Monday, February 18, 2019

30-Second book Review: Kitombo

A 30-Second Book Review: Kitombo by R. Jones. You can call this AFROFuturisum from a historical perspective; royal intrigue, murderous spies, bloody field actions,  miraculous survival and heroic deaths with characters you actually care about. It is a short piece that feels like a thick slice from a much larger and grander work. There is plenty of background details and foreshadowing that offers detailed worldbuilding for a historical novel with fantasy elements.

Jones used real events from the period when Europe first attempted to enslave all of Africa and steal its riches. Instead, the Portuguese armies were met with brute force from the advanced kingdoms of Africa that repelled the armored, white invaders and their medieval tech. Black soliders armed with cannons and muskets using precise military tactics were able to defend their lands and take revenge on their enemies black and white.

Inspirational and enlightening.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

30 Second Film Review: First Black Horror Film (1940s)

The American film industry (Holywood) was reaching hi-gear during the 1940s with new technologies and expanded venues to reach the viewing masses. Typical of those times, people of color regardless of talent or money, were excluded from the big profits. However, "Black" Hollywood did have some notable creativity that should be acknowledged.

If you are a fan of the old black and white movies, Son of Ingagi will give you great pleasure. If you are merely curious about the intrigues behind the movie, this is a movie sleuth's paradise; there are many skeletons in the closet of this film to expose and ponder.

The free version is of the movie is/was available on YouTube and other venues.

Happy Black History Month!

The AFROFuturist: 30-second Review of NOVA From A Godfather of AFROF...

The AFROFuturist: 30-second Review of NOVA From A Godfather of AFROF...: Some readers say the sci-fi classic Nova by the great Samuel Delany is a daunting task to take on, but I disagree. Yes, it is a multi-l...

Saturday, February 9, 2019

30-second Review of NOVA From A Godfather of AFROFuturism

Some readers say the sci-fi classic Nova by the great Samuel Delany is a daunting task to take on, but I disagree. Yes, it is a multi-layered book that any serious devotee of Afrocentric speculative fiction should embrace. Yes, this is not a fast read nor a weekend project. But the end result will leave you with many thoughts to ponder.

If you don't know Delany (who is still with us), you don't know AFROfuturism.

Friday, February 8, 2019

30-Second Book Review: Black Empire by George Schuyler

In the 1930s, Black people in America were fantasizing about constructing invincible flying warships, promoting hi-tech agriculture to feed millions, stockpiling destructive ray guns, and secretly rallying behind a mad genius who was plotting to take over the world using advanced science and superior intellect.  This Black mastermind who wove devious webs of intrigue interlaced with murder and mystery is what conservative writer George Schuyler offered to readers in a weekly newspaper serial. He considered his stories "hokum" and merely parodies of the back-to-Africa movement, but his themes were early AFROFuturism at its best. Melodramatic danger, dark romance, week-to-week cliff-hangers, surprise turnabouts, and hard-won bloody victories make Schuyler's Black Empire (a combination of his published short stories)  a treasure chest of Afrocentric speculative fiction.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

30-Second Book Review: Octavia Butler's Wild Seed

Wild Seed is one of my favorite books which happens to be authored by Octavia Butler. I recently re-read it and was thoroughly knocked over but the depth of her writing, again. In my opinion, this story is much stronger than "Black Panther" that in its own right is a great movie. However, it seems that modern Hollywood producers prefers comic book heroes over more realistic depictions of how powerful Black people could survive and prosper on this planet. Wild Seed is based on many historical facts and not just a fictional hi-tech kingdom ruled by a Black king. (Yet, I will always embrace Wakanda.)

For this Black History Month in 2019, we should take another look at many of the Black Speculative Fiction Classics available to us. Start with Wild Seed.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Bio-Engineering Our Future

Scientists predict that in a few decades, we may be able to select from a "catalogue" what our babies will be like before they are born. We could choose ethnic facial features; adult height and body shape; intelligence; which diseases they will be resistant to and much more.

What could go wrong? A lot. We could biologically design ourselves into extinction.

First of all, consider that parents may want their off-spring to be tall, slender, athletic, and cheery (blonde?).  But that common portrait of the optimum human-type as promoted by popular media may not be conducive in changing environmental conditions.

Darker skin allows livability in extreme sunlight. Smaller, more compact body designs require less food during famine. The list goes on.

Genetic variation allows selected creatures to walk through the gauntlet of daily life. Dangers that hinders one individual, another individual could dodge and escape to continue the bloodline. Thus, when you roll the genetic dice, it  may be best to resist the urge to tilt the table; instead, trust random mutations for filling the gene pools with many varying characteristics.

Surrender our embryos to natural selection (within limits, of course). Embrace each child's strengths and weaknesses when they emerge.

By choosing what are considered to be positive traits today, could doom the human species by limiting our adaptability to unforeseen conditions -- like drastically rising sea levels or an accidental virus that targets tall, athletic people.

Having webbed feet, a short statue  and gills to breath submerged under seawater may be drastically more important than the prowess to deliver a backhand in tennis. Or dribble a basketball.

From a biological standpoint, diversity is an essential condition for the survival of humanity.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

22nd Century Urban Landscape

Ridiculous wealth built on the backs of people foraging for scraps of garbage. Is this dystopia? Or only "Things to Come."

What is the future of our communities?  Every major urban center on our speck of rock and oceans orbiting a middle-aged star is expanding and has both affluent and struggling components.  Populations are diverse yet increasingly more segregated -- but not only by race. The poor hate and envy the rich. The rich ridicule the poor who never inherited money or were not blessed by rare opportunities to accumulate wealth; yet, it is the poor and disenfranchised who provide vital assets: muscle, innovation, culture, inspiration, as well as livability of the spaces inhabited by all people.

You would be surprised at what human ingenuity in desperation conditions can achieve. The Egyptian Pyramids were not built just by Pharaohs; working class people constructed magnificent monuments with the guidance of a few brilliant minds wishing to celebrate their society and strengthen their beliefs as well as feed their families.

It is ridiculous to exclaim that all wealthy people are grotesque parasites who suck out the essence of human activities simply for greed and the need to add more splendors into a few personal collections.

Yet, all great civilizations will face their doom unless a workable compromise can be achieved.

30-Second book Review: Kitombo

A 30-Second Book Review: Kitombo by R. Jones. You can call this AFROFuturisum from a historical perspective; royal intrigue, murderous s...