Who is Cassandra Sojourn?
My name is Cassandra. I adopt the last name Sojourn in honor of Sojourner Truth, who dedicated her life in pursuit of liberation for Black Women. I relate with Sojourn because of my love for travel and shared experiences with folks from all backgrounds.
I am a biracial, Black woman. I am also a nerd.
I’ve always loved reading speculative fiction: whether it be supernatural fantasy, dystopian novels, or reimagined fairy tales. I obsessed over science fiction that explored the nature of humanity through advanced technology, space travel, or alien life. The problem? I never saw myself in those books. It was only in my twenties that I began discovering writers who looked like me.
As a teenager, I would pour through DnD manuels. But I never played a game until I was thirty because I didn’t think women, especially Black women were allowed a seat at the table.
I love to tell stories. I’ve been writing since I could pick up a pencil. In each story I wrote, however, the characters were white. I’d only read about white characters so I believed they were all that belonged.
Thankfully, those times are moving past. The expansiveness of the online world has shown me that I am not alone. My experiences are not unfamiliar. There is a movement. I am one writer who has joined it.
What is this space about?
This space celebrates diverse voices within the nerd realm. There are a litany of speculative writers who not only reflect the make-up of our world, but seek to ask challenging questions which address choices that have harmed Black and diverse bodies.
I promote BIPOC speculative works. Including self-published, indie-published, and traditionally-published works. Long-term, I hope this will be not only a community forum to dialogue with other creators, but also a place to connect BIPOC publishers, editors, and creators.
Finally, this is a space where we can think critically about the changing landscape in the speculative genre and how it has helped spawn a new era of sub-genres, such as Afrofuturism, which seeks to redefine our history as Black folks and how we relate to technology and the future. I think we can all agree Black Panther was incredible, but let’s also remember Sun-Ra who helped bring us to that future. These speculative genres span beyond written work into music, fashion, and visual art. It is not just about what we write, but the movement to reclaim our history and build a vision for a brighter future.
Speculative work as advocacy.
I’m not Black, do I belong here? Can I share my work?
This is a positive environment that is inclusive and affirming towards all people. I bring my lenses as an American Black woman. As such, I will primarily focus on works from the BIPOC community. However, intersectional identity plays a vital role in each of our daily lives and how we experience the world around us. For this reason, I will shine light on works from other diverse creators, as well.
This is a space that affirms immigrants and refugees–undocumented and documented–LGBTIQ people, people with disabilities, and neurodivergent people. All are welcome! We encourage critical examination, creative thinking, and constructive critique. However, any words or actions that tear down an individual–especially if it is based on identity–will not be tolerated.
What do you mean by “speculative works”? Is this just for hard-sci and horror folks?
For this space, I take a broad umbrella for both the terms “Speculative” and “Works”.
Speculative: Anything Out of the Ordinary. This includes, but is not limited to: science fiction works of any sub-genre, fantasy works of any sub-genre, comic books and manga, horror and paranormal, fairy tales and mythology, alternative histories, dystopian and utopian fictions, supernatural romance, and any combination of the aforementioned. I also include all genres of RPG games and world-building exercises. I’m sure I am leaving a genre out. If you think it is speculative, it more than likely is.
Additionally, because diverse speculative work is tied up in advocacy and rights. I will shine light on non-fiction works, including those that discuss speculative fiction, as well as critically examine identity in America and Anti-Racist movements.
Works: This space primarily focuses on the written media. This includes: short stories, novels, graphic novels, RPG game manuals, and world-building exercises. However, movies, short films, television series, anime, and plays will be examined. Art, architecture, technology, fashion, dance, and cos-play will serve as inspiration and celebration.
The goal is bring diverse Speculative Creators together to create a movement.