When I was a child speculative fiction taught me to dream with my eyes open and to let go of my life, if only for twenty minutes at a time. To lose myself in the pages of a comic book, were welcome breaks from the “real world”. But in reading the comics like the Justice League or Actions Comics, I found a whole new world. A world, while fraught with villains and dangers, was a much more fair world, where the good guys always won in the end. Growing up in the 1960’s, a decade of war, assassinations and racial discrimination, speculative fiction was a welcome alternative reality.
My brothers and I would create our own heroes and act out stories that I made up. Without even knowing it, I’d taken on the role of Game Master for our after school activities. I would dream all day long about the adventures and story lines we would act out after school. In fact, my daydreaming sometimes got in the way of me doing my class work.
I can remember going into character to act out some of the roles, such as speaking like a baby for two of our all so original characters, Amazing Baby and Super Baby. Thankfully, I’ve forgotten some of the more embarrassing roles I played. But I do remember the feeling of dreaming as we acted out the scenes. We became those heroes.
As I got a little older, I began to weave speculative fiction into every creative writing assignment I got. In the sixth grade we were asked to write a short story. Well, of course my story had to be out there, literally. I don’t recall the whole story, but I do recall that in the final scene my hero escaped from Titan, a moon of Jupiter, just as it was exploding and he had to use his ion engines to avoid the gobs of matter being flung from the dying world beneath him. My English teacher was quite impressed. I was more impressed that she could actually read my handwriting.
I think speculative fiction taught me many other lessons as well. Those stories helped to reinforce in me a never quit attitude. Those stories also helped to teach me, that sometimes you have to walk alone in life to do what’s right. But perhaps the most important thing speculative fiction gave me was a sense of wonder. And though many things have changed throughout the years, that sense of wonder has remained with me and it is truly a wonderful thing.
Note: Please consider joining me at:
State of Black Science Fiction Youth Symposium, which takes place in Atlanta, GA on May 5, 2012.
This exciting symposium brings together a group of Black authors of speculative fiction – in conjunction with the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History – who will host the day-long event, which spotlights science fiction and fantasy as a signature intersection of science, history, technology, and humanistic studies. This symposium will serve as the blueprint for a national conference.
The symposium will feature scholarly panel discussions involving authors and artists of African descent who will showcase their involvement in their respective genres and subgenres of fantasy and science fiction across various media, as it relates to issues of cultural, scientific and technical development.
The symposium will also feature a writers’ workshop, a presentation by young writers from African-Centered schools throughout Atlanta Metro and readings by authors L.M. Davis, Milton Davis, Alan Jones, Alicia McCalla, Wendy Raven McNair, Balogun Ojetade and moderator Ed Hall.
The schedule is as follows:
11:00 am – 1:00 pm: Youth Speculative Fiction Writers’ Workshop
1:00 pm – 2:30 pm: Youth Presentation
2:30 pm – 3:00 pm: Lunch
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm: State of Black Science Fiction 2012 Presentation
4:30 pm – 5:30 pm: Artist and Author Meet-and-Greet and Book Signing
Check out my fellow writers and read what speculative fiction has taught them:
Ed Hall – Alabama escapee Ed Hall writes journalism, poetry, and fiction. He serves as host of Eyedrum’s monthly literary forum, Writers Exchange, and as an organizer of Eyedrum’s annual Experimental Writers Asylum (which is part of the Decatur Book Festival). His work has appeared in Newsweek, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Code Z: Black Visual Culture Now, and the Dictionary of Literary Biography. He plans to have his first novel, a sf-pionage story for young adults, come out soon.
L.M. Davis – L. M. Davis, Author–began her love affair with fantasy in the second grade. Her first novel, Interlopers: A Shifters Novel, was released in 2010, and the follow-up Posers: A Shifters Novel will be released this spring. For more information visit her blog http://shiftersseries.wordpress.com/ or her website www.shiftersnovelseries.com.
Alan Jones – Alan Jones, a native Atlantan, former columnist for the Atlanta Tribune and Wall Street Consultant, writes a brand of science fiction suitable for both adults and young adults. His brand of science fiction blends fanciful characters and scenarios with generous doses of philosophy and social commentary. His book, To Wrestle with Darkness, is available on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble and most major retailers. Visit Alan at http://wrestlewithdarkness.ning.com/profile/Alan.
Alicia McCalla – Alicia McCalla is a native of Detroit, Michigan who currently resides in Metro Atlanta, Georgia. She writes for both young adults and adults with her brand of multicultural science fiction, urban fantasy, romance and futurism. Her debut novel, Breaking Free is available in print and for immediate download on Amazon and other booksellers. The Breaking Free theme song, Keep Moving, created by Asante McCalla is available for immediate download on itunes and Amazon. Visit her at: www.aliciamccalla.com
Balogun Ojetade – Author of the bestselling “Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within” (non-fiction), “Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman” (Steampunk) and “Redeemer” (science fiction); and screenwriter, director and producer of the feature film, “A Single Link” (martial arts drama). Visit him: http://chroniclesofharriet.wordpress.com/
Wendy Raven McNair – is a wife, mother, artist and author of the Young Adult novels, Asleep and Awake. Visit her athttp://wendyravenmcnair.com/page19.php.
Milton Davis – 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. He is also co-editor of Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology. Visit him: http://www.mvmediaatl.com and www.wagadu.ning.com.
One thought on “Speculative Fiction Taught Me…”
Blacknificent post, Alan!
I too would daydream often and act out characters I created. Quiet as kept, I still do! 🙂