Extrapolation

The Mirror of Afrofuturism

Extrapolation (2020), 61, (1-2), 173–184.

Abstract

Unless we set up our critical mirrors very carefully, arguably there is no such thing as Afrofuturism. I contend that what is needed for Afrofuturism is black characters in the future, irrespective of the writer’s race. I begin with the term’s coining by white critic Mark Dery and examine Afrofuturism in Theodore Sturgeon’s More Than Human (1953), Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination (1956), Thomas Disch’s Camp Concentration (1968), and Octavia E. Butler’s “Amnesty” (2003). I repeat: to the extent Afrofuturism concerns science fiction and not the range of all the arts, including painting and music, classical and jazz, it requires writers writing about black characters in the future. Afrofuturism is pretty much anything you want it to be and not a rigorous category at all.

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Works Cited

Bester, Alfred. The Stars My Destination. 1956. Vintage, 1996. Google Scholar

Butler, Octavia E. “Amnesty.” 2003. Bloodchild and Other Stories. 2nd ed., Seven Stories, 2005, pp. 147–184. Google Scholar

Butler, Octavia E. “The Book of Martha.” 2003. Bloodchild and Other Stories. 2nd ed., Seven Stories, 2005, pp. 187–213. Google Scholar

Dery, Mark. “Black to the Future: Interviews with Samuel R. Delany, Greg Tate, and Tricia Rose.” Flame Wars: The Discourse of Cyberculture, special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly, vol. 92, no. 4, 1993, pp. 735–778. Google Scholar

Disch, Thomas. Camp Concentration. 1968. Vintage, 1999. Google Scholar

Sturgeon, Theodore. More Than Human. 1953. Millenium, 2000. Google Scholar

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Author details

Delany, Samuel R.