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Black Speculative Fiction Month – October 2023

Black Speculative Fiction Month takes place around the world throughout October. The month is a celebration of a genre that urges the audience to imagine possibilities that don’t align with their understanding of the world, depicting people of the African diaspora as central characters.

History of Black Speculative Fiction Month

Black speculative fiction is an umbrella term for black science fiction, fantasy, horror, and history. It has been around for a long time. The first black science fiction novel published by an African-American author can be dated back to 1859 when Martin R. Delany published “Blake; or the Huts of America.” The first black speculative fiction story published in a magazine was “The Goophered Grapevine” by Charles W. Chesnutt.

These early works paved the way for the people of color that came after them to unleash their imagination and showcase their work. In a world where they are minorities, these writers’ works gave young African-Americans voices. Black speculative fiction has encouraged artists to let marginalized artists’ imaginations run free, making other black people heard and represented. It is an important genre that deserves acknowledgment.

Game writer Balogun Ojetade and author Milton Davis seemed to agree. They came up with the idea to dedicate a month to the celebration of black speculative fiction. Since “Alien Encounters,” a celebration of speculative and imaginative fiction had occurred in October, they decided to go with the same month. Hence, October came to be known as Black Speculative Fiction Month.

Black Speculative Fiction Month timeline

1859
The First Black Sci-Fi Novel

Martin R. Delany publishes “Blake; or the Huts of America.”

1887
The First Black Speculative Fiction Story

Charles Chesnutt publishes “The Goophered Grapevine.”

1947
“Speculative Fiction” is Coined

Robert A. Heinlein coins the term “speculative fiction.”

1976
The First By a Woman

Octavia E. Butler publishes “Patternmaster.”

Black Speculative Fiction Month FAQs

Is speculative fiction important?

Yes, speculative fiction encourages us to surrender our biases and understand social issues by entering a world that does not resemble that of our own.

Is “Black Panther” speculative fiction?

Yes, “Black Panther” falls under the umbrella term of speculative fiction.

When is Black History Month?

It’s observed in October, just like Black Speculative Fiction Month.

Black Speculative Fiction Month Activities

  1. Read a book

    There are thousands of options to choose from. The best way to celebrate this month is by enjoying the work of a black speculative fiction writer.

  2. Watch a movie

    Black speculative fiction is also depicted in film and television. Spend your day (or week or month) watching a movie or T.V. show of this genre.

  3. Support the artists

    Support creators of black speculative fiction. Purchase and appreciate their work, donate to organizations and fundraisers, and simply be an ally.

5 Black Speculative Fiction Books To Read

  1. “Dark Matter”

    By Sheree Thomas, this is a collection of classics by O. E Butler, S.R. Delany, W. Mosley…

  2. “Kindred”

    Octavia E. Butler’s best novel is inspired by the Black History Month-based horrors of slavery.

  3. “Who Fears Death”

    Nnedi Okorafor sets it in post-apocalyptic Africa, narrating a journey through genocide.

  4. “Octavia’s Brood”

    Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha collect stories and essays about social justice.

  5. “Black Panther: World of Wakanda”

    Roxane Gay tells a love story — the series is depicted well in the Marvel blockbusters.

Why We Love Black Speculative Fiction Month

  1. It opens up new avenues

    Speculative fiction gives artists a chance to modify and rewrite a different version of reality. There are no limits to fiction.

  2. It gives representation

    With diversity and inclusion being less widespread, black people have often felt like they don’t belong. The telling of these stories by black people, depicting black people creates a feeling of belonging and representation. It makes people feel seen and heard.

  3. It educates and informs

    While these are works of fiction, authors of this genre have written about the past, present, and anticipated future struggles faced by blacks and their impact on the community. From racism to slavery, these stories open readers’ eyes to the difficulty of life for people of color.

Black Speculative Fiction Month dates

YearDateDay
2023October 1Sunday
2024October 1Tuesday
2025October 1Wednesday
2026October 1Thursday
2027October 1Friday
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