About the Carl Brandon Society

About the Carl Brandon Society

We came up with the idea for the Carl Brandon Society in 1999 at the feminist science fiction convention WisCon in Madison, Wisconsin. African American SF legend Samuel R. Delany had recently published an article titled “Racism and Science Fiction” in the New York Review of Science Fiction (August 1998, volume 10 issue 12). Partly in response to the article, people of color attending WisCon requested that the convention schedule more programming items that addressed race. This resulted in two focus groups where people of color and white people could meet and formulate strategies for increasing the awareness and representation of people of color in the genres and in the community. The focus groups were followed by an all-community session to follow-up on the focus group discussions. The main result of these activities was the decision to create the Carl Brandon Society as an organization to help build further awareness of race and ethnicity in speculative literature and related fields.

About Our Name

Carl Joshua Brandon was a fictional black fan writer invented by white writers Terry Carr and Peter Graham in the fifties. A hoax that lasted for over two years, Carl Brandon was nearly elected to office in a fan writers association, and was for a time one of the most popular fan writers in the genre. But the existence of a lone, fictional black writer underscores the fact that a fictional voice had to be invented for people of color, because we had none in fandom.

We named ourselves after Carl Brandon in much the same way that the Tiptree Award named itself after the fictional male writer James Tiptree, Jr, a pseudonym for the feminist SF writer Alice Sheldon. Just as women can now write under their own names, so can people of color now write (and publish) our own stories. We’ve got much further to go yet. This is why we’re working to make fandom a more rewarding place for people of color, to build a readership for the speculative writing of people of color, and to help the world understand that we can’t create a just future if people of color aren’t including in its imagining.

Our Mission

The mission of the Carl Brandon Society is to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the production of and audience for speculative fiction.

Our Vision

We envision a world in which speculative fiction, about complex and diverse cultures from writers of all backgrounds, is used to understand the present and model possible futures; and where people of color are full citizens in the community of imagination and progress.

We Value

  • Fantasizing for its own sake, and as an agent of social innovation
  • Literature as a groundspring for social change
  • Creative Innovation in the field of speculative fiction
  • Inclusive Definitions of both genre and audiences
  • A culture of Listening to people of all abilities, genders, and backgrounds, in all fields of endeavor
  • National and international community-building around areas of interest

Getting Involved

There are many ways to get involved. You can join the Carl Brandon Society. If you’re willing to help as a volunteer, let us know on your membership form or email us at volunteers[at]carlbrandon.org.

As the Carl Brandon Society continues to evolve, stay informed of our activities by following us on Twitter.