As part of #BlackSpeculativeFictionMonth, we are celebrating Black voices in speculative fiction writing. We caught up with Mocha Memoirs Author Ronald T. Jones and asked him some questions related to his latest release — Blood, Sweat, and Blaster Bolts. Here’s what he had to say:

MP: What do you find so compelling about space as a setting for storytelling?

Ronald: Space is a vast, endless, obstacle-free venue for conflicts to be played out. It is also a great place to show off spaceships and demonstrate their power.

On a personal level, space always represented for me the next step in humanity’s progress, the idea of leaving Earth and navigating through an endless, cold gulf to reach our next planetary destination. Or perhaps we don’t need to settle a planet. Spaceborne habitats with environments mimicking Earth’s are also viable.

MP: That’s a great lead-in to my next question. Why do you love Science Fiction? What does Science Fiction mean to you?

Ronald: Science fiction is the most visionary of genres. As an adolescent, I was mesmerized by the vivid explosions and frenetic space combat of Star Wars as well the star-spanning adventures featured in original Star Trek reruns.

As I grew older and more discerning in my viewing and reading of science fiction, I realized that beyond the visual bells and whistles, much of the science fiction I enjoyed contained relevant messages and commentary pertaining to science, technology and social issues.

In Star Wars, historical themes were woven into the narrative. The idea of a democratic republic being supplanted by a repressive, authoritarian regime and not through force, but voluntarily; that was played out most prominently in German history with Hitler’s electoral rise to power and the subsequent dissolution of the Weimar Republic.

The original Star Trek episode, ‘Let That be your last Battle Field’ tackled the issue of American racism. It was an admirable attempt by Star Trek to shed light on race relations, using science fiction as a vehicle.

2001, Terminator, and Matrix became cautionary tales, each envisioning how our relationship with technology could take a downward spiral if humans fail to carefully govern its use.

MP: Thank you, Ronald. If you love Science Fiction as much as we do, we think you will enjoy Ronald’s work as well. Often described as Tom Clancy set in space and praised for his realistic and believable depictions of combat and its impact, Ronald’s books are well-written space adventures full of action and intrigue. Pick up a copy today!

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