Creative Brother's Sci-Fi Magazine

Tagged: Publication

US low-paying print-on-demand Semiprozine produced and edited by Cecil Washington of Oxon Hill, Maryland. It ran for eleven issues from October 2003 to May 2008, usually two issues per year. The magazine was dedicated to running Speculative Fiction either by black writers or featuring black characters and black themes, but it was evident from Washington's regular editorial pleas that acquiring such fiction in sufficient quantity and quality was a constant struggle, added to which sales of the magazine were disappointingly low. Moreover, the magazine's presentation was let down by uneven printing and a general lacklustre appearance, but it is a testament to Washington's determination and resilience that he sustained Creative Brother's Sci-Fi for nearly five years. He had to rely heavily on his own material and on reprints, but over the eleven issues he did manage to print some challenging new stories, with work by Chris Hayden, Robert Jackson, Steve Mitchel and Malon Edwards. Most revealing about the magazine, however, were the editorial and contributors' comments about the nature and role of black sf, particularly in an article by Chris Hayden, "If It Ain't Speculative and it Ain't Fiction, Need Black Folks Read Speculative Fiction?" (May 2006 #7), which challenged the relevance of science fiction to black readers, and a sequel, "He Said, She Said" (November 2006 #8) which was an exchange of emails between Hayden and Ellen Datlow over the original essay. Although neither item reaches any firm conclusions they both raised a host of questions about the relevance of most science fiction to a potential black readership and how the situation could be improved. It was this matter that Cecil Washington was trying to address and which, after eleven magazine issues, remained uncertain but still pertinent. [MA]

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