The State of Black Sci Fi…My Favorite Black SF Event is Alien Encounters

My favorite Black SF Event is Alien Encounters, a Black SF conference that is becoming an annual event at the Auburn Avenue Research Library.  Alien Encounters kind of wins by default because it is the only black-centric SF conference that I have attended since my book was first released.  But let me say, what an event.

What I like about Alien Encounters is the multivalent perspective that the conference offers for engaging with black SF production.   The events ranged from readings to author celebrations to scholarly presentations on black SF subject matters. So there was something for everyone: from those that enjoy the genre on a purely pleasure-reader basis to those that have a vested scholarly interest in understanding what black spec fic is and how it functions in the larger canon of African American literary production.  Another thing that I liked about this conference is that it expands beyond the written word and not just to the perhaps expected mediums of film and television.  Last year, there was a pretty amazing presentation on music and SF among others.

For Alien Encounters 2011,  I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel with two other authors who write speculative fiction with African American characters.  In the audience there were students, professors, musicians, poets, etc….  It was cool to have an audience that was so diverse and coming to genre from so many divergent points.  We had a really lively discussion about the need for fantasy novels by and about people of color, the space and place of our fantasy writing within the larger arena of fantasy novels.  I think that it was a really great event, particularly for the young people in attendance.

I look forward to attending Alien Encounters again this year, as well as hitting other events like OnyxCon.  Have you been to any black SF events?  If so, what is your favorite?

Catch up on my other posts on The State of Black Sci Fi 2012 by checking out the archive.  Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a prize at the end of this blog hop.

Also, check out what others are saying this week.


Winston Blakely, Artist/Writer— is a Fine Arts/Comic Book artist, having a career spanning 20 years, whose achievements have included working for Valiant Comics and Rich Buckler’s Visage Studios. He is also the creator of Little Miss Strange, the world’s first black alien sorceress and the all- genre anthology entitled – Immortal Fantasy.  Both graphic albums are available at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and other online book store outlets. Visit him: or

Milton Davis, Author– 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. Visit him: and

Ja Ja (DjaDja) N Medjay , Author—DjaDja Medjay is the author of The Renpet Sci-Fi Series. Shiatsu Practitioner. Holistic AfroFuturistic Rising in Excellence. Transmissions from The Future Earth can be found at: , or on Facebook – or on Twitter –!/Khonsugo .
Margaret Fieland, Author— lives  and writes in the suburbs west of Boston, MA with her partner and five dogs. She is one of the Poetic Muselings. Their poetry anthology, Lifelines is available from  Her book, “Relocated,” will be available from MuseItUp Publishing in July, 2012. The Angry Little Boy,” will be published by 4RV publishing in early 2013.  You may visit her website,
Valjeanne Jeffers, Author — is an editor and the author of the SF/fantasy novels: Immortal, Immortal II: The Time of Legend and Immortal III: Stealer of Souls. Her fourth and fifth novels: Immortal IV: Collision of Worlds and The Switch: Clockwork will be released this spring. Visit her at: , and
Thaddeus Howze, Author – is a veteran of the IT and Communications industry with over 26 years of experience retooling computers to best serve human needs. Unknown to humanity, our computers have another agenda. Thaddeus recently released his first collection of short stories, Hayward Reach. In a coded format, he has secretly informed Humanity of the impending computerized apocalypse. You can read parts of the code here: or
Alicia McCalla, Author—writes for both young adults and adults with her brand of multicultural science fiction, urban fantasy, and futurism. Her debut novel, Breaking Free is available in print or immediate download on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and other booksellers. The Breaking Free theme song created by Asante McCalla is available for immediate download on iTunes and Amazon. Visit her at:
Carole McDonnell, Author–She writes Christian, speculative fiction, and multicultural stories. Her first novel is Wind Follower. Her short fiction has appeared in many anthologies and have been collected in an ebook, Spirit Fruit: Collected Speculative Fiction. Visit Carole: or
Balogun Ojetade, Author—of the bestselling “Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within” (non-fiction), “Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman” (Steampunk) and the feature film, “A Single Link”. Visit him:
Rasheedah Phillips, Author–is the creator of The AfroFuturist Affair in Philly. She plans to debut her first spec/sci-fic novel Recurrence Plot in Spring 2012. You may catch her ruminating from time to time on her blog,
Nicole Sconiers, Author-is also a screenwriter living in the sunny jungle of L.A. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, and she recently published Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage.  Visit her:
Jarvis Sheffield, M.Ed. is owner & operator of, & Visit him:

8 thoughts on “The State of Black Sci Fi…My Favorite Black SF Event is Alien Encounters

  1. Blaxcellent post! I really enjoyed Alien Encounters. The non-literary and non-cinematic aspect was also unique and a breath of fresh air. I am going to suggest a performance aspect this year in which the authors, visual artists, musicians and filmmakers work together and create a multimedia performance entitled “We house the Spirit of our Ancestors” or something like that.

    1. I like that idea. I like this process of working with other artists to create something that is unique to the event and a collective effort. There is something very enriching in it.

  2. I enjoy Alien Encounters for all the same reasons. Isn’t it funny how we have to justify what we do? I hope as we gain ground the need for justification disappears and people spend more time just enjoying the creativity.

    1. My scholarly side enjoys the process of exploring, explaining, and making connections. I see it less as justification and more as uncovering the pathways to a deeper understanding and a more holistic appreciation.

  3. wow, the Alien Encounters sounds really cool, and I’m happy to hear that its well-attended, with a diverse crowd. That gives me a lot of hope. As I was saying on other blogs, I really wish there were more Black spec fic and sci fi conferences over on the East coast. But I love to hear that these conferences and panels are alive and well elsewhere.

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