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Speculative Blackness

The Future of Race in Science Fiction

2016
Author:

André M. Carrington

Speculative Blackness

Examines race through fanzines, Star Trek, comic books, and Harry Potter

André M. Carrington analyzes the highly racialized genre of speculative fiction—including science fiction, fantasy, and utopian works, along with their fan cultures—to illustrate the relationship between genre conventions in media and the meanings ascribed to blackness in the popular imagination. Speculative Blackness reveals new understandings of the significance of blackness in twentieth-century American literature and culture.

André M. Carrington takes readers on a voyage that beautifully maps gendered and sexualized articulations of Blackness across different speculative genres and media... Speculative Blackness is a wonderful book that makes indispensable contributions to Black studies, literary studies, studies science fiction fan fiction and fandom, and Afrofuturism.

Alexander G. Weheliye, Northwestern University

In Speculative Blackness, André M. Carrington analyzes the highly racialized genre of speculative fiction—including science fiction, fantasy, and utopian works, along with their fan cultures—to illustrate the relationship between genre conventions in media and the meanings ascribed to blackness in the popular imagination.

Carrington’s argument about authorship, fandom, and race in a genre that has been both marginalized and celebrated offers a black perspective on iconic works of science fiction. He examines the career of actor Nichelle Nichols, who portrayed the character Uhura in the original Star Trek television series and later became a recruiter for NASA, and the spin-off series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, set on a space station commanded by a black captain. He recovers a pivotal but overlooked moment in 1950s science fiction fandom in which readers and writers of fanzines confronted issues of race by dealing with a fictitious black fan writer and questioning the relevance of race to his ostensible contributions to the ‘zines. Carrington mines the productions of Marvel comics and the black-owned comics publisher Milestone Media, particularly the representations of black sexuality in its flagship title, Icon. He also interrogates online fan fiction about black British women in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Harry Potter series.

Throughout this nuanced analysis, Carrington theorizes the relationship between race and genre in cultural production, revealing new understandings of the significance of blackness in twentieth-century American literature and culture.

Speculative Blackness

André M. Carrington is assistant professor of English at Drexel University.

Speculative Blackness

André M. Carrington takes readers on a voyage that beautifully maps gendered and sexualized articulations of Blackness across different speculative genres and media... Speculative Blackness is a wonderful book that makes indispensable contributions to Black studies, literary studies, studies science fiction fan fiction and fandom, and Afrofuturism.

Alexander G. Weheliye, Northwestern University

Speculative Blackness

Contents
Introduction: The Whiteness of Science Fiction and the Speculative Fiction of Blackness
1. Josh Brandon’s Blues: Inventing the Black Fan
2. Space Race Woman: Lieutenant Uhura beyond the Bridge
3. The Immortal Storm: Permutations of Race in Marvel Comics
4. Controversy and Crossover in Milestone Media’s Icon
5. The Golden Ghetto and the Glittering Parentheses: The Once and Future Benjamin Sisko
6. Dreaming in Color: Racial Revisions in Fan Fiction
Coda
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index