Sunday Livin’: Searching for RWOC Speculative Fiction

*breathes in deep*  *looks around*

This isn’t the world I remember.  It smells…toxic.  Noxious.  What is going on here?

No matter.

I’ve decided to build an army.  No, not a harem.  An army.  We will fight with brown gold and yellow jade and ride black unicorns.  We will make magick and cross worlds.

And I’m recruiting.

That shooting star up there?  That’s me, skipping across the digi-verse, looking for womyn and gyrls of color who are making radical womyn of color art.

Like Andrea Hairston:

Hairston’s newest book, Redwood & Wildfire is out. 

Redwood & Wildfire is a novel of what might have been. At the turn of the 20th century, minstrel shows transform into vaudeville, which slides into moving pictures. Hunkering together in dark theatres, diverse audiences marvel at flickering images. This ”dreaming in public” becomes common culture and part of what transforms immigrants and ”native” born into Americans. Redwood, an African American woman, and Aidan, a Seminole Irish man, journey from Georgia to Chicago, from haunted swampland to a ”city of the future.” Gifted performers and hoodoo conjurors, they struggle to call up the wondrous world they imagine, not just on stage and screen, but on city streets, in front parlours, in wounded hearts. The power of hoodoo is the power of the community that believes in its capacities to heal and determine the course of today and tomorrow. Living in a system stacked against them, Redwood and Aidan s power and talent are torment and joy. Their search for a place to be who they want to be is an exhilarating, painful, magical adventure. Blues singers, filmmakers, haints, healers.

Her first novel, Mindscape, opened me up and led me on a tour around the stars.

Then there’s Malinda Lo.  Her Huntress bespells me:

And yep, she’s gay and out about the pleasures and perils of writing young adult queer characters of color:

This past weekend I left my house in the country and spent two days San Francisco to celebrate Pride. This year Pride felt especially special because, well, this is the first year in a long time in which I don’t live in a major metropolitan area where there are tons of gay people. I am enjoying the small town I live in, but it’s not within walking distance of the Castro. Small-town life is just an entirely different experience from walking down the street and spotting half a dozen dykes with lovely tattoos peeking out of their T-shirt sleeves and/or a gaggle of gay boys with perfectly coiffed haircuts.

So. Pride. It felt good to be among the queer folks again. It was comfortable. Practically everybody I saw was gay; they all probably assumed I’m gay — we had a gay old time.

It was basically the opposite of what I’ve had to do more and more this year: come out to total strangers. I know that I’m going to have to continue to do this as Ash is published and I meet more people, who don’t know me, in non-gay settings like bookstores or conferences. I’ve already had to do this a lot this year, and so far, it hasn’t gotten any more fun. Let me show you what typically happens:


Me: Hi, I’m Malinda.
Person I Just Met: Hi! Are you a writer?
Me: Yes. My book, Ash, comes out in September.
PIJM: Oh! What’s it about?
Me (steeling myself): It’s a lesbian retelling of Cinderella.

[Note: I could leave the lesbian part out, but really, that’s why my book is different. And somehow that will come out anyway, while the person asks me how my retelling differs from the original tale. It’s better, I’ve concluded, to just shove Ash out of the closet right away.]

Read the rest here.

And Nnedi Okorafor doesn’t fear death:

In a post-apocalyptic Africa, the world has changed in many ways, yet in one region genocide between tribes still bloodies the land. After years of enslaving the Okeke people, the Nuru tribe has decided to follow the Great Book and exterminate the Okeke tribe for good. An Okeke woman who has survived the annihilation of her village and a terrible rape by an enemy gen-eral wanders into the desert hoping to die. Instead, she gives birth to an angry baby girl with hair and skin the color of sand. Gripped by the certainty that her daughter is different—special—she names her child Onyesonwu, which means ―Who Fears Death? in an ancient tongue.

The book won several awards and is being turned into a film.  At the helm of Who Fears Death? (the movie) is Kenyan director Wanuri Kahiu, who may be best known for her mind-blowing short film, Pumzi (trailer below):

Hoodoo, hunting and hope.  Who want war?

Which radical womyn of color are writing, creating or critiquing science fiction & fantasy today?

Who do you read & recommend?


The Sable Fan Gyrl


The Sable Fan Gyrl joins Kismet Nuñez is one of the Skillsharers of the of the 3rd Annual INCITE! Shawty Got Skillz workshop at the 2011 Allied Media Conference!  Help us get to Detroit!  Click here!  


2 thoughts on “Sunday Livin’: Searching for RWOC Speculative Fiction

  1. @sumayyahtalibah: So…I LOVE N. K. Jemisin. I love her writing and her world-building; the way that she sticks to the basics in her narrative but conveys so much back story that you are just itching to read the behind the scenes script. I wrote about her very briefly here but I am on pins and needles waiting for her third book to drop. And I had no idea she’d written so much until I wrote this post and found her name on the Carl Brandon Society blog.

    Great suggestion! Thanks for passing it on.

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