Science fiction provides a unique toolkit for imagining how societies could be constructed differently — and for seeing how the structures that seem natural and inevitable to us are actually unnatural, says Walidah Imarisha, co-editor of a new anthology of radical science fiction called Octavia's Brood.
Talking to OpenDemocracy/Yes Magazine, Imarisha explains why she prefers the term "visionary fiction" to "science fiction," and why she believes writers like Octavia Butler and Ursula K. Le Guin provide an example of how to use SF to promote social change in a "post-Ferguson world":
Again, this is why we need science fiction. We often can't imagine that things could be different because we can't imagine alternative systems. Ursula Le Guin just gave an incredible speech at the National Book Awards, where she talked about this and said people can't imagine a world without capitalism. Well, there was a time when people couldn't imagine a world without the divine right of kings.
But the writers, the visionaries, those folks who are able to imagine freedom are absolutely necessary to opening up enough space for folks to imagine that there's a possibility to exist outside of the current system.
I think it's been a concerted effort to erase those possibilities. These systems that we live under are incredibly unnatural. This is not the way we're supposed to live. It takes indoctrination to get us to a point where we believe that this is the way things should be. When we take a small step outside that, we are able to break that indoctrination and see that this is not the only way, and in fact there are as many ways to exist as we can imagine.
Read the whole interview over at Open Democracy.