Civilization and Conquest: Colonial Echoes & Themes in Sci-Fi

Civilization and Conquest: Colonial Echoes & Themes in Sci-Fi – March 19, 2022 at 12:30 EST

Many aspects of mainstream Science Fiction involve or revolve around themes of discovery and exploration. As Science Fiction boldly explores the far reaches of space and other dimensions, or extrapolates futures — utopic, dystopic and in-between — writers face a challenge to capture the magical moments of discovery while addressing the fact that many ‘magical moments’ of discovery in human history were followed by exploitation, war, and varying forms of oppression for the resources and peoples ‘discovered’.

As far as we fling our minds to encompass the vast imagined (and not-yet imagined!) corners of the universe, echoes of colonialism and conquest follow. Science Fiction offers an ideal arena for reimagining history or reengineering the future. How themes of discovery, conquest, exploration, and colonialism are treated in plot, character and worldbuilding elements sends a message to readers and sets a tone for the future.

This panel is part of Storycrafting Sessions: Science Fiction, a 100% FREE virtual conference happening on March 19th!

Sign up for this panel or look at the full event schedule!

The Moderator

Jade Benjamin headshot

Jade Benjamin

Jade Benjamin is a Canadian writer and editor who is fiercely in love with language, words, and magical worlds. She is currently working hard to build a freelance writing and editing career around her 9-5 expenses-paying job and loves working on projects that expand her knowledge of story and structure.

Jade‘s preferred ambit is speculative secondary world fiction, and her experience with the genre runs the gamut from portal fantasy to sci-fi, with a particular emphasis on worldbuilding and magic systems. When she isn’t working, writing or editing, Jade can be found reading, keeping up with an inordinate number of podcasts, adopting furry family members and contributing to Weeknight Writers events.

The Guests

EK Barnes headshot

EK Barnes

E.K. Barnes is primarily an urban fantasy and science fiction author. Her stories are often geared toward youth and young adults who not only enjoy reading about (or relating to) characters grappling with real-world issues but revel in stories with a super-powered edge. Her debut novel, When the Divine Are Dead, was a semi-finalist in the 2021 Kindle Book Awards’ young adult category. For a brief time, E.K. was the owner and operator of Scribe Stash—a personalized subscription box service for readers and writers. She holds a passion for awareness and advocacy work, specifically regarding social issues and mental health.

E.K. is a member of the Independent Author Network. She is a 2014 graduate of Olathe Northwest High School in Kansas and has been a student at Johnson County Community College, MidAmerica Nazarene University, and Southern New Hampshire University.

E.K. comes from a family of creatives—her brother is a musician with dreams of becoming a film composer, her sister is a graphic designer and illustrator, and her parents both hold degrees in music.

She currently resides in Kansas with her dog.

Jonathan Nevair

Jonathan Nevair headshot

Jonathan Nevair (he/him/his) is a science fiction writer and, as Dr. Jonathan Wallis, an art historian and Professor of Art History at Moore College of Art & Design, Philadelphia. After two decades of academic teaching and publishing, Jonathan finally got up the nerve to write fiction. 

His space opera trilogy, Wind Tide (Goodbye to the Sun, Jati’s Wager, and No Song, But Silence) was inspired by Ancient Greek texts and myths and released in 2021. Stellar Instinct, a standalone spy-fi space adventure, is slated to release in November 2022.

Jonathan’s books explore speculative secondary worlds where language, culture, ethics, technology, and gender are reimagined to inspire human potential and growth (space opera sprinkled with a dash of hopepunk.) Jonathan’s books are published by Shadow Spark Publishing.

Find out more about Jonathan and his books at

Joyce Reynolds-Ward

Joyce Reynolds-Ward headshot

Joyce Reynolds-Ward has been called “the best writer I’ve never heard of” by one reviewer. Her work includes themes of high-stakes family and political conflict, physical and digital sentience, personal agency and control, realistic strong women, and (whenever possible) horses.

She is the author of The Netwalk Sequence series, the Goddess’s Honor series, and the recently released The Martiniere Legacy series as well as standalones Klone’s Stronghold and Alien Savvy. Samples of her Martiniere short stories/novel in progress and her nonfiction can be found on Substack at either Speculations from the Wide Open Spaces (writing), Speculations on Politics and Political History (politics), or Martiniere Stories (fiction).

Joyce is a Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off Semifinalist, a Writers of the Future SemiFinalist, and an Anthology Builder Finalist. She is the Secretary of the Northwest Independent Writers Association and a member of Soroptimists International.

Find out more about Joyce at her website. Joyce is @JoyceReynoldsW1 on Twitter.

Brandon Morehouse

Brandon Morehouse headshot

Brandon Morehouse was raised in the small town of Essex, in the green and grassy state of Iowa. Brandon considers his family and friends to be the most important parts of his life. If he isn’t spending time with them, you can almost always find him cooking, reading, or at the gym. New Age Gods: Discovery is Brandon’s debut novel.

Find the full schedule for all our event panels here! Civilization and Conquest: Colonial Echoes & Themes in Sci-Fi is a part of the Storycrafting Sessions: Science Fiction virtual conference.

This event is hosted by the Weeknight Writers group and sponsored by Renaissance Press.

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