Back to the Future, Cake Boss, and Xenophobia

Anti-immigrant policies like the travel ban from majority Muslim countries have dominated the launch of Trump’s presidency. And while most Americans didn’t vote for Trump and don’t support these plans, millions of Americans do have a deep bias against immigrants. That’s a reality people working for a more just and compassionate future have to change. Can pop culture help fight xenophobia in America?   One of the most popular archetypes in fiction, and especially in speculative fiction, is the “stranger in a strange land.” You know it. An 11-year-old boy finds out he’s part of a secret world of wizards. …

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Alternative Facts, Fake News, and Our Dystopian Present

Shredded newsprint

I’ve found it hard to write about Trump. I’ve faced writer’s block in the same way I’ve faced decision paralysis about my activism: with so much wrong, where do you start? But there’s one issue that underlies all the others, and that’s the Trump Administration’s attack on the media — and worse, our society’s abandonment of facts. This isn’t new. It’s no surprise that the candidate who banned reporters on the campaign trail would refuse to let them ask questions in press conferences after he becomes president. It’s appalling, but again not surprising, that Steve Bannon told the media to …

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Comedy Sci-Fi to Survive Inauguration Weekend

As Donald Trump is sworn into office tomorrow, there will be at least 64 million Americans who are scared of the future, inspired to fight back, and/or in need of an escape from reality. Science fiction and fantasy are great because they can alternately offer all three. But sci-fi also tends toward the dark and terrifying — something that quite frankly no one needs more of at the moment. So grab a warm blanket and a stiff drink and tuck into these satirical speculative fiction movies and TV shows to help you make it through inauguration weekend:   If you’re …

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Win a Free Worldbuilding for Change Workshop

2017 marks a new political climate in America. And for organizations looking to make a better future, it will be one of the toughest you’ve ever faced. At FutureShift, we want to help your organization imagine the bold, strategic solutions we’ll need over the next four years, and help you keep your supporters (and maybe even your staff) motivated about the potential for creating change. To help you do that, we’re giving away two of our signature Worldbuilding for Change workshops this month. We’re looking for smart, innovative organizations who, like Katniss, Frodo, and our other favorite heroes of speculative …

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Review: Infomocracy Gives Us Democracy at its Best and Worst

Democracy is the worst system of government, except for all the others. This is the central tenet of Malka Older’s debut novel Infomocracy, which does in fine form what I wish more speculative fiction would attempt: she uses fiction to imagine better ways for our society to operate. Then, of course, it all goes to hell. In Infomocracy, set decades in our future, modern nation-states no longer exist. Instead, the globe is divided into centenals: regions with a population of 100,000 that vote to choose their own local government. In sparsely populated rural areas, one centenal could cover hundreds of …

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Escaping Dystopia: How Stories Matter in a Trump Presidency

I didn’t expect this. Election night changed so much for our work, our progressive movement, for all the issues that we care about. I spent the past week reeling, grieving, trying to process what happened and what Trump’s presidency will mean for me and people I care about. I wondered what I can do. I’m sure you went through a similar cycle. When Amanda and I talked last week, we had to ask each other: what does this mean for FutureShift? We’ve both put our hearts into this project, and we believe deeply in it, but at a moment when …

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