Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sci-Fi Can Close the Black Tech Gap

The Great Recession is fading into the pages of history,  mainstream America is rising from the ashes. However, the revival of the Black community will be a much more difficult task; full recovery may depend upon science fiction.

The growth of our economy is directly related to technological innovation.  For example, the Internet has turned barefooted entrepreneurs into overnight billionaires. E-commerce is booming. Smartphones and "apps" are transforming the way we communicate, sell and buy. More astounding inventions are soon to come.  What was fantasy yesterday is becoming science fact, today. Autonomous cars will replace taxi drivers. Factories will be completely controlled by robots. The tourist industry will be literary out of this world. Home schooling will include getting a university degree while sitting on the edge of your sofa bed. We will have to adapt daily if we want to thrive in the 21st century. But where do we get the tools to rebuild an entire community in this new age?  We can start by reading more science fiction.

I and many of my Black Science Fiction Society colleagues are seeing an impressive surge among African Americans who are buying sci-fi (also called speculative fiction) paperbacks and e-books.  Speculative fiction brings a sense of wonder and motivation to young and old readers. Sci-fi celebrates the successes of Black astronauts, scientists, engineers and innovators engrossed in 21st century activities.  Spec-Fic can provide a practical path to new career choices, and help to close any tech gap that might threaten the Black community. In the chapters of any well-conceived speculative fiction tale are visions of prosperity and personal fulfillment that Black populaces can eagerly embrace.

Recently reelected President Obama acknowledges that the dynamics of America have changed. Employment opportunities that dried up during the Great Recession are gone forever. The World Future Society likewise predicts that, "Many recently lost jobs may never come back. Rather than worry about unemployment, however, tomorrow’s workers will focus on developing a variety of skills that could keep them working productively and continuously, whether they have jobs or not." Science fiction stories are a treasure chest of ideas to enhance our lifestyles.

Urban novels and hip hop fiction gave the publishing industry profitable inroads to literary enthusiasts of African heritage. It helped to ignite a reading frenzy. Booksellers and public libraries stocked their shelves and databases with publications that offered gritty tales of dark mean streets filled with outrageous, streetwise gangsters and sly, mini-skirted vixens. But another wave is on the horizon; a rising tide of titles that offer hi-tech space ships, super soldiers, and savvy world geniuses.

These fantasies can become realities with a little hard work. 

Buy more Black Sci-Fi. It will change your life.

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