Thursday, October 24, 2013

Chicanonautica: Cruising the Galactic Barrio on the Mothership

Can’t you feel the shockwaves sweeping over the planet, and jangling your molecules? The Mothership has launched, and is coming your way! Are you ready, Earthlings?

I’m talking about the new anthology, Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond edited by Bill Campell and Edward Hall. This humble Chicanonaut is aboard with “Skin Dragons Talk” -- a yarn about yakuza on the Moon, and a talking alien virus that wants to take over.

There are also stories by Junot Díaz, Lauren Beukes, Victor LaValle, Minister Faust, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, S.P. Somtow, Darius James, and many more!

It’s another part of the strange rumblings rattling through the world of sci-fi/science fiction/speculative fiction these days. Afrofuturism. Postcolonialism. Chicanonautica. Variations on a theme that’s becoming harding to ignore as we hurtle further in the 21st century.

Used to be, not too long ago on this here planet, “sci-fi” corporate product was produced mostly in the English-speaking quarter. It was considered to be the intellectual property of Western Civilization, and light-skinned peoples. When you brought up the subject of characters that represented the rest of the human race, you were told that they just weren’t hip to science and and technology out there in the “undeveloped” world. And if you dared ask about non-white writers -- that was a crazy idea!

Besides, who would buy such fiction? Wasn’t the audience all white, middle-class nerd boys from the Midwest?

Yeah, that was way back in the Nineteen-Hundreds. Things have changed in this Newfangled Millennium. The "science fiction" book market is dominated by nerd girls. And the sci-fi consumers aren’t all white, and they come from all over the planet.

Mix that up with the chaos that the publishing world is in over the coming of the ebook, and the demise of the corporate bookstore, what’s a Nueva York publisher to do?

They haven’t come to their senses yet -- Mothership, and other such anthologies are indie productions, taking advantage of the new technologies and social structures. I don’t know if the old, big-deal publishers will ever catch on. Besides, the days of Nueva York as the center of the book universe are coming to an end.

Publishing is becoming decolonialized.

I’ve been wrapped up in this struggle so long that it gives me déjà vu. It’s good to see hope for a blazing, bright future.

It’s time to claim that future, the galaxy, and beyond . . . 

So buy Mothership. Read it. Live the revolution.

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