Fantastical Fiction, Art and Social Change

“Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.” — Ursula K. Le Guin

Science fiction and fantasy are powerful vehicles for social critique, and for envisioning societal transformation. But that better future we all dream about occasionally requires a little real-world midwifery.

To that end, we’ve assembled a short list of resources that you may find beneficial in this time of protest, unrest, and epic struggles at and for the ballot box.

We’ve also included a variety of social-justice-oriented organizations and programs that work directly within the science fiction and fantasy fields.

Together we can confront and transform the politics, policies and culture of hatred, racism, greed and abuse that plague our democracy, despoil our dreams, and destroy the lives of so many of our fellow human beings.

Thanks to Rina Weisman and Tachyon Publications for their referrals to many of these links.

Notes and resources for protest

• If you participate in popular protest, you’ll want to review Amnesty International USA’s important PDF, “Safety During Protest.”

• There’s a pandemic going on; Vox has a good roundup on the health, safety and ethical considerations of protesting during the COVID-19 pandemic

Supporting social change

• Here’s an enormous list of social justice, direct action, and grassroots-policy organizations worthy of your financial support.

Common Cause is a leading, national, bipartisan advocacy group fighting for a fair, popular, accessible electoral system, an end to partisan gerrymandering, and the protection of voting rights.

Changing the culture

• The Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarships enable writers of color to attend the Clarion Workshops for writers of science fiction, fantasy and speculative and fantastical literature.

• The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, is an anti-censorship, First Amendment advocacy group for the creators of comics and graphic novels.

• The Speculative Literature Foundation offers six different grants supporting cultural, ethnic, class and generational diversity in science fiction, fantasy and fantastical literature.

• The Otherwise Award (formerly the James Tiptree Jr. Award) supports writers who explore and expand ideas of gender.

• PEN International is an organization that defends writers against censorship, and advocates for literature and the written arts as transformational social forces.

• Writing the Other is an important practice and study resource for authors who want to avoid stereotyping and create authentic characters who are different from themselves.

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