A special thank you to author, Alicia McCalla, for today’s guest post. To find out more about Alicia and her book, Origins of an African Elemental, see below.
Guest Post: Why Diversity Matters
Why Diversity Matters in SFF?
As an avid reader, I always enjoyed those outlandish stories by great Science Fiction authors like Ray Bradbury or Isaac Asimov. In fact, my love for the unusual and strange developed at a young age. I was fascinated by Alfred Hitchcock. But, there has always been a part of me that felt disconnected from these worlds. I would find myself asking the question, “Where are the black folks in the future?” or “Why do black people always have to die?”
Are Black people being exterminated from the future?
I know, I embellish, push, and get dramatic. But sometimes, it feels as if there’s an evil plot or plan to eradicate “people of color” from science fiction, fantasy, and the paranormal in TV, movies, and literature. On my blog, www.aliciamccalla.com, I spend time raking over these issues. I oftentimes find both connections with others who have the same views as well as derision from those who don’t think this is that serious. It’s an odd place to live but I enjoy it.
The silent demographic
So, I used the word, exterminate, on purpose. It is my goal to change the pervasive attitude that science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal are only for young white males. Whenever I talk to the “powers that be”, it seems that they have that same mantra.
The demographic evidence shows that white males between the ages of 18-30 are the strongest purchasers of this genre.
The research librarian in me wants to pull out statistics, anecdotal evidence, and the like to prove how insane this idea is… especially, from people who seek to make money. After all, this is America and capitalism is alive and well. For a business person to say that they have no desire to cross over and bring in new viewers, readers etc. is preposterous and I might add, racist. Did I also mention, really, a bad business strategy?
There is a silent and growing demographic in the science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal world. It is comprised of people who are the antithesis of the young white male. People who look like me. Guess what, it’s ok to market or sell stories that I would be interested in reading. It’s ok to put a protagonist on the cover that looks like me. It’s ok, really…
So, here I am, a Black girl from the inner city of Detroit, Michigan affirming my love of science fiction, fantasy, and the paranormal. In fact, I’m taking this another step further. I’m taking this to a higher realm. My mama always said that deep in my heart, I was truly a social activist. With that said, I’m calling on my elders and ancestors for help in stopping the extermination of darker skinned people from the future.
This is me sitting in my meditation pose
In true Africana spirit and tradition, I humbly ask that Fannie Lou Hammer, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ida B. Wells, Frederick Douglas, Octavia Butler and Malcolm X help me tear down the walls of segregation and racism in an industry that inspires imagination, creativity, and futuristic thought. I want it to be understood that there will be darker skinned people in the future and with the legacy and fortitude of my ancestors, I use my powers of creation and imagination to “make it so.”
What was that?
Alicia bending the spoon to her will. Did I mention that “I am the one…”
I write stories featuring protagonists of color, in particular, black women heroines. Not sidekicks or best friends with white main characters but as the center or object of the story. Diversity in science fiction, fantasy, and futuristic stories has become my mission. Join me in breaking down the barriers in this field #diversityinsff #blackscifi.
May the force be with you!
About the Book
Title: Origins of an African Elemental
Series: Soul Eater #1
Author: Alicia McCalla
Release Date: January 17, 2015
Publisher: FFP In Color, LLC
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy Thriller
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
This prequel boxed set is the first and second installment in the Soul Eater series. Mawu, Iniko, and Shania grow into their strength as mothers and warriors. These women wield the elements and war swords to save this universe from an ancient evil.
An insidious demonic force infects the West African pantheon and a modest Earth goddess goes on a quest to save her people from destruction. She finds strength in the arms of a Norse god who believes in justice. But when Mawu returns to the African pantheon, she must take an oath that threatens the life of her unborn child.
Iniko, daughter of a West African goddess and a Norse god, struggles with her estranged husband, who abducted their child and is intent on murdering the girl in a blood-soaked ritual to gain power for his ancient demonic master. Iniko travels to a West African castle during the slave trade to battle possessed vampire-like beasts with her sword and dagger to rescue her child. Can she find the strength to kill the man who once held her heart and the key to her magic?
Flee: A Short Story
After the death of her grandmother, Shania Moore, a 27-year old African-American woman, is tormented by her ex-boyfriend and a paranormal serial killer. When Shania falls into a dream realm and connects with an ancient African goddess, her earth magic awakens. Shania realizes that in order to save her daughter’s magical soul, she must run into the arms of the white man whom she lied to about having an abortion and stood up at the altar ten years before.
About the Author
It took thirty years for Alicia to accept her calling as a writer of “unusual stories.” Always writing edgy tales that pushed the envelope. She learned to hide her violent, controversial, heart-pumping,and tragically romantic stories from family and friends.
It wasn’t until she joined a local writer’s group that she began to share her stories openly and take the plunge. Alicia writes for both new adults and adults with her brand of multicultural supernatural thrillers, urban fantasy, paranormal, and horror. Her stories always include strong women heroines who fight back, sometimes to the death.
Alicia’s influences are Octavia Butler, LA Banks, Faith Hunter, Patricia Briggs, and Laurell K. Hamilton.
Alicia is an activist in the movement towards diversifying Science fiction and Fantasy (#diversityinsff). She created the first “State of Black Science Fiction 2012” blog tour, is an active member in the State of Black Science Fiction FaceBook group and has a ScoopIt page where she actively curates topics related to Afrofuturism, Black Science Fiction, and Black Speculative fiction.
Alicia is a native Detroiter who currently resides in metro Atlanta. She works as a media specialist or school librarian in a local school district. Alicia enjoys spending time with her husband and son.
Alicia’s adult series mixes African-American women’s fiction with dark urban fantasy. Check out the Soul Eater series. Sign-up on www.aliciamccalla.com for free downloads, e-updates, sneak peeks, and coupons.