training on Emergent Strategy. You may be a mercury retrograde denier, but that can't stop a day of mishaps like this one, and still, people showed up hungry to engage the ideas. The circle was small and the training adapted to work for the people in the room. Each emergent strategy training is an opportunity to keeping adding flesh to the skeleton of concepts - in preparing for this training I realized something very simple that I hadn't quite articulated before - emergent strategies are strategies for being. Strategy is usually associated with doing, and I am realizing that what I'm focused on is how humans are. Science fiction is one place to discuss that together without the usual limitations.

The next evening started with a reading from Octavia's Brood where I read with the delightful Morrigan Phillips, whose incredible fantastical analysis of Guantanamo Bay sits at the heart of the anthology.

Following that was a panel of local artists, activists, theorists and cooperative entrepreneurs. I told them this and it's true: my jaw was on the floor most of the time. I do love to be dazzled by black brilliance. A lot of what was shared was context-exploding - do you think you're in a small world where you know the rules? You aren't, you don't, expand.

Kenny Bailey from Design Studio for Innovation questioned the idea that concepts we now accept as a right or given, including justice and race, may be outdated one day, and can we imagine that, and who we will be in that future?

Terry Marshall from Intelligent Mischief reminded us that so many are currently dying, being shot down, because in the white imagination we are dangerous.

Moya Bailey shared that in her vision of justice in the future we would all relate to each other in very different ways - attending and listening to each other, changing together from the root.

I shared that I'm longing for a future where there are no enemies. To black children, to black people, to anyone. Otherwise we are just rearranging blood.

After the panel there was a period of what I can only call black delight in the 'green room' of the SEIU building, using what we'd heard to weave ourselves together.

A couple of days later the Black Futures Fest began in New Orleans, hosted by the Wildseeds, a circle of artists, organizers, and healers working in the lineage of Octavia Butler. There was a similar sense of wonder.

Walidah and I arrived into the costume party evening. I dressed as smitten kitten because I actually travel with head to toe leopard print gear and the only other option was Jersey Shore extra. Walidah dressed as her character Black Angel, and she was 'more terrible' than anyone could have imagined, with an actual burnt wing and all leather everything.

This fest featured incredible local artists, one after another, voices to break and heal the heart. Standouts for me were Monica McIntyre, Charm, and Michaela Harris. There was also a trio of gender queer vocalists who have been touring together and offered an incredibly emotional set.

I got to offer an emergent strategy session and Walidah led a sci fi and direct action training. We also got to take in incredible sessions including writer-thinker Rasheedah Philips teaching us about afrofuturism and time travel!

The great honor of the event was getting to do a talk and reading with Kalamu ya Salaam, an Octavia's Brood local contributor and incredible accomplished writer. He was deeply generous, encouraging us to keep growing this field of work, uplifting the warrior work of women.

This practice of using Octavia's Brood to catalyze celebration of the Black fantastic yields such generative and healing space. We are growing black futures! Feeling very grateful to all of the hosts and humans embodying their dreams in action.

Ms. Magazine Names Octavia's Brood in 'Great Reads for Spring 2015'!

From print magazine:

"Speculative-fiction writers and social-justice advocates have similar visions: Both strive to create a world vastly different from the one we inhabit. That's the premise behind Octavia's Brood, in which 20 writer-activists come together to 'write themselves into the future.' This stirring tribute to the late black sci-fi writer Octavia Butler inserts the narratives of marginalized peoples into the genre of superheroes, zombies and time travelers."


Feeding the Philanthropic Imagination (from Pia Infante)

From The Whitman Institute Blog:

'Yesterday, I picked up a copy of Octavia’s Brood, which is an anthology of science fiction stories by amateur writers who happen to be seasoned activists for social change. I’ve been carrying one of its premises in my heart since I read the introduction: those working to bring about social, political, and economic equity are imagining new narratives to carry the whole of us forward. 


With that as inspiration, I do not want to blog today about my quibbles with traditional philanthropy in the U.S. In the vein of lifting up new narratives, I want to point out a couple of creative catalysts in the field – Open Road Alliance and Kindle Project.'

Read the rest: http://thewhitmaninstitute.org/twi-blog/feeding-philanthropys-imagination/


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.

Read the rest here: http://www.redwedgemagazine.com/reviews/from-fantasy-to-collective-action

NY Journal of Books Reviews Octavia's Brood

'Octavia’s Brood is an intriguing collection. The stories are meant to be thought-provoking and they do indeed lead one to imagine our future should we stay our current course. Mumia Abu-Jamal’s essay, “Star Wars and the American Imagination,” helps to make connections between themes in the stories and science fiction in general and societal concerns. This is a collection that offers much for anyone concerned about the state of our world.' - See more at: http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/octavias


Black Nerd Problems Reviews Octavia's Brood

'These writers and their characters are consciously Octavia’s descendants, and for my part I think Butler would be damn proud. Every story has at its core a revolution, a revolution for people of color, for the poor, the physically disabled, the mentally ill, and others of us who land at intersections of all of the above. Many of the authors are themselves first-time writers, coming from backgrounds in social justice advocacy and the like. This makes for a book that takes the importance of diverse books as an assumption and that utterly crushes any remnants of the centrality of white, able-bodied, CIS-gendered males in speculative fiction.'

Read the full review here: http://blacknerdproblems.com/site/octavias-brood-delivers-with-visions-of-the-afro-future/

Compiled Octavia's Brood Poem

A poem compiled by Professor Francesca T. Royster, who is the DePaul University's English Department Chair, of lines from Octavia's Brood.


Emerging Strategies

By Francesca T. Royster


“all that you touch you change” (Octavia Butler)

[this book] a shooting star (Sojourner Truth)

envision a world without war, without violence, without prison, without capitalism (Imarisha)


a messy plate of nachos…Pho (Phi)

a slender fish, oil on its scales … it was a hungry time (adrienne maree brown)

Zombies/ targeted communities (Phi)

The smell of mass-incarcerated flesh (Phi)

Her AK-47 (Phi)

Revolution? (Phi)


“Them white folks ain’t gonna take too kindly to a colored boy with superpowers.” (Walker)

They’d killed Martin, Malcom, Medgar, and so many others. (Walker)

All kinds of sparkling souls been weighted down all the way into the mud  (adrienne maree brown)

Bodies by the only overnight shelter, bodies in the fake downtown garden sponsored by coca-cola, bodies in potholes on streets strung with christmas lights because the broke city turned off the streetlights. (adrienne maree brown)

She wasn’t much on politics, but she hated  the shifts in the city, the way it was fading as it filled with people who didn’t know how to see it…Detroit. (adrienne maree brown)


The authorities were already here….No one was coming to help. (Imarisha)

The mother began scratching and biting the agent with all her might… The little girl ran to a dumpster and hid. (Imarisha)

The long memory…. We have a history between us (Phillips)

Listen! (Garcia)


A single guttural cry, and I force my body onto my feet, positioning the pack between my legs, assume a warrior stance. (Autumn Brown)

Mama, why do you keep saying “where are our sons?” when you are sleeping? (Garcia)


A crown or a veil. (Betts)

You’ve been alone. That’s over. We have too much to do. (Olaniran)

That very night O prepared her birds for flight. (Garcia)


Sent from the space world (Anderson)

She experiences it as peacock feathers, azure breath, the ghost of a word” (Piepzna-Samarasinha)


You remember that justice is no longer punishment. You affirm that the time of crime was an era of refused understanding and stunted evolution. We believe now in the experience of brilliance on the scale of the intergalactic tribe. (Gumbs)


Pattern, change, emerging strategy (Due/adrienne maree brown)


Cool clean waterfalls cascading down into cool green valleys, his mother’s hands cool on his hot forehead, the beauty of a grove of olive trees bright in the sunshine, his whole family, even the ones murdered and lost, gathered arm in arm. Peace. (Imarisha)

Breathe deep, beloved young and frightened self, and then let go. And then you will hold on. So then let go again.” (Gumbs)


Once the imagination is unshackled, liberation is limitless (Imarisha)

Bitch Reads Review

Powells Books and Bitch Magazine collaborate on Bitch Reads, a quarterly collaboration to bring the books lifted up by Bitch Magazine to readers. Check out the review here!

Blavity: Octavia's Brood and other Science Fiction from Black Female Authors

"Now more than ever, it is important for Black writers to imagine a world in which there are circumstances better than those we have in front of us. It can be a way to help move us forward and develop ways to revise the world around us.Octavia’s Brood is “the first anthology of short stories to explore the connections between radical speculative fiction and movements for social change.” There are other authors who are producing similar work through their writing. Read more about them below and get into their work. After all, reading is fundamental."

Read the full piece here!

BookRiot names Octavia's Brood one of 5 must read books for April

'Though Octavia Butler’s name doesn’t seem to come up nearly as often as Asimov’s, Card’s, or Atwood’s, her mark on speculative fiction is pronounced. In homage to her, editors Imarisha and brown put together a collection of speculative fiction to honor Butler and expand our ideas of how imagination interacts with the political. Ruha Benjamin from Princeton University calls it “[O]ne part sacred text, one part social movement manual, one part diary of our future selves telling us, ‘It’s going to be okay, keep working, keep loving.’”'

Check out the list here: http://bookriot.com/2015/04/23/5-small-press-books-read-april/

Are Hugo Awards Biased Against White Male Heterosexuals?

'Whether in her time-travel novel Kindred, her vampire novel Fledgling or her alien-invasion Xenogenesis trilogy, Butler’s work deftly explores race, gender and sexuality, and it continues to find new generations of fans. Now, she’s being honoured again with Octavia’s Brood, a new collection of “science-fiction stories from social justice movements” that celebrates both her wild imagination and her unwavering committment to social justice. Each of the stories in this new paperback is, says its anarchic publisher AK Press, “an attempt to inject a healthy dose of imagination and innovation into our political practice and to try on new ways of understanding ourselves, the world around us, and all the selves and worlds that could be.”'

Read the rest here: http://www.m.dailyxtra.com/node/102588

why philly was all that (amb checks in from the road)

'each event brought out different kinds of people who are interested in the juxtaposition of sci fi and social justice. some want to be read to, introduced to the ideas, discuss them. others really want to engage and start applying them in writing and direct action and emergent strategy workshops. others still want to be in their bodies in an alternate universe for a while.'

Walidah Imarisha & adrienne maree brown & Mumia Abu Jamal on GritTV

Many people know of Mumia Abu-Jamal as a journalist and political prisoner. But did you know he’s also a Star Trek fan? That’s one of the many revelations in the new book Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements, a collection of visionary fiction from Walidah Imarisha and Adrienne Maree Brown. Adrienne Maree Brown is a writer, organizational healer, facilitator, pleasure activist, and Science Fiction scholar, among many other roles. Walidah Imarisha is an educator, writer, organizer, filmmaker, spoken word artist, prison abolitionist and activist. In addition to editing Octavia’s Brood, she has written two books of poetry, Scars/Stars and the upcoming Angels with Dirty Faces: Dreaming Beyond Bars. They explain that for them, social change and science fiction are the same thing. Also in this episode: journalist and US political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal calls in from a prison in Pennsylvania and talks about what the film Star Wars has to say about US empire.

Listen here!

adrienne maree brown and Walidah Imarisha join Marie Choi on KPFA's Up Front

"The new anthology, Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements is out this month.  Named for visionary sci-fi writer Octavia Butler, this anthology illuminates the challenges we face today and pushes us to imagine the possibilities for liberation. Guests:

    Walidah Imarisha, co-editor Octavia’s BroodAdrienne Maree Brown, co-editor Octavia’s Brood


Adrienne Maree Brown will be facilitating a dialogue on science fiction and social justice at the Oakland Release of Octavia’s Brood – this Wednesday, April 22, 6pm-7:30pm at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland – 559 14th Street Oakland.  Octavia’s Brood is available at AK Press.  You can follow their national tour online."

Listen here!

adrienne maree brown and Tunde Olaniran discuss the Detroit Release with NPR

"We have authors who are not only envisioning, but they're doing the work to build a different future or to build their version of justice, their version of equity, their version of love in a world that is safe for them," says Flint performance artist Tunde Olaniran, who authored one of the stories in the anthology.

The collection hopes to explore how movement-building in social activism is different from the singular hero saving the day, as seen in most mainstream sci-fi and often portrayed in news coverage of activism within the real world.

Listen/read more here!

adrienne maree brown with the Black Tribbles (Philly)

The Black Tribbles are an incredibly fun collective of black sci-fi thinkers in Philly. AMB was inducted in this amaing podcast. 

"The speculative fiction compilation OCTAVIA'S BROOD has carried the Afrofuturist movement to new literary heights with its showcase of the social justice agenda inherent in many of its writing. Editor ADRIENNE MAREE BROWN divulges the backstory of its creation, the torch the book carries from its Octavia Butler inspiration and its searing piece on Star Wars Imperialism from Mumia Abu Jamal."

Listen here!


Our Barnes & Noble Review!!

Barnes & Noble loves the collection!!

"This powerful collection of “visionary fiction” (a term meant to represent sci-fi, fantasy, magical realism, and horror) was inspired by the work of the revered SF/F master Octavia Butler, and seeks to explore the connection between fantastical writing and real-world movements for social change. In these stories, unnatural occurrences reflect social ills and injustice, as in “The River,” by the collection’s co-editor Adrienne Marie Brown, in which the Detroit River comes to embody the violence of gentrification and displacement that has been visited upon the residents of the city. Including essays by Tananarive Due and Mumia Abu-Jamal, a roster of exciting new writers, and a few familiar names (including LeVar Burton and Terry Bisson), this is a vital, visceral, and essential collection."

Check out the full SF/F round-up here!

adrienne maree brown on the Marc Steiner Show

"Science Fiction and Social Justice. With: adrienne maree brown, Kresge Literary Arts Fellow, blogger at The Luscious Satyagraha, and co-Editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories From Social Justice Activists; and Dr. Lester Spence, Center for Emerging Media Scholar-In-Residence and Associate Professor of Political Science and Africana Studies at Johns Hopkins University."

Listen here!

Full Stop Review of Octavia's Brood

"While some of the stories in Octavia’s Brood ask us to indulge ourselves by imagining the best and most inspiring, peaceful futures possible for ourselves and for each other, others insist that progress is a difficult and downright dirty process. As much as they beg conversation from the reader, they are too in conversation with each other about how best to achieve the highest successes for the largest percentage of the downtrodden. However they may or may not contradict each other, they are bound together in their resistance to marginalization, exploitation, and destruction."

Read the full review here!

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