invisible universe foundation speculative fiction conference


New York, New York – 28 December 2005 – The Invisible Universe Foundation was formed in 2005 by M. Asli Dukan, the producer/director of the documentary work-in-progress Invisible Universe: a history of blackness in speculative fiction. The foundation, like the up-coming documentary will explore the historical, social and racial connections that African Americans have had with speculative fiction books and films as diverse as the works of Edgar Allen Poe and Ray Bradbury to Night of the Living Dead and The Matrix. “I think there is this popular conception that black people are not interested in the genres that make up speculative fiction” says the producer, director and now Executive Director. Speculative fiction or SF, is a blanket term used to describe fantasy, horror and science fiction in the same context. “There is so much cross-over in the genres that SF has become the general term to discuss anything fantastical about a story whether mythic, horrific or scientific.” Ms. Dukan, who graduated from CUNY in 1999 with a Master’s Degree in media and communication arts says that a majority of the SF produced by African Americans often was overlooked because of racism. “There are works of fiction written by African Americans from the mid to late 1800’s that are clearly trying to imagine a society that is better than the one they live in.” This is a key element in utopian fiction, an early form of SF literature that was very popular at the turn of the 19th century in the United States, its most famous book being “Looking Backward” by Edward Bellamy in 1888. “Black authors were writing their utopian fiction to pose a literal alternative for the real dystopian nightmare of the institution of slavery, but have not been critiqued as such by white SF historians.” As for the conference, she admits, “this isn’t the first, there have been other events around the country that have featured black SF authors and filmmakers. I’ve attended overcrowded comic book conventions to meet the only black writer on a 40 year-old SF franchise and I have been to academic symposiums about Octavia Butler’s work that weren’t well attended. “We want to change that. We want our organization to be known as the one that is bringing together everything, literature, film, comics, animation, video games with popular and academic points of view, but most importantly we want to create an idea in people’s minds, many people’s minds that there is an indelible canon of work out there that can be called, `Black SF.'”

The conference/fundraiser will take place at the City College of New York on February 18, 2006 at 1pm. This year’s special guest will be L. A. Banks, author of the Vampire Huntress Legend series. The panel theme will be “Black Vampirism in Literature and Film” will include filmmaker, Mike Sargent, Professor Frances Gateward and others. There will also be a partial screening of the documentary work-in-progress, Invisible Universe: a history of blackness in speculative fiction, an L. A. Banks merchandise raffle and closing reception.

Tickets may be purchased in advance or at the door for $25.00. Seating is limited. All ticket purchases include one raffle ticket that will be eligible for the prize. Additional raffle tickets may be purchased. To purchase tickets, please contact The Invisible Universe Foundation. For more information, please visit our website.