Speculative Series: The Otherworld Without the Othering - Remote!

Saturday, February 13th, from 10:30am-1:30pm (EST)
Remote! (Live Zoom Meetings)
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
This class is full

Scifi, fantasy, and all of their sibling genres love a good underdog. Here, orphans, outcasts, second sons become heroes at every turn. At the same time, many imagined worlds have long upheld the biases and divisions of the primary world, constructing societies rooted in medieval European traditions and leaning on the essentialism of fictional “races.” Increasingly, contemporary speculative fiction is pushing the boundaries not only of physics, but of social structures.

In this seminar, we’ll examine existing tropes in SFF and look at writers who are turning those tropes on their heads. We’ll brainstorm ways to avoid cliches (and problematic tropes) in your stories. We’ll ask, “How does the Otherworld express being Othered?” and talk about using the particular powers of speculative fiction to create inclusive worlds and reflect on primary-world conflicts in constructive ways. Authors may include folks like Octavia Butler, Tomi Adeyemi, Nnedi Okorafor, Arcady Martine, Micaiah Johnson, Annalee Newitz, Catherynne M Valente, and Jordan Ifueko.

This class will be hosted using live Zoom meetings! You will be able to participate in class via Zoom videoconference from wherever you’re most comfortable. All you’ll need is a laptop or a phone! About 15 minutes before your class is scheduled to begin, you'll receive an email from your instructor with a link to join the class meeting via Zoom–no need to download anything or sign up for Zoom in advance! If you have questions about remote learning, please feel free to reach out to [email protected] for more information.

For a glimpse at how remote learning works, look no further than the deep Zoom discussion of writing and literature below:

Scholarship Information

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

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Stephanie K Brownell

Previous Students Say

  • "Inspired Me to Write More"
  • "Inundated with Great Info"


  • Generate New Work
  • In-Class Writing
  • Instructor Feedback
  • Lecture
  • In-Class Reading
  • Class Discussion
  • Computer or Tablet Recommended
  • Concept Development


  • The Novel
  • Short Fiction

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