Although it is good that you mention Afrofuturism, because it needs more exposure among “our”, ie white, audience (For tastes of what it might be like, for example here’s a Kenyan SciFi TV-show about European refugees 2062 in Africa), I find that the article paints the field in too broad strokes:

It looks to me like you are making a number of assumptions that are typical for your particular demographic:

  1. Assuming that Afrofuturism is something new. Not only are many of well-known American Science Fiction authors, like Octavia Butler or Samuel R. Delainy, black — and have been writing decidedly from that cultural perspective for decades —even the Afrofuturism listserv (forum, for the youngsters among us), with Afrofuturism in the name, is now 20 years old. The Kenyan TV series above is from 2013.
  2. Assuming that all the SciFi we read as white and male, is white, male and “western”. (This is an easy thing to do. Admittedly, I was quite surprised to find out that some of the authors I was reading when I was young were everything but what my asumptions told me.) Not only has an enormous amount of SciFi has been written outside “the west”, for example in the old Soviet countries during Soviet regimes, where circumstances, utopias and dystopias varied from those of the West, and in turn helped shape Western Sci-Fi of the time — like Strugatsky Brothers (“It is hard to be a god”), Stanislav Lem (Cyberiad, but also - Solaris is not just a Holywood movie) — and many others. But the field itself has also essentially been founded by a British woman — Mary Shelley. Though it was arguably popularized by Joules Verne, a French guy, whose Science Fiction included a lot more scientific detail than it is common in the western SciFi nowadays — but I guess his influence endured in the Soviet SciFi instead. And some others.
  3. Assuming, that the “white western” experience is homogeneous. Which is not just ignoring SciFi written by women, like Ursula LeGuinn (whose “The Word For World Is Forest” looks like it could have been a precursor to “Avatar”) and C. J. Cherryh — but also ignoring the large body of latin-american Science Fiction, which has a distinctly different flavor from that of the rest of the “western” world, owing to a long tradition of magic realism.
  4. Assuming (Speaking of cross-pollination) that the West doesn’t have its own share of foreign cultural influences. I am not even going to go into details on all the immigrants to the West, from Non-Western countries (like Isaac Asimov, who was a first-generation Russian Jew — whose people were, yes, oppressed, stuffed in concentration camps, etc— or people who didn’t grow up in any one place or tradition at all, like myself). But I think, no-one who spent any time in the the west in the last forty years has escaped the influence of the massive amount of work produced by Japanese SciFi writers, that reached the West mainly in form of Manga and Anime (notably things like Appleseed, or the better known Ghost In The Shell — things that might look dated now, but it is worth remembering that they have been around for 25 years or more). Who of course in turn have been influenced by the West, notably by the Film Noir genre. And Isaac Asimov.
  5. Assuming that white western Sci-Fi tradition (which after points 1.-4. is starting to look a bit, errm, discolored) is the only one apart from Afrofuturism. If you do this, you are ignoring an enormous amount of very, very non-western SciFi originating in China, a country with a vast amount of history and literature, that is now also available in English. Which is, for example, what my Thai colleagues read to pass the time.

I am sure I am forgetting one or two distinct literary bodies simply because I didn’t have contact with them as of yet. (Does India have its own SciFi? You bet your behind it does), but I think you get the idea.

Altogether, yes, Afrofuturism needs more exposure. But I am not sure that treating it as this new phenomenon outside of a completely white anglo-saxon male field is doing the field — and the varied literatures therein — justice.

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Science Fiction, Tech, sarcasm, and philosophical ramblings about the Universe.

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