There’s a reason why Luke Cage breaking Netflix on October 1st was such a major thing. I mean, besides just the fact that the show is awesome. October is what as known as Black Speculative Fiction Month, but you know that. What that means is that this entire month is dedicated to Black creators and characters in fantasy, science fiction, horror (ironic huh?) and alternate history. Luke Cage breaking Netflix on the first day of Black Speculative Fiction Month is indicative of how important the Black speculative fields are, especially when you see how many people reacted to the show. Black Speculative Fiction holds a special and important place in the psyche of Black people, even if we don’t all recognize the name or the month.
There are months that commemorate Black History, weeks to honor different movements and days to pay respect to various individuals, but Black Speculative Fiction Month stands as one of the few, if not only, month dedicated to a certain field of literature. Like any good literature, though, the value of Black Speculative Fiction stretches far beyond the page. How many of us grew up watching superheroes and wondering why all we had to root for was Storm, Green Lantern, and eventually Static? How many of us watched horror movies wondering why all the Black characters died before the credits rolled? How many of us wondered why Black folks were never in the future, or the past for that matter? Black Speculative Fiction addresses all of these concerns. As I have said myself these genres are important because of what they teach us. Fantasy with Black characters shows us that we can be heroes; that we can go on fantastic journeys and have amazing quests of self-discovery. Black science fiction shows that yes, Black people will still be around in the year 3000 and guess what? We may just be the inventors of some of the cool tech you see. Black horror allows us to live and learn from mistakes like all the skinny blonde white girls do, and to face our fears and learn from them. And history? Well you don’t need me to tell you how important it is for us to be able to learn our place in history and where we come from. Black Speculative Fiction allows all of these things to be possible, because unfortunately having us in any role other than a thug or a sex worker (not that there’s anything wrong with those) is still a thing of the imagination.
You’ll notice that many of the posts I linked to in the previous paragraph were created by the same person. That’s because I’m not the only person who wants to make speculative fiction with Black characters; there are people who are actually very, very immersed in this culture. I know, crazy right? Black folks who actually dedicate their time to writing and reading? Yeah, it happens. It happens so much that there are multiple conferences and even greater nerd and geek culture because of how many people are attracted to this type of stuff. And the community isn’t doing anything but growing. The more Black Panthers and Vixens there are, the more people will recognize that there is value in Black Speculative Fiction, and the more those of us who are passionate about this field are able to do. The month is just a way for us to recognize it all.
Black Speculative Fiction month is a little known but widely loved phenomenon, much like Black Speculative Fiction itself. I am probably one of the few people who have an academic interest in the field, but just one of the many who write, sell, and buy the stuff. This month alone you have a few giveaways to get people more engrossed in the field, as well as a giveaway of my own (that you can sign up for here). People are taking greater notice of what we contribute to the field, of the work we do and of the great things we can achieve because it’s getting more and more popular. Who knows, if Luke Cage can break Netflix maybe this is a sign that the month will be a little bit more recognized, and that our works will be a little bit more rewarded.
How do you think we should celebrate Black Speculative Fiction Month? What are some Black Speculative texts (TV shows, movies, or books) you enjoy? Be sure to leave your comments, questions, and concerns below and don't forget to like, share, and subscribe!