Great moments in the history of black science fiction

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Morrison and Tutola seem odd additions, their work being more fantastical-mythical in nature than SF. But maybe add Camara Laye’s Radiance of the King as another trippy journey into the unknown?

Also thinking that many slave narratives present whitefolks as alien and occultly powerful: the ships, guns, language, etc. are often presented in fantastical, magical, this-was-incomprehensible ways: cf. Olaudah Equiano, for one. So perhaps it’s worth considering extending the genealogy back a bit.

Right My Life in The Bush of Ghosts has pretty much no science fiction in it. Unless you count a few of the “ghosts” having connections to modern technology. Like the TV headed ghost. Its is resolutely fantasy, if not out and out folklore.

Tutuola’s great, but it drawing a pretty long bow to call it science fiction. It’s even a bit odd to think of it as fantasy - he’s from another tradition. SF/F has a long long tradition of trying to claim famous ancestors, right back to Lucien of Samasota.

It would be understandable to try to keep write writers out completely, but since others are in there, I would have thought that Ursula K. Leguin’s Wizard of Earthsea would have been there. Especially given her defense of it in light of SyFy networks whitewashing of the characters -

I don’t think any of the authors on that list are white.


Man, I wish the linked-to article had warned us of such deviousness! Them black writuhs sho is wiley.

Just one caveat before you start ordering and downloading and diving into things: some of these works could be construed as fantasy rather than science fiction. The distinction between these two imaginative genres is often blurred, and it’s especially hard to make out their boundaries when exploring the writing of African-descended authors. Why? Because access to the scientific knowledge from which SF often derives has been denied to people of the African diaspora for much of history. And the classification of what is and is not scientific knowledge hasn’t been under our control — it’s frequently a matter of dispute. Also, it’s sometimes difficult to understand the history of black science fiction without reference to the history of black fantasy.

Frankly I’m probably being punchy because I’m more interested in broader approaches to fantasy than sci-fi, and I would have preferred to see a list of fantasy works where the sci-fi nerds got to bitch about how so and so’s stuff was really sci-fi. Also Tutuola is a personal favorite. His work is a lot more tied to folklore, and cultural traditions specific to where he’s from than it is to the context of fantasy literature as a whole. So I might have preferred a list where he was every entry. And now I am going to go find where my copy of Drinkard/Bush of Ghosts went. Probably the only book/s I discovered as an adult that I’ve re-read more than books I discovered as a child or adolescent. Beautiful, beautiful things those stories.

Also that is uncalled for, and pretty fucking gross.

FOUND IT, still smells like a fresh, clean paperback unfortunately. I was hoping it would have musty old book smell by now. I guess 12 years isn’t enough. (Am I the only one who smells their books?).

OMG no. Bigtime booksniffer, here.

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I just read Brown Girl in the Ring last year and I must agree that it’s incredible.

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