This week on the cast, we talk with author and activist Deji Bryce Olukotun, whose books "Nigerians in Space" (2014) and "After the Flare" (2017) both enriched science fiction as a whole and the conversation about the immigrant experience in Africa. In 2019——with films like "Black Panther" making a splash and authors like N.K. Jemisin, Nnedi Okorafor, and yes! Deji Bryce Olukotun zeroing in on glass ceilings in publishing——new avenues for social, authorial, technological, and civic engagement are opening up, but what is the state of things, really?
Olukotun brings us thoughts on the influence of technology on his own writing as well as his work with Access Now and PEN America. He talks about obscure NASA publications about tracking stations, the narrative function of dinosaurs, and advocating for other authors and storytellers. We ask the big questions: What does science fiction allow or make possible or manifest in respect to these topics that other genres might not? Are we really making progress on finding and boosting #OwnVoices stories? Are dinosaurs supposed to be people?
Deji and the cast mention a number of works looking up after listening to this episode, including:
- Sunny Tsiao's "'Read You Loud and Clear!' The Story of NASA's Spaceflight Tracking and Data Network" (https://history.nasa.gov/STDN_082508_508%2010-20-2008_part%201.pdf)
- Nicola Griffith's "Bending the Landscape" anthologies with Stephen Pagel ("Fantasy" in 1997, "Science Fiction" in 1998, and "Horror" in 2001)
- Avery Brooks' 2013 interview with K. Tempest Bradford (http://dailydragon.dragoncon.org/interviews/far-beyond-deep-space-nine-a-conversation-with-avery-brooks/)
- The "Queers Destroy Science Fiction!" June 2015 special issue of "Lightspeed" edited by Seanan McGuire (http://www.destroysf.com/queers/)
- "A People's Future of the United States" (2019) anthology edited by John Joseph Adams and Victor LaValle (http://www.johnjosephadams.com/projects/peoples-future/)
- Deji Bryce Olukotun's "Insights" page on his website (https://returnofthedeji.com/revamp/insights/), which links to his short pieces "We Are the Olfanauts," "How to Create Your Own Jurassic Park," and "Utopian and Dystopian Visions of Afrofuturism"
You can look for Deji Bryce Olukotun's books wherever good books are sold, and you can look for his work to appear in upcoming issue of "Lightspeed" this summer.
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