Posts tagged Science Fiction
Posts tagged Science Fiction
Books on Science Fiction and Black Speculative Critical Analysis
1. The Black Imagination: Science Fiction, Futurism and the Speculative (Black Studies and Critical Thinking) (2011) by Sandra Jackson - This critical collection covers a broad spectrum of works, both literary and cinematic, and issues from writers, directors, and artists who claim the science fiction, speculative fiction, and Afro-futurist genres.
2. Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film (2008) by Adilifu Nama - The first book-length study of African American representation in science fiction film, Black Space demonstrates that SF cinema has become an important field of racial analysis, a site where definitions of race can be contested and post-civil rights race relations (re)imagined.
3. Race in American Science Fiction (2011) by Isiah Lavender III - Race in American Science Fiction offers a systematic classification of ways that race appears and how it is silenced in science fiction, while developing a critical vocabulary designed to focus attention on often-overlooked racial implications. These focused readings of science fiction contextualize race within the genre’s better-known master narratives and agendas.
4. Horror Noire: Blacks in American Horror Films from 1890s to Present (2011) by Robin Means Coleman - Horror Noire presents a unique social history of blacks in America through changing images in horror films. Throughout the text, the reader is encouraged to unpack the genre’s racialized imagery, as well as the narratives that make up popular culture’s commentary on race. Offering a comprehensive chronological survey of the genre, this book addresses a full range of black horror films, including mainstream Hollywood fare, as well as art-house films, Blaxploitation films, direct-to-DVD films, and the emerging U.S./hip-hop culture-inspired Nigerian “Nollywood” Black horror films.
Does sci-fi have a race problem? If you’re The Atlantic, the answer is yes - yesterday, the magazine’s website ran this piece, wherein writer Noah Berlatsky argues that there are essentially four ways in which sci-fi handles race: metaphor, tokenism, diversity, and explicit narrative. It’s ambitious to try to construct a definitive thesis about an entire genre’s handling of race, especially a genre as diverse as sci-fi, and judging by the article’s mammoth comment section, which is basically like 500-plus comments by Roman DeBeers, Berlatsky has touched a nerve. I don’t want to tear him down here, but I do want to note one fundamental flaw in his thesis: it works from the assumption that all sci-fi starts from an essentially white male point of view and then either does or doesn’t address race. The problem with this approach is that it perpetuates the marginalization of sci-fi that doesn’t come from that point of view.
The genre has no problem imagining a future full of spaceships and aliens. A racially integrated society, though?
Time Travel Convention | Pt. 2 - Activation * Recurrence Plot Book Release features a sound installation built by Moor Mother Goddess w/ a 7-track collection corresponding to Recurrence Plot novel debuting April 5 at Yell Gallery. You can hear the tracks now at https://soundcloud.com/AfroFuturist-affair/sets/recurrence-plot and be sure to listen again with the book in hand.
Here’s an extract from the 1992 documentary, Black Sci-Fi, produced and directed by Terrence Francis for Moonlight Films and broadcast on BBC2 as part of the Birthrights series. The documentary focuses on Black science fiction in literature, film and television and features interviews with Octavia Butler, Samuel R. Delany, Mike Sergeant, Steven Barnes and Nichelle Nichols. Three parts are included in this extract. In the first, Octavia Butler discusses “how her interest in science fiction developed and the genre’s potential for exploring new ideas and ways of being”. In the second part, Samuel R. Delany, Mike Sergeant and Steven Barnes discuss “the stereotypical portrayal of black characters in science fiction literature and cinema, including the predictable fate of Paul Winfield in films like Damnation Alley, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and The Terminator“. And in the thirs part, Nichelle Nichols discusses the significance of her character, Uhura, in Star Trek and Steven Barnes and Mike Sergeant consider how attitudes towards race and skin colour might develop in the (far) future.
Believing that tools of self-determination lie within creative practices, The Laundromat Project uses the space of local coin-ops to provide communities of color living on modest incomes with broad access to visual art as a tool of personal and social transformation.
Over the course of several weeks, artists Sukjong Hong & Kameelah Rasheed exchanged email fragments, excerpts and other process notes on time-traveling Harriet Tubman, redaction, productive haunting, chopping and screwing time, the archive as a site of power, and the possibilities of science fiction for marginalized communities.
John Akomfrah, director of Seven Songs of Malcolm X, returns with an engaging and searing examination of the hitherto unexplored relationships between Pan-African culture, science fiction, intergalactic travel, and rapidly progressing computer technology.
This cinematic essay posits science fiction (with tropes such as alien abduction, estrangement, and genetic engineering) as a metaphor for the Pan-African experience of forced displacement, cultural alienation, and otherness.
Akomfrah’s analysis is rooted in an exploration of the cultural works of Pan-African artists, such as funkmaster George Clinton and his Mothership Connection, Sun Ra’s use of extraterrestrial iconography, and the very explicit connection drawn between these issues in the writings of black science fiction authors Samuel R. Delaney and Octavia Butler.
Join Leeway Foundation on December 8 to welcome writer and cultural organizer Adrienne Maree Brown for a lively conversation inspired by the work of visionary, post-apocalyptic, science-fiction author Octavia Butler. This discussion will explore the visionary qualities of science/speculative fiction with radical community organizing practice using Butler’s work.
Butler’s writing in The Parable series and other works instigates and provokes new thinking about how we can bring into being the kind of society that we want and expands what we might imagine. Through her protagonists, Butler illustrated adaptive, intuitive, shared leadership in practice. This recurrent theme, dubbed “Emergent Strategy,” will be a key focus of the afternoon’s discussion.
The event is free, but you must RSVP at http://leewayemergent.eventbrite.com/
Adrienne is a 2013 Kresge Literary Arts Fellow writing science fiction in Detroit. She is co-editor, with poet/activist Walidah Imarisha, of the forthcoming anthology Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements She has helped to launch the Octavia Butler and Emergent Strategy Reading Network for people interested in reading Octavia’s work from a political and strategic framework, and is building with the Octavia Butler Legacy Network on other ways of extending Butler’s work.
This workshop is presented in partnership with the following organizations: The AfroFuturist Affair, Apiary Magazine, ART SANCTUARY, Blackprint, Bread & Roses Community Fund, GriotWorks, Media Mobilizing Project, Metropolarity, Myth Media Studios, Thread Makes Blanket, and Training for Change.
From the origins of the genres, images of Black people in fantasy, horror and science fiction or speculative fiction (SF) have been inauthentic at best in the imaginations of white creators. From the “Fantastic Voyages” of the 1700s where Black pirates kidnapped white explorers to far off “alien” lands, to technologically advanced futures where Black people didn’t exist in any significant population, to post-nuclear holocaust America where modern Blacks took on aggressive pre-civilized behaviors, many of these ideas have created lasting impressions in the minds of their audiences and future creators. And though there were a few attempts by some white writers to use the genres for social commentary, for instance on race relations, these efforts were few and far in between.
There is however a significant output of work by Black creators, who used the techniques and themes of the genres to write alternative stories and to produce films that spoke closer to the realities of Black life. At the turn of the 20th century, Black writers wrote utopian and fantastical novels set during the days of slavery and Reconstruction. Independent Black filmmakers created low budget feature films exploring the effects of science and fantastical religious beliefs on the Black imagination. Harlem Renaissance writers jumped into the genre with “mad scientist” and “end of the world” scenarios commenting on the American race relations. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, two powerful and original voices emerged in the SF world writing tales with more inclusive pasts, presents and futures. Also in the 1970s, Black anti-heroes utilized science and the supernatural to secure Black justice. And later, there was the emergence of Black superheroes, who, though ready, willing and able to save the entire universe, first had to fight a homogenous industry.
Brought to life via interviews, film and event clips, text, graphics, music and narration, this documentary ultimately reveals that though often intermittent and mostly unseen, there is a canon of artistic work by Black creators in the SF genres, creating a universe all its own.
M. Asli Dukan, filmmaker and creator of Invisible Universe Documentary, will be featured at AfroFuturist Affair 2013 Charity & Costume Ball: Dark Phase Space. She will be screening clips of Invisible Universe, as well as filming parts of the Ball to add into the documentary!
Philadelphia public interest attorney, author, and Creative Director of AfroFuturist Affair Rasheedah Phillips speaks about the organization’s upcoming Annual Charity & Costume Ball and Afrofuturism as a medium for social commentary
Check out our interview with The Nobantu Project! The Nobantu Project is a dynamic magazine project highlighting the art and life of the African Diaspora and Africa while exchanging with other stories and experiences from around the globe.
October has been dubbed African American Speculative Fiction Month by a group of online enthusiasts.
In the loosely defined movement of afrofuturism artists use the imagery and language of science-fiction to construct visual narratives about identity, politics, and technology. Coined by cultural critics aiming to draw a connective thread through the work of artists and writers such as Parliament-Funkadelic, Sun Ra, Samuel R. Delany and Octavia Butler, afrofuturism re-examines technology through the lens of ‘the other’ Space is the Place features a mix of new, recent and historical work from Guillermo Gómez-Peña, David Huffman, Wendy Red Star and Saya Woolfalk in an investigation of the evolution and maturation of afrofuturism as these artists break away from the movement’s original constraints. All four artists create distinct landscapes and narratives that examine ‘the other’ in radically different ways. Together, these works form a constellation of new perspectives that explore the boundaries between fantasy and identity, drawing attention to how these themes affect our day-to-day social interactions.
10/12 - Appearing w/ Metropolarity crew at Philly Zine Fest @ The Rotunda
10/18 - Appearing at Philadelphia Printworks Fall Launch Party @ The House of Future Sciences
11/8 - Metropolarity tabling at PHILCON @ NJ Crowne Plaza Hotel
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