Debating the Histories and Futures of Black SF

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McCutcheon, Mark A. "Debating the Histories and Futures of Black SF." Review of Marleen S. Barr, ed. Afro-Future Females: Black Writers Chart Science Fiction's Newest New-Wave Trajectory." Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University Press, 2008.

Mixed and/but insightful review of the anthology with a useful citation to Kodwo Eshun's More Brilliant than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction (London: Quartet, 1998) — see below — and an admission "that Afro-Futurism has a 'masculinist foundation' in [Mark] Dery's article," which see, "with its focus on technological innovation and sf tropes in cultural production largely by black men. Subsequent work on Afro-Futurism, building on Dery, has in some ways reinforced the field's masculine bias, with foci on 'boy's club' milieus of sf and high technology [...]" (p. 249).

McCutcheon quotes Eshun,

Mainstream American media — in its drive to banish alienation, and to recover a sense of the whole human being through belief systems that talk to the "real you" — compulsively deletes [sic: MSM as a singular, at least in this] any intimation of an AfroDiasporic fururism, of a "webbed network" of computerhythms, machine mythology[,] and conceptechnics which routes, reroutes[,] and criss-crosses the Black Atlantic. This digital diaspora [...] alienates itself from the human; it arrives from the future. (-006-005)

McCutcheon then paraphrases, "[...] Afro-Futurism produces a kind of cyborg, anti-realist identity politics that seeks not to overcome alienation but to deepen it as a mode of resistance to hegemonic ontologies. Afro-Fururism's alienating effects thus take aim equally at a technocratic modern society founded on white capitalist patriarchy and the racialized terrors of slavery, and at the dominant forms of subjectivity such a society has engendered" (McCutcheon, p. 250).

RDE, finishing, 17Jan23