Thursday, August 17, 2006

Writing Black Fantasy and Science Fiction Stories -Exploring Uncharted territory

For the past ten years I’ve been writing stories in two fiction categories: Contemporary Black Fiction and Black Fantasy Fiction. The first category I write for because it’s popular with readers, the second is a market is one I just have fun writing in. Currently Fantasy and Science fiction are an unexplored territory in the Black Book Market authors and publishers have focused on. (Walter Mosely’s Blue Light is still the only fantasy story I know of with Black characters in it.) I’ve written two manuscripts in both the black contemporary category and the fantasy category and I’m pleased with all four of them. However I’m more satisfied with my writing in the fantasy category. As a former comic fan I just love creating unique characters and unique worlds. From the business side it’s a blast developing books for a market most people in the publishing industry aren’t even thinking about. I feel like I’m getting in on the ground floor of a new trend.

In my eyes I see myself as a pioneer writing in the fantasy genre. It was disappointing for
me to learn For every Rod Serling, Peter David, Marion Zimmer Bradley, J.K. Rowling, Gene Roddenberry or Joss Whedon, there are no talented brothers and sisters telling stories in this genre from a Black point of view. Black authors are missing a great opportunity; Science Fiction and Fantasy stories have always made powerful commentary about society. It would be fascinating for Black writers to show readers different civilizations and cultures of peoples from our unique perspective while making a statement about the world we currently live in.

While the big publishers and even most authors don’t see a market for Fantasy or Science Fiction novel series featuring a predominantly black cast yet, personally I believe there’s a big audience for these books. In my opinion, I think it’s going to be the next big market for the Black book market. I know Black reading audiences looking for something new and different. I’ve read a couple of message boards (Black Voices, where posters have been begging for a fantasy or sci-fi series with a predominantly black cast of characters. In those posts were requests for a Black Buffy the Vampire Slayer, A Black Xena, a Black Harry Potter or a Black Matrix. I think once Black customers find out how great stories in this category are, I think it’ll be hard to keep readers from putting them down.

I believe so strongly that there’s a market for this emerging category of fiction It’s why I invested some of my own money publishing a POD book in it. One of the reasons I wrote Isis was to provide readers with a unique perspective on both Egyptian Mythology and make comments about the Black experience throughout history. If I can get one black person reading about Egyptian Mythology or black history I think I’ve done my job. It would make me proud if I could get some black person thinking about writing in this genre.

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