Saving Face for Science Fiction

“Black to the Future” is an article that tackles Afrofuturism which is a term that focuses on African American themes and concerns and highlights them in terms of modern technoculture. The article goes on to try and figure out why there are so few African American science fiction writers even though the genre is rapidly expanding (in terms of readers and writers). Dery explains that science fiction deals with encounters with the “Other” which would seem to be an issue that African American writers would be well suited to write about. The end of the article focuses on reimagining what the world of science fiction should look like for a new generation of readers and writers.

I think it is interesting that since this article was published (which was in 1994), there have been more black science fiction writers who have emerged; authors like Octavia Butler and Colson Whitehead, whose work I have seen become very popular. After reading this article I have learned a lot about how much black history resembles a science fiction story. I see science fiction and dystopia as terms that can go hand in hand. Often times a dystopia focuses on an imagined world where, in theory, everything seems to be perfect but much like science fiction there are unprecedented challenges that threaten the established “harmony.” The article expressed that the world of science fiction is and has been very exclusive to minorities. There is a window of opportunity for black science fiction writers to take control of a genre that is in desperate need of innovation. Black people know very well the hardships that accompany them in their day to day lives and are well acquainted with the prejudgements society places on them. So, it seems right that they could head a new wave of science fiction and make the black characters multidimensional and not antiseptic.

Going forward I have a new appreciation for science fiction. There are movies like Get Out which have science fiction components and highlight the Black perspective while not watering down the characters or making them less than their counterparts. I think going forward it is important to note that science fiction can be seen in many different forms like literature, films, and even music. I think the black perspective (in science fiction) can expand to other forms and therefore make an even bigger impact.

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