An exhibit at the Cushing Memorial Library and Archives aims to highlight the wide array of races, religions, genders, sexual orientations and cultures represented in the worlds of sci-fi and fantasy.
“The Stars are Ours: Infinite Diversities in Science Fiction & Fantasy” will be on display until Sept. 20. It has categories regarding time travel, alternate history, first contact, afro-futurism, fantasy, superheroes, horror, space opera and more.
Jeremy Brett, curator of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection, said the new exhibit is meant to showcase a vast collection of voices, ideas and perspectives in sci-fi and fantasy in order to explore diversity in the genres.
“One of the themes of the exhibit is the idea that science fiction was created by white men,” Brett said. “What this exhibit is trying to show is that that’s never been true. There’s good science fiction and fantasy and horror from all kinds of different people and about all kinds of different people, and the genre is richer because of that. There’s room in this genre for everybody.”
Author Tananarive Due visited A&M in March for the exhibit’s opening and delivered a talk in Rudder Forum. Due said her mother and others have faced hardships during the civil rights movement so that there could be black authors like herself today.
After her presentation, Due said the importance of diversity is that it challenges people with new ways of thinking and promotes human growth. She also spoke about art as a healthy way to deal with trauma and confront one’s fears.
“All throughout history, the cultures that progress more quickly are those cultures that interact with other cultures … and the cultures that don’t progress are the ones in isolated pockets,” Due said. “Horror just seems scary; why would something scary be good for you? But I really feel like horror helps people visualize an internal demon and make it external. At the end, you can sort of sigh and be relieved because it’s not real, I confronted it and I’m fine.”
Exhibit visitor and zoology sophomore Alexis Coronilla said he enjoyed exploring the works on display and seeing many names he had never heard of before.
“I’d say it’s a very interesting collection,” Coronilla said. “It’s good to know [the authors’] names are being put out there.”
Due said students should take advantage of the opportunity to engage with the diverse roster of stories available in today’s world.
“It’s a great time to be a young person, that’s for sure,” Due said. “It’s a really exciting time to be a fan of any kind of genre, because there has never been so many different kinds of stories to enjoy.”