This week, I’m featuring a trailer for the Black Science Fiction Society’s Genesis: An Anthology of Black Science Fiction Book 1, in order to take a look at the purpose-driven trailer. This trailer was produced by purpose-driven organization selling a purpose-driven book. So, let’s take a look at how that works:
The first thing I notice is the background music, which is rather loud and not something I typically associate with the speculative fiction genre. Musically speaking, I tend to fare pretty badly when it comes to accurate genre labels, so I’m not going to guess which genre this music falls under. I’m assuming the music has something to do with black culture, though I can’t be sure. It sounds a lot like the kind of music I hear blaring out of vehicles driven up and down “the strip,” which have sound systems that are as expensive, if not more expensive, than the vehicles themselves, where it seems the vehicle in question actually bounces down the road. These vehicles are driven by racially-diverse (but predominantly white) teenagers who drive for lack of more engaging, less gas-guzzling forms of entertainment in our otherwise sedate city.
I’m not against the music. It just doesn’t seem to fit the trailer, other than the possibility that it is racially distinctive in a way I don’t recognize. With a beat like that, I would expect something with a little more impact, something that produces more of an adrenaline rush. This trailer definitely did not produce an adrenaline rush for me.
Instead, we get text that introduces the Black Science Fiction Society, the Debut Publication, and then moves right into a list of the genres…Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy. The pictures, along with the music, break the traditional WASP character standard, which is, of course, the whole point. We also learn there is a mix of seasoned and up-and-coming authors represented in the anthology, and that the stories are “enthralling,” though little evidence is provided to back up those claims (like author names or story plots, characters, ect.). The trailer then provides us with the means to purchase the anthology. And that is pretty much it.
Next, I must say, as per the research I was able to do without joining said society, it seems they are what the society’s name suggests: An organization dedicated to encouraging and promoting multi-racial (particularly black) science fiction (though, they are not actually limited to science fiction). This is a good thing. In my experience, speculative fiction (especially books) tends to be race-neutral, which often leads to the default assumption of being white. Despite being immersed in a white-dominated culture from birth, I’ve never really understood the assumption that the future (in particular) would be white-dominated, considering that “white” is the minority race, globally speaking, and it also tends to be the recessive race, meaning a multi-racial couple is more likely to have a child with a medium or darker skin tone than one with a lighter skin tone. So, sure, multi-racial speculative fiction is all to the good. And, unfortunately, to get us there we have to have organizations and people devoted to getting us there; otherwise, we’d have already been there instead of needing to get there. Awareness doesn’t happen by itself, and getting people to actually veer from preconceived notions is even harder.
So, I do not object to their purpose. Nor do I object to an anthology that is selected based on purpose-driven criteria. But, unless the purpose-driven nature of the work is all that it has going for it (which, by the way, would not be good for either the purpose or the anthology), then the purpose should not be the most engaging thing about the trailer.
I may love this book. I may want to buy it. I may want to read it. But I wouldn’t possibly know that, because I don’t have enough information to pique my interest, let alone have a strong incentive to act. All I know about the book is that the content was selected based on purpose-driven criteria and that it includes science fiction, horror and fantasy. That’s not enough to make for a strong pitch, let alone a sale.