Shame, by Pam Noles

Pam Noles’s piece on the whitening of Earthsea and on growing up a black fan; published in Infinite Matrix.:

“I remember Dad saying, how come you never see anybody like that in the stories you like? And I remember answering, maybe they didn’t have black people back then. He said there’s always been black people. I said but black people can’t be wizards and space people and they can’t fight evil, so they can’t be in the story. When he didn’t say anything back I turned around. He was in full recline mode in his chair and he was very still, looking at me. He didn’t say anything else.
– Pam Noles


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.

Nomination/submission period open for Carl Brandon Society Awards



Pam Noles
Awards administrator

Janice Mynchenberg
Book wrangler


Jan. 4, 2005 – The Carl Brandon Society is now accepting published long and short print speculative fiction in English to be considered for two juried awards designed to recognize excellence in speculative fiction by or about people of colour.

Each award comes with a $1,000 prize. To be eligible, works must have been published in 2005.

* The Carl Brandon Parallax Award will be given to works of speculative fiction
created by a person of colour. For their work to be considered for the award, nominees must provide a brief statement self-identifying as a person of colour. The submission period closes Feb. 1, 2006.
Statements should be sent to the Awards Administrator.

* The Carl Brandon Kindred Award will be given to any work of speculative fiction in English dealing with issues of race and ethnicity; nominees may be of any racial or ethnic backgrounds. The submission period closes March 1, 2006. Publishers should email
this address
for details about where to mail nominated works.

Non-publishers may nominate works for either category through the Carl Brandon Society website.

The awards will be presented at Wiscon 30, to be held May 26-29, 2006 in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

Eligible works must have been published between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2005. Works must be in English.

Starting originally as an informal gathering at Wiscon 23 in 1997, the Carl Brandon Society is dedicated to addressing the representation of people of color in speculative fiction. We named ourselves after the fictional fan of color “Carl Brandon, Jr.” created by in the mid-1950s by Terry Carr and Peter Graham. They used
that construct to explore concepts of race within the pages of the influential INNUENDO fanzine, which Carr co-edited, during a time when the landscape of speculative fiction was decidedly monotone.

As speculative fiction increases in diversity, the Carl Brandon Society hopes to raise awareness of issues of race, ethnicity and culture within this genre we all love, fostering a needed dialog. We want to promote inclusivity in across the range of genre – embracing fans and pros – and celebrate the accomplishment of people of color within the community. The society’s future goals include creating scholarships to get people of color to writing workshops and science fiction conventions. Our membership is open to all ethnicities.

For general information about the Carl Brandon Society, visit our websiteour or our blog.

– Carl Brandon Society –