Size / / /

(Previous)

The West has history all right—great volumes of the stuff full of dates, and dynasties, revolutions, conquests, genocides, technological breakthroughs, and political movements. Almost by definition history is written, and if it’s not we have to add the word “oral.”

But in a funny way, what we in the West lack is a past—at least what Dilman Dila or Unathi Magubeni mean by a past, one that you can taste or feel in your bones, a past that you still inhabit.

There was recently a kerfuffle over supposed ageism at a major US convention. Older writers like myself were kind of asked to accept that we might not be needed on panels (which didn’t seem to me to be unreasonable). The partner of one of those involved was said to have written, “the past is evil.”

I have no idea if that phrase was actually written—it was a Facebook argument. But the phrase does sum up one extreme end of a tendency that sees the past as something to move beyond. The past is wrong, bad, misinformed, superstitious, unadvanced. It is something in ourselves to be worked through and overcome.

Alongside history, there is the Future, with travel to the stars and brain downloads. Embedded in that somewhere is an unscientific faith in science, and which in its unexamined heart regards scientific results as being truer than other kinds of knowledge.

It seems to me that Afrofuturism has recently been redefined to be both more African, and as something that has its roots in the past.

As Nnedi Okorafor says in her TED Talk, “African science fiction’s blood runs deep and it’s old and it’s ready to come forth.”

--

In chapter twelve: two writers who live in Grahamstown: Samuel Kolawole and Stacy Hardy.



Geoff Ryman is Senior Lecturer in School of Arts, Languages and Cultures at the University of Manchester. He is a writer of short stories and novels, and science fiction and literary fiction. His work has won numerous awards including the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award (twice), the James Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, the British Science Fiction Association Award (twice), and the Canadian Sunburst Award (twice). In 2012 he won a Nebula Award for his Nigeria-set novelette "What We Found." His story "Capitalism in the 22nd Century" is part of Stories for Chip, edited by Bill Campbell and Nisi Shawl and published by Rosarium.
No comments yet. Be the first!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Current Issue
6 Jul 2020

And they all knew about it.
By: Stephen O'Donnell
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Stephen O'Donnell's “Last Orders in the Green Lane.”
Landing feels like getting off a trampoline, / The weightlessness fading to muscle memory
By: Thomas White
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Thomas White's “After.”
Issue 30 Jun 2020
By: Carlie St. George
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Janelle C. Shane
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Issue 22 Jun 2020
By: Neha Maqsood
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Neha Maqsood
Issue 15 Jun 2020
By: Remy Reed Pincumbe
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Preston Grassmann
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 8 Jun 2020
By: Kathleen Jennings
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Keaton Bennett
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 2 Jun 2020
By: Sheree Renée Thomas
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Maggie Damken
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Issue 1 Jun 2020
By: Jessica P. Wick
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Strange Horizons
Issue 25 May 2020
By: Dana Wilde
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 18 May 2020
By: Johnny Compton
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jong-Ki Lim
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 11 May 2020
By: Gabriela Santiago
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Ashley Bao
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 4 May 2020
By: Vida Cruz
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Raimo Kangasniemi
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Load More
%d bloggers like this: