Reading: Ytasha L. Womack – Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture

As usual, I didn’t read the blurb closely enough. I thought this was an anthology of Afrofuturist sci-fi and fantasy; turns out it’s an anthropological history of it. Which is actually probably better for me to read anyway. As to why I’m reading it …

There is a definite correlation with my reading decision in skiffy a couple years ago to actively read women authors – something I’d been musing on that also was prodded into deliberate action by a post on Charles Stross’ blog asking the question, “What do you think is the most important novel of the past 10-and-a-bit years (published since January 1st 2000)? All male authors are disqualified.” (first comment: “This is going to be brief, and interesting…”). This obviously begged the question, “Where are the non-Anglo-American skiffy/fantasy writers?” a question I’ve felt much more of an urge to answer as the monoculture of the white male writer presents a stunningly limited worldview and range of possibilities for fiction.

Enter Saladin Ahmed, writing some kind of Arabian fantasy (Lovecraftian 1001 Nights-ish), which was so refreshing just for the different setting: no crypto-euro monarchism here. And between reading him and now, I have fallen into a rich world that appears to be on the cusp of becoming mainstream – well, as mainstream as reading sci-fi and fantasy printed on dead trees has ever been. Which led me to reading about Ytasha L. Womack’s Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture, and thinking, “Ooh, I’ll have some of that!” and so off we go, another book on my shelf.

I was hoping for an anthology though; that’s always been my reliable way of finding new authors (of which I currently have far too many and they are proliferating), but there are enough references in this that there will be at least one who will pique my interest. It’s also very United States focussed, but I’m a few chapters in and finding it a fun and quick read, and as well it’s causing me to think about how a conception of Afrofuturism is applicable to finding other ~futurisms: Islamofuturism, Persofuturism, Turkofuturism …

Ytasha L. Womack – Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture
Ytasha L. Womack – Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture