October is Black Speculative Fiction Month, a month to commemorate African and African American involvement in speculative fiction, including Sword and Soul, Steamfunk, Black Weird West, and Afrofuturism. We’ve got a couple suggestions for ways to celebrate.
* Attend Part 1 of “Afrofuturism” on Sunday, October 11, at 5:00 pm. This online 3-part series on Afrofuturism asks us to suspend our concepts of Blackness so that we may explore the very essence of Blackness itself. We are on a journey discovering the myriad of ways that those of African descent nurture and artistically express themselves. Panelists include Ishamael Reed, Sheree Renee Thomas, Reynaldo Anderson, and Kinitra Brooks. Moderated by Darrell Stover: www.drkimmcmillon.com.
* Purchase a book from BLF Press. Based in NC, this independent Black feminist press is dedicated to amplifying the work of women of color. Their most-recent anthology, Black From the Future: A Collection of Black Speculative Writing, encompasses the broad spectrum of Black speculative writing, including science fiction, fantasy, magical realism, and Afrofuturism, all by Black women writers. You can also pre-order the speculative fiction short-story collection How to Dispatch a Human: Stories and Suggestions by Stephanie Andrea Allen (March, 2021).
* Join the Durham-Orange Counties region of NCWN on Monday, October 19, at 6:00 pm, for a panel of fiction and horror writers including NCWN members Robin Kirk and Nancy Young; former Piedmont Laureate James Maxey; and NCWN trustee Michele T. Berger. E-mail Jorge Cortese, Durham Regional Rep, at firstname.lastname@example.org for registration info.
Of course, there are book signings, book launches, readings and panels by Black authors, comic book giveaways, film festivals and other events taking place worldwide. Any librarian or bookseller will be happy to recommend a title or two.
You may be wondering, why October? Inklette Magazine offers this background:
The origin story I know of comes from author, Afroretroism expert, and gamewriter Balogun Ojetade. According to this post, he and author Milton Davis came up with the idea together one June; they chose October because the annual Alien Encounters celebration (formerly a conference for Black speculative and imaginative fiction, film and music and presently a celebration of speculative and imaginative arts) took place in October already, and it just made sense to overlap the two.
And, like, why in general?
Because every day we meet Black people who have never imagined Black folks writing and reading speculative fiction; especially science fiction. Why? Because a recent poll among young people found that the most popular genres were science fiction and fantasy. Why? Because every prominent scientist in the US listed that they read science fiction.