Tag Archives: Science Fiction

Space:Queens Interview with Susan Varo

Susan Varo is a local Queens visual artist who is also the author of the speculative science fiction book called The Happening. In the Fall of 1983, she began writing The Happening inspired by thoughts and visions she had about the future and a world in the midst of constant technological advancement. It wasn’t until 2017 that she finally published the book.

Always a lover of “science fiction, the universe, and mysteries,” writing this book was a way for her to tap into what she calls a “strange foresight;” “the future [had] presented itself to her.” In the interview below, Varo talks about her work as a visual artist and what inspires her art and writing of The Happening.

Finished Book Cover 2017
1) Tell the readers about yourself as an artist.
I am a visual artist and I reside in Corona, New York.  I primarily create my artwork from my home studio.  I began drawing from the age of eight and it has been my passion ever since.
2) What are some major themes that you explore in your art?
Some of the major themes I love to explore in my art are people, places, moments in time and the feelings and inspiration that I derive from all of it.  My artwork consists of portraiture, landscape and still life.
3) Which came first in your life: visual art or writing? How do the two interact with each other in your artistic practice?

Continue reading Space:Queens Interview with Susan Varo


Moving on the Wires: Cutting Back + News, Posts and New Music

“There Are Black People in the Future” by Alisha B. Wormsley

*For the next six months, most of my time will be invested in a big project, so I will be cutting back on posting here to probably once or twice a week, or a few times a month. But if you would like to be a guest blogger or help moderate this blog, you can email me at futureancientblog@gmail.com.

*Wonder why there is a perception that black people experience less pain or why Darren Wilson described Mike Brown the way he did? Well, one reason may be the Magical Negro stereotype. According to a recent study, many white people have a “superhumanization bias,” where they think black people have superhuman abilities. While some may think that is positive, it actually works against us as I mentioned before Wilson described Brown like he was The Hulk.

*Media Diversified’s “Inside Afrofuturism: This movement is not for co-opting:” “Afrofuturism is a topic that we have addressed on numerous occasions on Media Diversified. Now, it makes its way to the BFI. Film critic, journalist, and film programmer, Ashley Clark has curated Inside Afrofuturism; a short season of movies, brought together under the afrofuturism rubric. I spoke with him about his inspiration for the programme, and afrofuturism’s place in the cultural firmament.”

*The Toast’s “Wave My Freak Flag High: Afrofuturism, Imagination, and Impostor Syndrome:” “I’ve only been familiar with the term afrofuturism for the past few years. It didn’t exist for me when I first read Octavia Butler more than a decade ago, or when I read the first Dark Matter anthology while I was still an undergrad in the late ’90s. Somewhere along the way, I saw the short film anthology Cosmic Slop, bought a copy of Sun Ra’s Space Is the Place on DVD, and noted that music videos from the likes of Tupac and Dr. Dre, Missy Elliott and Busta Rhymes included post-apocalyptic, space, and robotic themes and elements. In hindsight, I can apply an axiom about porn to afrofuturism: I know it when I see it.”

*The Link Newspaper’s “Re-Remembering The Future:” “Alisha B. Wormsley Brings a Mythical Perspective to the Narratives of the African Diaspora”

*”The sister is in space:” Black to the future: science fiction writer Tananarive Due talks about afrofuturism and why it’s important.”

Continue reading Moving on the Wires: Cutting Back + News, Posts and New Music

Moving on the Wires: News, Posts, New Music

*Get Futuristically Ancient t-shirts for $20 on teespring.

*Subtletea’s “David Herrle reviews NEAR KIN: A COLLECTION OF WORDS AND ART INSPIRED BY OCTAVIA ESTELLE BUTLER:” David Herrie writes an analysis of Butler’s work and her influence on the anthology, Near Kin. By the way, he include me and my poem in the review. Cool!

*Check out this new comic from Opportunity Agenda, Helvetika Bold, about a social justice superhero who fights the status quo with her words and media savvy.

From Afropunk: “Working with artist-activist Dragonfly, we have been able to bring Helvetika to life as a living, breathing maven of moxie…Not only does she fictionally save the world, she leads with values and effective social justice communications messaging that actually demands action and change. The more support that Helvetika can gain, the more likely that her story can continue sooner rather than later, and the more damage she can do to The Status Quo!”

*Afrofuturism 849 is “a Chicago-based organization dedicated to creating artistic and educational events and programs that support the Afrofuturist global community,” featuring Floyd Webb and Ytasha Womack. “We encourage the visioning of a peaceful today and tomorrow that engages the best of diverse perspectives from the ancient to the future.

We celebrate the intersection between black cultures, indigenous cultures, technology, the imagination, liberation and mysticism as we champion innovation around the world. The number 8.49 is the apparent magnitude of Sirius B, a star celebrated by the Dogon. This star inspires people around the world and we recognize it as one of many symbols of innovation, uncovered pasts and created futures.” They are currently accepting submission for a February Black History Month film program. Email them at info@afrofuturism49.com.

Continue reading Moving on the Wires: News, Posts, New Music

Moving on the Wires: News, Posts, New Music

*Wildseeds: The NOLA Octavia Butler Emergent Strategies Collective is presenting Cosmic Belonging: A Conversation on Afrofuturism, Sustainability, and Dreaming Black Into the Future. See more information about it in the picture below.

*John Jennings and Stacey Robinson has released their comic, Kid Code: Channel Zero via Rosarium Publishing. Here is the description of it: “Kid Code: Channel Zero is a rollicking, cosmic, time-traveling adventure, fusing classic hip-hop culture and outlandish sci-fi fantasy in this alternate universe to create the ultimate mash-up.

Everything’s a remix! And Kid Code and his comrades must fight against The Power, who eons ago sampled the first sounds made from the God MC and created the Dark Mix (a version of the universe that was never intended).

Now there’s a race against and for time throughout the universe to assemble The Everlasting Cosmic Mixtape–nine tracks that can re-assemble the God Sample and help set things back on course.

The adventure starts here in Kid Code: Channel Zero.”

*Daily News’ “Run-DMC’s rapper Darryl McDaniels launches new comic book line:” “The newly minted comic company, Darryl Makes Comics, is ready to debut its first novel, ‘DMC’ at New York Comic Con in October. Darryl McDaniels portrays himself as a superhero instead of a rapper in the graphic novels.”

*A Killing in the Sun, a collection of speculative fiction from Africa, was recently released: “It draws from the rich oral culture of the author’s childhood, to tell a wide variety of stories. Some of the stories are set in a futuristic Africa, where technology has transformed everyday life and a dark force rules. Others are set in the present day, with refugee aliens from outer space, ghosts haunting brides and grooms, evil scientists stalking villages, and greedy corporations creating apocalypses. There are murder mysteries, tales of reincarnation and of the walking dead, and alternative worlds whose themes any reader will identify with. This collection is deftly crafted, running along the thin boundary of speculative and literary genres.”

Continue reading Moving on the Wires: News, Posts, New Music

Modern Griots Reviews: Nova Sparks’ ‘Dome’

The first in its trilogy, Nova Spark‘s apocalyptic, alien novel Dome is filled with characters figuring themselves out as their home disappears and a new questionable home arises that forces them to find the truth and what is real home.

Alternating between the point of views of a father and daughter, Sam and Emma, the story begins with Sam, who is having an affair and taking his life and family for granted. His daughter, Emma, who does well in school, is just as unenthusiastic about life, manufacturing drugs in a lab to sell to other students. But it is when Sam starts having dreams about the end of the world and is compelled to act on them to try to save Earth, his entire family, his wife, Kat, and Emma, along with thousands of others are transported to another world – one manufactured by a alien race, The Syrion, to simulate home. Yet what they soon begin to discover is that this new home is not home sweet home and more like a lab where they are the animal experiments.

Spark’s story is a narrative about how a crisis takes one out of their comfort zone or rut but can revitalize strained or dying relationships between people. The destruction of Earth and the suspicions about the Syrion brings Sam, Emma and Kat together again. It is also like an intergalactic versioning of history — the alien Syrions claim to “save” humans from their own destruction but it turns out that the former group may have actually caused the destruction of the other’s home or abducted them and quarantine them for their own desires, for experimentation, for control, for power. Sound familiar?

Continue reading Modern Griots Reviews: Nova Sparks’ ‘Dome’

Modern Griots Reviews: Rasheedah Phillips’ “Recurrence Plot and Other Time Travel Tales”

Recurrence Plot cover

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Experiment: Write a letter to your future self or past self. Try to meditate and astral project yourself into the body of one of those selves before or while you are writing to do so. Can you remember past and future memories?

(Not from the book but in the style of it)

If you study metaphysics and archetypal psychology, you might have heard the term synchronicity. Popularized by Carl Jung, synchronicity is defined as “the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events…that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality” or as he describes it, “synchronicity is the coming together of inner and outer events in a way that cannot be explained by cause and effect and that is meaningful to the observer. I’ll be honest I do believe in synchronicity because I have had numerous strange coincidences maybe because I was intuitively looking for something and happen to come across it, or I set things into motion by looking for something in one place and stumble across something relevant in another. For example, I applied for a poetry fellowship and I was compelled to go through the list of the previous fellows; one of them was Reginald Dwayne Betts. I read some of his poems and happened to like them. About a week or two later, I went to the library and randomly decided to look through the poetry section and found a collection of Robert Hayden poems. I remembered enjoying his poetry as well, so I flipped to the forward and started reading; the writers description sounded familiar and I didn’t realize why until I looked at the cover again and realized that it was written by Betts. How did I stumble across a collection introduced by Betts soon after I just found out about him? Hmmm? Does it mean something? I don’t know, but it was spooky.

Continue reading Modern Griots Reviews: Rasheedah Phillips’ “Recurrence Plot and Other Time Travel Tales”

The My-Stery: The “Label” of (Afro)futurism

I have not done this post in a while, so here it goes:

Recently, Shadow and Act reposted an essay from last year, “African Renaissance, How The Prefix ‘Afro-‘ May Arrest Imagination & Manifesto Salesmanship,” by Phetogo Tshepo Mahasha. I had a few thoughts about it that I formed during a private conversation with Cosmic Yoruba last year, but I never published them. So, I decided to do it now, especially after seeing Pumzi director Wanuri Kahiu’s TED Talk about labels:

Continue reading The My-Stery: The “Label” of (Afro)futurism