SOBSFic ConStudies have shown that, in the general population, Science Fiction and Fantasy has an impact on the teaching of values and critical literacy to young adults. Science Fiction challenges readers to first imagine and then to realize the future of not only the novel they are reading but, also the future of the world in which they live.

Looking at the most visible popular examples of Epic Fantasy – J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard and bestselling authors J.K. Rowling, George R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan – a casual observer might assume that big, continent-spanning sagas with magic in them are always set in some imaginary variation on Medieval – and, sometimes, even modern – Britain. The stories include the common tropes – swords, talismans of power, wizards and the occasional dragon, all in a world where Black people rarely exist; and those who do appear are decidedly peripheral and usually work for the bad guys.

That same casual observer might therefore conclude that Epic Fantasy – one of today’s most popular genres of fiction – would hold little interest for Black readers and even less for Black writers. But that casual observer would be wrong.

SteamfunkChildren and young adults of African descent can – and do – relate to the experiences in Science Fiction and Fantasy. Indeed, they crave these experiences and read speculative fiction just as voraciously as young adults of other races. But the lack of self-images in this literature can have a negative effect on the psyche of young readers and can, indeed, contribute to negative behavior. We derive our perceptions of self by what we hear, see, and read and our perception directly affects our actions.

The Process of Action works as follows:

Perception (precedes Thought)

Thought (precedes Impulse)

Impulse (precedes Action)


If the Perception of ourselves is a person who lacks courage, integrity and goodness – because we do not see ourselves possessing heroic qualities in most books – the Thought creeps into our minds that we lack those heroic qualities, so we are – by default – villains. The Thought grows into a strong Impulse to be the villain; and finally, the Action of villainy takes place.

However, if – through Fantasy and Science Fiction written with Black characters as the heroes – our youth begin to perceive themselves as heroic…as hard working…as good…they will begin to act in accord with how they perceive themselves.

With these facts in mind, the Founders of SOBSFic Con have added a Youth Track to the programming.

We have broken the programming down to offerings for Children and for Teens. Check them out:

Children (ages 6 – 11)

Afrikan Music and Movement

The children will learn traditional dances and traditional Afrikan drumming and the history behind these enriching traditions.

Create Your Own Comic Book

 Participants will learn how to make comic books, from beginning to end, story board to final page.

Hair Braiding

Learn how to braid hair in beautiful and traditional fashions from Afrika and throughout the Diaspora.

Story Time

Guest readers read their favorite Black speculative fiction picture book and children enjoy juice and cookies while listening.

Black Speculative Trivial Pursuit

Children compete against their peers for the title of champion of Black Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror trivia.

Magic Show

The children will be treated to an amazing magic show.


Teens (ages 12-17)

Books and Authors We Love

Teens talk about their favorite books and authors in this open discussion.

Reading and Q&A

Come hear short readings throughout the convention by YA authors, followed by an opportunity to ask questions about their writing, their experiences, and their careers.

Video Games We Love

Teens talk about their favorite video games in this open discussion. Video Games creators will be on hand to join the conversation.

Steamfunk Style

What makes a costume “steamfunk?” What props do you need to do it right? How do you create a steamfunk persona? Teens will receive the answers to these questions and more from our panel of Steamfunkateers.

Comics Creators Panel

Our panel of comics creators talk about their work and answer questions!

We Love Anime

Teens talk about their favorite anime and manga in this open discussion with anime and manga creators. Part of this discussion will highlight Black characters and creators in anime and manga.

Teens Talk to Authors

Authors talk about what they like to write and listen to what teens like to read.

Let’s Draw a Comic Strip

Work together with other teens to create a comic strip that tells a story without words. How are comics made? How does graphic storytelling work? Join in and find out!

Hair Braiding Workshop

Learn how to braid hair in beautiful and traditional fashions from Afrika and throughout the Diaspora. Brothers – this is not just for the sisters! Learning to braid your friends’ hair will make you very popular and maybe even a little cash on the side. Come try it out!



About Balogun

Balogun is the author of the bestselling Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within and screenwriter / producer / director of the films, A Single Link, Rite of Passage: Initiation and Rite of Passage: The Dentist of Westminster. He is one of the leading authorities on Steamfunk – a philosophy or style of writing that combines the African and / or African American culture and approach to life with that of the steampunk philosophy and / or steampunk fiction – and writes about it, the craft of writing, Sword & Soul and Steampunk in general, at He is author of eight novels – the Steamfunk bestseller, MOSES: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman (Books 1 & 2); the Urban Science Fiction saga, Redeemer; the Sword & Soul epic, Once Upon A Time In Afrika; a Fight Fiction, New Pulp novella, Fist of Afrika; the gritty, Urban Superhero series, A Single Link and Wrath of the Siafu; the two-fisted Dieselfunk tale, The Scythe and the “Choose-Your-Own-Destiny”-style Young Adult novel, The Keys. Balogun is also contributing co-editor of two anthologies: Ki: Khanga: The Anthology and Steamfunk. Finally, Balogun is the Director and Fight Choreographer of the Steamfunk feature film, Rite of Passage, which he wrote based on the short story, Rite of Passage, by author Milton Davis and co-author of the award winning screenplay, Ngolo. You can reach him on Facebook at; on Twitter @Baba_Balogun and on Tumblr at

6 responses »

  1. Constance says:

    Yeah! I can’t wait. My son will love this.

  2. Fujimoto says:

    It gets more exciting. You’re going to make a lot of kids happy, I bet.

  3. […] Earlier, we gave you a sneak peek at our tracks for SOBSFic Con, the epic Black Speculative Fiction convention coming June 17-18, 2016. Then, we presented the Youth Track. […]

  4. […] I’m talking about is SOBSFic Con, the State of Black Science Fiction Convention, the long awaited family-friendly convention that brings together creators and fans of Black Speculative Fiction, Film, Cosplay and […]

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