Literary explorations into the radical, hopeful racial futures imagined by science fiction
Essays by Marleen S. Barr, Gerry Canavan, Grace L. Dillon, M. Elizabeth Ginway, Matthew Goodwin, Edward James, De Witt Douglas Kilgore, Malisa Kurtz, Robin Anne Reid, Lysa M. Rivera, Patrick B. Sharp, and Lisa Yaszek
Black and Brown Planets embarks on a timely exploration of the American obsession with color in its look at the sometimes contrary intersections of politics and race in science fiction. The contributors, including De Witt D. Kilgore, Edward James, Lisa Yaszek, and Marleen S. Barr, among others, explore science fiction worlds of possibility (literature, television, and film), lifting blacks, Latin Americans, and indigenous peoples out from the background of this historically white genre.
This collection considers the role of race and ethnicity in our visions of the future. The first section emphasizes the political elements of black identity portrayed in science fiction from black America to the vast reaches of interstellar space framed by racial history. In the next section, analysis of indigenous science fiction addresses the effects of colonization, helps discard the emotional and psychological baggage carried from its impact, and recovers ancestral traditions in order to adapt in a post-Native-apocalyptic world. Likewise, this section explores the affinity between science fiction and subjectivity in Latin American cultures from the role of science and industrialization to the effects of being in and moving between two cultures. By infusing more color in this otherwise monochrome genre, Black and Brown Planets imagines alternate racial galaxies with viable political futures in which people of color determine human destiny.
Isiah Lavender III, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is an assistant professor of English at Louisiana State University. He is the author of Race in American Science Fiction.
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Greed can turn a good man’s heart to stone. This is especially true in the age of commerce and large corporations. No new pill can be taken without a laundry list of side effects that the patient may have to endure. But what if the side effects are more dangerous than the pills are helpful? What if the side effect causes the patient to be immune from standard dangers, such as firearms, the climate, etc., but causes them to change into otherworldly beings?
It is seen through the eyes of a young woman named Raven Blackheart. It is a future where corporations rule the world and political parties have been dismissed. An Earth that is recovering from a global war that has divided two races: Humans and Dracins, quick, tough skinned creatures that are children of the side effects from 20th century pharmaceuticals. Raven awakens in this world as a product of both races and nurtured by the vice president of the main corporation in the world as a symbol of the union of races. With her help, Vice President Tyler Deamond’s corporation can take both beings off Earth--quickly becoming a waste planet--and to a new terraformed planet. But as Raven learns, nothing is as it seems, especially concerning humans.