Entry updated 20 June 2022. Tagged: Music, Theme.
A term coined by Mark Dery in "Black to the Future: Interviews with Samuel R Delany, Greg Tate, and Tricia Rose" (1993 South Atlantic Quarterly) for a literary and cultural treatment of the African diaspora in terms of, or incorporating tropes from, the genres of sf, Fantasy and Magic Realism, as seen from a Black cultural viewpoint; not a subgenre of sf but a genre that intersects sf. The sf novels of Octavia Butler and Samuel R Delany are regarded as major contributions to Afrofuturism, while older literary works by George S Schuyler and others have been retroactively adopted into the genre (see Proto SF). In SF Music, the pioneer of Afrofuturism was Sun Ra: groups following his trail include George Clinton's Parliament and Funkadelic, and more recently Deltron 3030. Genre critics who have written about Afrofuturism include Marleen S Barr and Mark Bould; the latter guest-edited a special Afrofuturism issue of Science Fiction Studies (July 2007). Relevant Anthologies include Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora (anth 2000) and its sequel Dark Matter: Reading the Bones (anth 2004), both edited by Sheree R Thomas and both winners of the World Fantasy Awards for best anthology; besides Thomas's editorial introduction, the first volume includes essays by Butler and Delany. The later AfroSF sequence of Original Anthologies beginning with Afrosf: Science Fiction by African Writers (anth 2012) edited by Ivor W Hartmann, has proved increasingly useful. Also of note is Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora (Volume One) (anth 2020) edited by Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald and Zelda Knight.
Nnedi Okorafor has repeatedly expressed her strong preference for the term "Africanfuturism" to describe her own work in particular (see further reading below), arguing that "Afrofuturism" relates to an external, Western experience of Africa, while "Africanfuturism" draws attention to writers actually from Africa. The argument is strong even though the word itself is awkward. [DRL]
further reading: anthologies
- Sheree R Thomas, editor. Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora (New York: Warner Aspect, 2000) [anth: Dark Matter: hb/Franco Accornero]
- Sheree R Thomas, editor. Dark Matter: Reading the Bones (New York: Warner Aspect, 2004) [anth: Dark Matter: hb/Daniel Minter]
- Bill Campbell and Edward Austin Hall. Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond (Greenbelt, Maryland: Rosarium Publishing, 2013) [anth: hb/John Jennings]
- Ivor W Hartmann. Afrosf: Science Fiction by African Writers (South Africa: StoryTime, 2012) [anth: AfroSF: pb/]
- Ivor W Hartmann. AfroSFv2 (South Africa: StoryTime, 2015) [anth: AfroSF: pb/]
- Ivor W Hartmann. AfroSFv3 (South Africa: StoryTime, 2015) (South Africa: StoryTime, 2018) [anth: AfroSF: pb/]
- Wole Talabi, editor. Africanfuturism: An Anthology (no place given: Brittle Paper, 2020) [anth: ebook: introduction by Nnedi Okorafor: na/]
- Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald and Zelda Knight, editors. Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora (Volume One) (Louisville, Kentucky: Aurelia Leo, 2020) [anth: hb/Henrique DLD]
- Jason Myki Snyman, Karina Szczurek and Rachel Zadok" class="link-amazon" target="_blank">Disruption: New Short Fiction from Africa (Vinton, Texas: Catalyst Press, 2021) [anth: pb/] , editors.
further reading: nonfiction
- Mark Bould, guest editor, with Rone Shavers. Science Fiction Studies (July 2007) [Afrofuturism issue: mag/]
- Ytasha L Womack. Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture (Chicago, Illinois: Chicago Review Press, 2013) [nonfiction: pb/John Jennings]
- Isiah Lavender III. Afrofuturism Rising: The Literary Prehistory of a Movement (Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press, 2019) [nonfiction: coll: hb/]
- Isiah Lavender III. Literary Afrofuturism in the Twenty-First Century (Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press, 2020) with Lisa Yaszek [nonfiction: hb/]
- Science Fiction Studies special issue
- 100 African Writers of SFF by Geoff Ryman (Strange Horizons)
- Picture Gallery
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