At NPR, Ramtin Arablouei reflects on the the urgency of Octavia Butler‘s novels and why her work calls on us to use our greatest power: to change. “As we celebrate Black History Month, we should also remember her as a prophetic visionary like so many before her,” Arablouei writes. “She imagined worlds like the one we are living in, but encouraged each of us to dream our own dreams and to respond to the fear of uncertainty with creativity and bravery. As the Earthseed maxim tells us, ‘All that you touch, You Change …'”
“You’ll engage with your advisor in a free-form dialogue about essential skills such as plotting your next career, pacing your financial ruin, structuring TV binge-watching during optimal writing hours, and characterizing all of this as ‘learning how to fail.'” Hey, this new low-competency MFA from the fictitious Half Mast College sounds pretty great. Here’s our own Hannah Gersen on why she has foregone the MFA route entirely.
“Rather than presenting a single, definitive story—an ostensibly objective chronicle of events—these books offer a past of competing perspectives, of multiple voices. They are not so much historical as archival: instead of giving us the imagined experience of an event, they offer the ambiguous traces that such events leave behind.” On the role of realist historical fictions.
Back in 2013, Ted Gioia wrote a piece for The Millions about an old sci-fi novel that correctly predicted the future. Since then, he’s embarked on an ambitious project that expands on his interest in sci-fi, exploring how the most radical sci-fi writers of the sixties paved the way for much of modern fiction. As he puts it, “I focus on this era in the history of sci-fi because it laid the groundwork for one of the most important developments in current-day fiction.”
Two of my favorite writing contests are wrapping up this October. You have until the first of the month to enter the Missouri Review’s Editors’ Prize Contest. $5,000 will be awarded to the best fiction, essay, and poetry. Meanwhile, you have until October 31st to enter DIAGRAM’s Essay Contest, which is open to all types of essays such as those “in an expansive sense, meaning essay as experiment, essay as heterogenous and sometimes strange or unruly beast.” That contest’s prize is $1,000 plus publication.