It’s Black History Month…excuse us, Black FUTURES Month…and what better time to run down the list of projects I’ve supported over the last couple of months.
Written by Robert Jeffrey (DC Comic Writers Workshop, DC New Talent Workshop, Route 3), illustrated by Jordi Perez (Top Cow’s Grand Theft Astro) and colored by Paris Alleyne (IDW, Boom! Studios, Lion’s Forge), RET:CON is the story of an agency formed to stop reality from falling into entropy in a time when artificial intelligence governs the remains of a world ravaged by violent temporal ruptures. Agent ‘4 am’ is a part of RET:CON’s elite unit, the Slingshotters, whose mission is to breach the time stream to repair the future. The comic’s Kickstarter runs through March 15.
The Haunting of Tram Car 015
Set in the same universe as his short story, “A Dead Djinn in Cairo,” P. Djeli Clark’s novella The Haunting of Tram Car 015 focuses on a possessed tram car that’s being investigated by the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities. The book is currently available for pre-order and drops this month.
A horrific crisis forces 19-year-old Brandon Hanks to leave Chicago, and live with his grandmother in the sleepy town of Marion, South Carolina, where he meets Jackson Garrett, a supernatural being who’s running from a dark and deadly past. This comic was created by Viktor Kerney, one half of the Megasheen podcast, which discusses geek news from a gay black male perspective. Viktor successfully ran a Kickstarter campaign for volume 1 of StrangeLore and is currently working on volume 2.
What projects are you supporting this month?
On Feb. 23, Midwest BSFA will screen Destination: Planet Negro in conjunction with our “What Does the Future Look Like?” programming initiative. Read More
In honor of the closing of Ral Buldhar: A Dungeons & Dragons Art Show exhibit, Chase Public is hosting an afternoon of open gaming on Feb. 16. We’ll be bringing The Haunting of the House of Crum, the first one-shot campaign for writer Balogun Ojetade’s Steamfunkateers steamfunk role playing game. Read More
The Sankofa Experience kicks off at People’s Liberty in Over-the-Rhine next month. The first half of the programming – Feb. 2-24 – explores the Harlem Renaissance while the second half – March 7-24 – explores the dawn of the age of hip hop. We recently talked to Jennie Wright, Chief Imagination Officer of The Sankofa Experience, about how she and her crew tie speculative fiction, African-American history and the Afrofantastic together for this imaginative programming. Read More
Midwest BSFA members will participate in a panel on steamfunk at the International Steampunk Symposium on Saturday, March 30, and Sunday, March 31! The panel will focus on how black American cosplayers/steampunks see themselves in and operate inside of the steampunk genre, and discuss how re-imagining the country’s antebellum past can be represented and reworked in a steampunk future. Read More
My long bout of vegging out in the week between Christmas and New Year’s included a rewatch of the Star Trek reboot. When the movie first came out back in 2009, a friend and I saw it in the theater five or six times, and I even dragged my mother and brother to see it once when I was home for a visit. It really wasn’t that great, not for me to devote as much time and money as I did to it that spring, but something about it seems to compel me to keep going back. I now think it was my grandmother.
When Chris Pine swaggered across the screen in the scene where he cheats at the Kobayashi Maru test during my most recent rewatch, I had a weird That’s So Raven-esque vision: my grandmother’s long, thin frame stretched out on the couch in her cramped living room, me in the chair right next to her, watching an episode of the original Star Trek. Grams loved William Shatner’s Captain Kirk, and in that moment, I wondered if she would have liked the reboot and its sequels. I was momentarily struck by a sweeping sense of grief. I wanted to watch these films with her. I wanted to know what she thought of Pine’s rendition of Kirk. I wanted to know if the Uhura/Spock storyline intrigued her as much as it did me at the time (Zachary Quinto’s Spock was bae that summer).
My grandmother died 19 years ago this week but as the person who gave me my first foray into geekdom through our Star Trek viewing, she lives on through me. She—along with my mother and my aunt—nurtured my imagination, and gave me the space to be smart and shy and introspective in my formative years. I lost sight of some of that creativity during my teen years and early adulthood, and it took me a while to fully recover from the bandwaggoning that can occur during those time periods, but ever since starting Midwest BSFA and getting into steampunk, I’ve been able to rediscover my love of geeky things. I think knowing that this rediscovery has happened would make my grandmother happy.
Rest on, Grams.
Each year during Black History Month, we collectively discuss past experiences and contributions of African-Americans, but Midwest Black Speculative Fiction Alliance’s “What Does the Future Look Like?” programming focuses on our futures through a distinctly speculative fiction lens. We are encouraging black filmmakers in the Midwest to show us their interpretations of what the future looks like for black people.
🚨🚨Aiesha will close out the year choppin’ it up with Ben of “Mr. Ben’s K-Pop Power Hour” at 10 pm on 12/30 on WAIF (88.3 FM)! They’ll be discussing a number of topics, including cosplay, anime, and steampunk. Tune in! 🚨🚨
The culmination of our co-founder’s Dungeons & Dragons gameplay from this past summer is finally here! Ral Buldhar, Chase Public’s exhibition on collaborative gaming, opens on Jan. 11, and you’ll see artwork of the players’ characters as well as scenes from their D&D escapades. Come to opening night and meet the players and discuss what they contributed to the show. Click here for more details. 6–10 pm, Jan. 11, 2019, Chase Public, 2868 Colerain Ave., Camp Washington (Cincinnati 45225)