A SCIFI/SPECULATIVE STORYTELLING & DISCUSSION SERIES
ORIGINAL WRITING +
BELOVED SLEPT-ON TALES +
ATMOSPHERIC AUDIO ACCOMPANIMENT +
WITH YOUR CYBORG HOST, magus monk (b.k.a. eighteen)
AND SPECIAL GUEST NEIGHBORS FROM TIME 2 TIME
Eighteen introduces the listener to this new series and then waxes on at length about the slept-on feminist sci-fi short story writer, James Tiptree Jr/Alice B Sheldon.
From 21:43 begins the dramatic reading of Tiptree/Sheldon’s grim tale of rising facist men’s cult, The Screwfly Solution, featuring musical accompaniment by the spacer, @starsinmypockets.
CONTENT WARNING: sexualized violence & assault of women (part of the story’s riding theme), suicide
Ras Mashramani reads her story GRL.SUICIDE.HOLIDAY from METROPOLARITY’s debut book, Style of Attack Report.
Audio accompaniment done live by Althea of SWARM & Bare TeetH collectives.
After the story, Ras and Eighteen hang out and talk about
social space and the early internet + video games/interactive narratives and mental health coping techniques + social work programs + institutions + getting published + using the 2nd person + working writer pro tips
(1) #SOFTTARGETS WAS A DAY OF WRITING CRITIQUES + WORKSHOPS + PERFORMANCES ON A SATURDAY AFTERNOON AT THE PHILADELPHIA FREE LIBRARY CENTRAL BRANCH.
This was an day-long event held in preparation for the submission deadline to APIARY Magazine’s 8th issue and collaboration with our collective, themed SOFT TARGETS. APIARY is a volunteer-run, freely distributed literary magazine based in and featuring Philadelphia writers. Before METROPOLARITY got started, Ras was one of the fiction editors for the mag. APIARY’s staff has always supported us, and we’ve been meaning to do some sort of collaborative effort ever since. So the SOFT TARGETS issue is a sci-fi one collaboratively edited by us at METROPOLARITY, along with the standing editors at APIARY.
THE DAY CONCLUDED WITH METROPOLARITY SQUAD READING IN THE MAIN BRANCH’S FAMOUS AUDITORIUM. IF YOU MISSED IT, THANK THE COSMOS FOR A LIVESTREAM, M I RITE???? AUDIO IS PROVIDED BY NYFOLT & MOOR MOTHER GODDESS/BLACK QUANTUM FUTURISM CREW
Eighteen says: It was sooooooooooo nice to be at the central branch of the library for this event, and super starry to perform in the famed auditorium. Like a lot of Philadelphians out there, I spent a looot of time in the library growing up (Olney & East Oak Lane branches whut up). Really grateful to APIARY staff and Adam from the Library for making things possible, and very appreciative of everyone who came out to the writing critique session and workshop, and all those who stayed for the performances.
(2) THE LASER LIFE QUEER SCI-FI READING SERIES MARCH EDITION WAS FIRE
THE LASER LIFE AT LAVA ZONE
HASHTAG QUEER SCI-FI HASHTAG FUCK GOD HASHTAG FUCK LANDOWNERS HASHTAG UP THE HERETICS
THANKS TO ALL WHO CAME. THANKS TO JOYCE HATTON FOR THE MOST EXCELLENT DEBUT, MOOR MOTHER GODDESS FOR THE STORM, CHASKA FOR THE PERFECT AUDIO/VISUAL ATMOSPHERE & EVERYONE WHO CAME OUT <3 <3 <3 <3
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN READING/PERFORMING AT THE NEXT LASER LIFE, CONTACT THEYAREBIRDS AT GEEEEEMAIL.
What nobody seems to have pics of is the powerful trailer for M. Asli Dukan‘s INVISIBLE UNIVERSE documentary on black speculative fiction… but check this out:
In 2003, independent filmmaker, M. Asli Dukan, set out to make a documentary about the 150 year history of Black creators in speculative fiction (SF) books and movies. What she didn’t realize at the time was that she was about to document a major movement in the history of speculative fiction. A movement where a growing number of Black creators were becoming an effective force, creating works that had increasing influence on the traditionally, straight, white, cis-male dominated SF industry. However, while these Black creators imagined better futures for Black people within their fictional works of SF, in reality, the everyday, lived experiences of Black people in the United States – e.g., the rise of massive inequality, the prison industrial complex, and police brutality – stood in stark contrast. She began to wonder if these phenomena were related.
Told through the ever-present lens and off-screen narrator voice of the filmmaker, Invisible Universe will explore this question by examining the work of Black creators of SF through the ideology of the emerging Black Lives Matter movement, which addresses the systematic oppression of Black lives. Since she began the documentary, the filmmaker has compiled an extensive interviewee list of Black writers, artists and filmmakers of SF who have been creating works where Black people not only exist in the future, but are powerful shapers of their own realities, whether in magical lands, dystopian settings, or on distant worlds. In addition, she has documented an ever-increasing number of academic, community and arts events dedicated to the work and critical analysis of Black SF, as well as building connections between the creators, thinkers, organizers and fans. In the past decade, the filmmaker has documented the cultural shift around Black SF and its explicit connections to Black liberation. This documentary explores the idea that in a world of capitalist exploitation, anti-Black oppression and state violence, Black creators are speculating about better worlds as a means of resistance and survival.
The documentary will also consider how “Black Speculation” is rooted in the history of “Black Struggle” in the United States by exploring two previous eras of Black creators speculating about Black lives through the genres of SF. The first era occurred during the nadir of African American history in late 19th and early 20th centuries, when slavery, war, lynchings, race riots, disfranchisement and segregation inspired Black writers to pen narratives about international slave rebellions, secret, Black governments and powerful, long lost, African kingdoms. The second era occurred during the 1960’s and early 1970’s, when the work of Black writers of SF seemed to extrapolate on the possible futures that would occur as a result of the successes or failures of the Civil Rights or Black Power struggles. This documentary will explore how this current moment, which the filmmaker considers the third era of Black Speculation, compares and contrasts with the earlier two eras.
This timely documentary includes interviews with Black writers of SF like Samuel R. Delany, the late Octavia E. Butler, Steven Barnes, Tananarive Due, Nalo Hopkinson and Nnedi Okorafor, actors like Nichelle Nichols and Wesley Snipes, cultural organizers like Rasheedah Phillips and her AfroFuturist Affair, academics/artists like John Jennings and Nettrice Gaskins, social justice workers/artists like adrienne maree brown and Walidah Imarisha, as well as numerous other filmmakers, artists, academics, archivists, and fans. This one-of-a-kind project is essentially an archive of a “Who’s Who” of Black speculative fiction.
The artist Sondra Perry hit us up one day with a collab idea: We write/record a critical writing component to go along with her project, #MyTwilightZoneThing, taking place at Recess Art in New York. A couple weeks later…
We had the great fortune to commission the critical writing for #MyTwilightZoneThing to METROPOLARITY, a collective of speculative fiction writers/artists/activists based/raised in Philadelphia. Their contribution “YOU HAVE 4 MESSAGES” includes 4 texts [and 3 audio pieces] written by RAS MASHRAMANI (@anti_gyal), Alex Smith (@theyarebirds), M. EIGHTEEN (@cyborgmemoirs), and Rasheedah Phillips (@afrofuturistaffair).
My Twilight Zone Thing builds upon the artist’s belief that the original show dismantles whiteness through the lens of science fiction. Although each episode of The Twilight Zone opens with the narrator (series creator Rod Serling) describing the mostly male, primarily white characters, these individuals go on to enter an alternate plane—a move that complicates the viewer’s ingrained ways of seeing and coding the characters’ physical realities.
Perry posits that the way in which the show scrambles assumptions around the characters’ bodies gives rise to multiple new possibilities for seeing and understanding their personhood. Perry will work with the collaborators to experiment with this dissolution of identity as they insert themselves into these narrated scenes. With only the original script remaining as a point of reference to the source material, the actors will have the opportunity to assume, mimic, or defy the externally prescribed characteristics, thereby taking advantage of the rift between representative structures and real bodies.
Eighteen’s ALL THAT’S LEFT dystopian spec fic cyborg series crosses streams with +HIRS+ queer grind thrash band as the first track of a remixes 10″ album coming out in the near future. Listen below.
Rahl was the first one through the door after it had been blown open, the rest of the crew splashing in just as they had planned out, reconned, practiced in barely lit alleyways. He kept expecting to hear Captain’s voice in his head doling out those level-headed directives as always, her cybercom indicator beating calmly onto his conscious perception. Instead it was the shrieks of the Progenitors and the hissing gas streams pissing their face melting neurotoxin plasma all over the room. It slopped all over the organic hierarchy farms, causing the shells to sizzle and combust a hot liquid splatter. All over, all over.
The cyberdocs were freaking out; their skin was crawling with the wrong kind of nanomachine interaction. One of them was crying, “Lord Jesus! God! Lord have mercy!” Rahl watched Braga descend upon the hysteric like an owl on fieldmice, his gun slung back, boot already dropping into the crying doc’s chest, yelling, “NO GODS AND NO MASTERS!”. Braga meant to crush organs.
Rahl forced himself to watch the brutality, unflinching. He felt like if this was to be their brightest moment, he should at least submit to the burn. And if they lived past the next two hours, he supposed he’d have all the time later to cry about it. Braga murdered the cyberdoc––the Progenitor, the dome people stupidly called him. Rahl realized he was crying now. These awful wretched people were being murdered. No gods, no masters, Braga had yelled?
Rahl watched another Progenitor clawing at his face as he suffocated on his own spewing bile. Their death throes looked so much like being hacked. They seethed, or withered. This one seethed. Rahl shot the man. They were all “men” here, cause the domes were still places where no one was ever held accountable––they called it “preserving the golden age.” Well, here was the bright flash of light, at long last.
They couldn’t just leave their chimera alone––they’d felt the need to rein them back in for destruction in the most classic of arrogant human motions. End the program. No more full conversion cyborgs. They were so fucking arrogant. They literally ruined everything, even themselves. Heaven was over now. No gods, no masters.
For more misanthropic queer grind music (much more intense than in this remix), it’s probably best to just run “+HIRS+” through your favorite search engine. Or you can go to their website here. For more zine-on-tape recordings of living in a post-binary dystopian reality, check out Eighteen’s work here. Featured image by Don McCullin of Northern Ireland, 1971.
The Sent(A)Mental Project is a memorial to queer and trans* suicides. It hopes to bring visibility to mental health issues and much-needed attention to the thousands of people lost within our communities, as well as share survivor stories through a variety of artistic expressions. Members of the Laser Life queer SF collective were invited to perform at a S(A)M benefit show on 24 May 2012, along with an small array of other artists. Rather than read individual stories, the Laser Life crew decided to collaborate on a three-piece tale, woven together with a common universe but written in each person’s respective style. Below are the live recordings from the event:
The Weeping Cabin: A Benefit Compilation is a collection of live, exclusive tracks from performers featured at the Sent(A)Mental Benefit Show at Geppetta’s Studio, May 24th 2012. The compilation features downloadable tracks from Emily Bate, Shomi Noise, and Liz & the Lost Boys plus sci-fi spoken word from Laser Life and an excerpt from a performance by a stick and a stone* with full album download. The compilation is an eclectic mixture of voices and styles ranging from indie rock to haunting folk, riot grrl to dystopian science fiction. So very swoon worthy.
Initial proceeds will go to production costs for ‘There Was a Cabin Who Once Wept‘, a short film in-the-works, with additional proceeds benefiting the Sent(A)Mental Project: an artistic memorial to LGBTQ suicides. The film project will be a submission to S(A)M.
“There Was A Cabin That Once Wept” is made possible by a Lee Foundation Art and Change Grant.