I’ve always been a science fiction buff. From my elementary school days with Bruce Coville’s “My Teacher Is An Alien” series, to my teenage obsession with “X-Files,” to my current RSS feed of the Cyberpunk Review, throughout my life I’ve been fascinated by all things out of this world, beyond this galaxy, and foreign to this dimension. But growing up a person of color, I’ve always felt that the stories that tickle my imagination seldom speak to my identity. For a genre known for depicting obscure creatures, new concepts of civilization, and future predictions for humanity, sci-fi sure has a hard time being about more than white people.
It seems that when it comes to sci-fi, cultural experiences of the melanin-inclined are merely reserved for exotic backdrop (ahem, “Stargate”) and half-assed tokenization (ahem, the horrible Mandarin in “Firefly”). But fear not! I have scoured the cosmos and unearthed 10 fantasmic films, books, and records to transport you to the unreal—while still letting you keep it real. Keep in mind, this is no “Billy Dee in Star Wars” list—I’ve chosen stories by people of color and about people of color. So enjoy. This is for all the disappointed moviegoers who felt the title “Minority Report” was misleading.
PS: I’ve taken the liberty to step outside the zone of the obvious, by excluding from this list Octavia E. Butler. Not because I don’t absolutely love her work about vampires, shapeshifters, and post-apocalyptic telepathy, but because every other minorities-in-sci-fi list I found online is basically a cut-and-paste of her bibliography. If you haven’t checked her out, I recommend the “Imago” series.
For all the rest of my geeks in the struggle, I hope you find something new in this…
ps. Kismet didn’t get to the interludes last week so I’m bringing you two for the price of one. All Sable Fan Gyrl approved.