Huge question! Big! Huge! And really hard to answer in the space of just one blog. I guess it’s a good thing that I have a bunch of other folks writing about this with me.
I have written a couple of other blogs around this topic in the last few months (see here and here) and I guess I come down on the side that this is an amazing time full of great potential for black fantasy/sci-fi/spec fic writers. There have never been more opportunities or more mediums through which writers in the genre can find their audience and there has never been a time when more black folks have proudly proclaimed their love of the genre. In the best of all possible worlds, these two groups find each other and the genre explodes. In some ways, I think that making that connection is the most important thing about this moment for both writers and readers alike. The potential for black sci-fi to become visible in unprecedented ways, through readership and support, rests in us finding each other.
What, for instance, would happen if everyone that read Harry Potter picked up my book? What would happen if everyone who loves The Hunger Games, or stood in line at midnight for Breaking Dawn: Part I, was to pick up Alicia McCalla’s Breaking Free or Wendy McNair’s Asleep. If that happened, we would have more best-selling black spec-fic writers overnight. Think what that would mean. Folks would have to sit up and pay attention to the both audiences and authors in a way that they do not now (even critical acclaim for authors like Nnedi Okorafor does not necessarily translate into commercial success). Because of the changes in the industry and the new mediums that are available, this is not only a distinct possibility, but a reality that is not difficulty to achieve at all.
Increased visibility is really important a few of reasons. First, black spec fic writers have interesting and unique stories to contribute to the pantheon of speculative tales. Second, it benefits everyone to have access to the diverse worlds and visions represented in the writing of black sci-fi authors. Finally, only by inscribing our stories indelibly in the larger pantheon can we dispel once and for all the misconceptions about those of us who write and create in this genre and open the genre up for more contributions by people of color.
So to sum it up, I think that Black Sci-Fi stands on the cusp of a previously unparalleled popularity. More writers are embracing this genre and using all available mediums to make their work available to potential audiences. It rests with the readers of carry it the rest of the way up the mountain. Where there is a will, there is a way–as they say. But you don’t have to take my word for it: check out what these other folks think…
Milton Davis, Author – Milton Davis is owner/publisher of MVmedia, LLC . As an author he specializes in science fiction and fantasy and is the author of Meji Book One, Meji Book Two and Changa’s Safari. Visit him: www.mvmediaatl.com and www.wagadu.ning.com.
Margaret Fieland, Author– lives and writes in the suburbs west of Boston, MA with her partner and five dogs. She is one of the Poetic Muselings. Their poetry anthology, Lifelines http://tinyurl.com/LifelinesPoetry/ is available from Amazon.com Her book, “Relocated,” will be available from MuseItUp Publishing in July, 2012. The Angry Little Boy,” will be published by 4RV publishing in early 2013. You may visit her website, http://www.margaretfieland.com.
Valjeanne Jeffers, Author — is an editor and the author of the SF/fantasy novels: Immortal, Immortal II: The Time of Legend and Immortal III: Stealer of Souls. Her fourth and fifth novels: Immortal IV: Collision of Worlds and The Switch: Clockwork will be released this spring. Visit her at: http://valjeanne.wordpress.com and http://qandvaffordableediting.blogspot.com/
Alicia McCalla, Author- writes for both young adults and adults with her brand of multicultural science fiction, urban fantasy, and futurism. Her debut novel, Breaking Free will be available February 1, 2012. The Breaking Free theme song created by Asante McCalla is available for immediate download on itunes and Amazon. Visit her at: http://www.aliciamccalla.com
Carole McDonnell, Author–She writes Christian, speculative fiction, and multicultural stories. Her first novel is Wind Follower. Her short fiction has appeared in many anthologies and have been collected in an ebook, Spirit Fruit: Collected Speculative Fiction. Visit Carole: http://carolemcdonnell.blogspot.com/ or http://writersofcolorblogtour.blogspot.com/
Rasheedah Phillips,Author–is the creator of The AfroFuturist Affair in Philly. She plans to debut her first spec/sci-fic novel Recurrence Plot in Spring 2012. You may catch her ruminating from time to time on her blog, AstroMythoLosophy.com.
Nicole Sconiers, Author-is also a screenwriter living in the sunny jungle of L.A. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, and she recently published Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage. Visit her: http://nicolesconiers.com/index.html
Jarvis Sheffield, M.Ed. is owner & operator of TheDigitalBrothers.com, BlackScienceFictionSociety.com & BlackCommunityEntertainment.com. Visit him: http://www.blacksciencefictionsociety.com/profiles/blog/list?user=2stjwb1h216fd