Wendy Raven McNair
Author & Artist
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(NBCC) South Africa 2012
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November 2011: Welcome
Youth Symposium

4/30/2012 5:20:04 AM

Greetings! This is my response to 
the State of Black Science Fiction Youth Symposium's discussion topic
"When I was young, speculative fiction taught me..."

When I was young, I wasn't even aware of what speculative fiction was and
I don't recall reading any. So, unfortunately, I don't have a long glowing list of
titles and authors who regaled me with wondrous tales of the supernatural.
That's not to say that I wasn't exposed to fantastical stories that challenged
my ideas of how the world operated or took me on incredible journeys beyond
my imagination. I was exposed to many such stories on a weekly basis, in fact
every Sunday in church.

I was raised on Biblical stories. I'm aware that some people believe the Bible
is boring; filled with long laborious stories of who begat whom and strict rules of
morality and immorality, and endless lists of dos & don'ts, shalls & shan'ts, and
saints & sinners. But nestled amongst those rules and lists are stories that
rival any found in speculative fiction. Moses parting the Red Sea, Jonah living in
the belly of a whale, and the many miracles of Jesus including his walk on water.
I cut my teeth on those stories before being introduced to other genres. The Bible
is full of supernatural stories that seeded my imagination.

So please allow me to substitute "supernatural" for "speculative fiction" in order
to explain what it has taught me. Simply put, it's taught me to dream beyond my
situation. This is significant because you can't begin to create a better reality for
yourself until you can dream it or imagine it. Would you believe Albert Einstein
held similar views?

I was surprised to discover that Einstein stated "Imagination is more important
than knowledge" because surely the man regarded as the father of modern 
physics, Mr. E=MC2 himself, would value knowledge over mere imaginings.
But he said it and he even explained why.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge
is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination
embraces the entire world and all there ever will be to know
and understand. ~ Albert Einstein

So if anybody ever accuses you of wasting your time reading supernatural or
speculative fiction, just tell them, it was valuable to Albert Einstein and look at
what he accomplished.

I hope to see you at the May 5th State of Black Science Fiction Youth Symposium
click here for details]. I'm on the author panel along with the authors listed below.
Click on their links to visit their blogs and see what speculative fiction taught them.

Hall- Alabama escapee Ed Hall writes journalism, poetry, and fiction. He serves
as host of Eyedrum’s monthly literary forum, Writers Exchange, and as an organizer
of Eyedrum’s annual Experimental Writers Asylum (which is part of the Decatur
Book Festival). His work has appeared in Newsweek, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Code Z: Black Visual Culture Now, and the Dictionary of Literary Biography. He plans
to have his first novel, a sf-pionage story for young adults, come out soon.
Davis- L. M. Davis, Author--began her love affair with fantasy in the second
grade. Her first novel, Interlopers: A Shifters Novel, was released in 2010,
and the follow-up Posers:  A Shifters Novel will be released this spring.
For more information visit her blog http://shiftersseries.wordpress.com/ 
or her website www.shiftersnovelseries.com.
Jones- Alan Jones, a native Atlantan, former columnist for the Atlanta Tribune and
Wall Street Consultant, writes a brand of science fiction suitable for both adults
and young adults. His brand of science fiction blends fanciful characters and
scenarios with generous doses of philosophy and social commentary.  His book,
To Wrestle with Darkness, is available on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble and most
major retailers. Visit Alan at http://wrestlewithdarkness.ning.com/profile/Alan.
McCalla- Alicia McCalla is a native of Detroit, Michigan who currently resides in
Metro Atlanta, Georgia. She writes for both young adults and adults with her brand
of multicultural science fiction, urban fantasy, romance and futurism. Her debut
novel, Breaking Free is available in print and for immediate download on Amazon and
other booksellers. The Breaking Free theme song, Keep Moving, created by Asante McCalla
is available for immediate download on itunes and Amazon.
Visit her at: www.aliciamccalla.com
Ojetade- Author of the bestselling “Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within” (non-fiction),
“Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman” (Steampunk) and “Redeemer” (science fiction); and screenwriter,
director and producer of the feature film, “A Single Link” (martial arts drama).
Visit him: http://chroniclesofharriet.wordpress.com/
Davis– Milton Davis is owner/publisher of MVmedia, LLC . As an author he specializes
in science fiction and fantasy and is the author of Meji Book One, Meji Book Two and
Changa’s Safari. He is also co-editor of Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology. 
Visit him: www.mvmediaatl.com and www.wagadu.ning.com.

Only 4 months until my Africa trip!
South African fact: Nelson Mandela served 27 years in prison  for his
anti-apartheid activism before going on to be the first South African
president elected in a fully representative democratic election. During
my trip, we're scheduled to visit Robben Island, a prison where Mandela
served many years of his sentence.

4/30/2012 8:58:50 PM
Name: Balogun      Subject: When I Was Young..      

Blacktastic post!
I look forward to seeing you at the Youth Symposium!

Wow! That was a great time. Can't wait to do it again!
Thanks for including me, Balogun. ~ WRM