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The Portal to a New Sci-Fi Reading Group is Open

November 28, 2022 Spring 2022

Participants Joao, Jules, Fee, Heather, Meghna, Kayla, Nancy, and Laissa introducing themselves to each other and reflecting on a past piece of literature that stuck with them in/out of the RPWF class.

As participant Heather Thompson said, “Oh my god! The gang’s back together” in a new six-week long science fiction reading group Reading into the Past / Writing into the Future: Portal Unlocked hosted by Ashley Jane Lewis. The group meets synchronously (on Zoom) and asynchronously (on Discord) to discuss a novel written by an author of color, selected by the host. The group is composed of former participants of Reading into the Past / Writing into the Future (RPWF), a class originally taught by Ashley Jane Lewis with assistant teacher Carey J. Flack as a 10-week class in the Winter and Spring seasons in 2022.

“Remember, you’re not alone—you’re not reading by yourself, you’re reading together.” —Ashley Jane Lewis

Participants opened their eyes to greet each other in a round of intimate, heartwarming introductions between participants who did and didn’t know each other from the two past classes: Seeds for a New Pattern (Winter 2022) and Messages from the Mud (Spring 2022). Some participants reflected on how they’ve gone on to become friends and develop collaborative projects inspired by the class—a true indication of learning and friendship beyond the classroom.

The Cover of Binti: The Complete Triology by Nnedi Okafor

Next, Ashley revealed the highly anticipated reading: Binti: The Complete Triology by Nnedi Okorafor. Binti is described as an Africanfuturist science fiction horror about a young woman named Binti whose aptitude for mathematics lands her at the presitigous Oomza University, which turns into a treacherous journey with unexpected violent ends…which participants in this reading group will soon uncover.

The session closed with a live peer reading from the first chapter of Binti. Participant Fee Christoph started with the opening line which read, “I powered up the transporter and said a silent prayer.” The rest of the participants took turns reading sentences and paragraphs. Next month, the reading group will get together again on the other side of the book.