LSFRC Reading Group, 2020-21

From Sultana’s Dream, Chitra Ganesh (2018)

The London Science Fiction Research Community (LSFRC) are proud and excited to share the theme for their 2020-21 reading groups and conference: Activism and Resistance. The theme is open to be shaped by incoming new team members, but the LSFRC are keen for folks to start suggesting texts for the reading groups.

They write: “We are keen to avoid cloistering ourselves within certain forms and media, and welcome suggestions of short stories, graphic novels, poetry, anthologies, theory & essays, games (tabletop and/or digital), artwork, films, novels and more.”

The first reading group session will be taking place online on the evening of Monday 12th October and will cover Kwodwo Eshun’s “Further Considerations on Afrofuturism” alongside John Akromfrah’s film The Last Angel of History, which we will be screening before the session. If you aren’t on Facebook and would like you attend the reading group, send us an email (lsfrcmail [at] gmail [dot] com).

Activism & Resistance

In an age when Me Too, Black Lives Matter, Decolonise the Curriculum, Refugees Welcome, and movements for global solidarity with oppressed populations have become part of mainstream discourse, it is vital to re-examine the relationship between activism, resistance and the mass imagination with regards to science fiction. As a genre dedicated to imagining alternatives, science fiction offers us a space of radical potential which allows for diverse explorations of dissent. It is, also, a space that has been rightfully critiqued for its historic inequities, formed by and favouring white cis-het men. There needs to be reckoning with how precarious bodies engage in activism and resistance in the context of their material realities and restrictions. Therefore, we must deny universalising a single experience as “sufficiently radical,” and instead acknowledge how communities in the margins – queer, disabled, BIPOC, immigrants & refugees, religious minorities, indigenous populations, casualised workers, the homeless and unemployed – have specific ways of subverting and undermining oppressive systems. It is imperative to not only revisit how science fiction has been a space for activism and resistance, but also to resist and challenge the genre’s shortcomings.

Indicative texts could include:

Chaos Walking trilogy, Patrick Ness
The Dispossessed, Ursula Le Guin
The Queue, Basma Abdel Aziz
Sisters of the Revolution, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer
Octavia’s Brood, edited by adrienne maree brown, Walidah Imarisha and Sheree Renee Thomas
Detroit: Become Human, Quantic Dream
The Last Angel of History, John Akromfrah
Star Wars, George Lucas
“Further Considerations on Afrofuturism,” Kodwo Eshun
2019 John W. Campbell Award acceptance speech,” Jeanette Ng
“My Words to Victor Frankenstein Above the Village of Chamounix,” Susan Stryker
Marvel Civil War, Mark Millar

For more information visit the LSFRC website: http://www.lsfrc.co.uk/

HorizonManzel Bowman

Author: CCL

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