- Hey patna, insightful and pregnant question!
First i'd like to ask what you mean by "obstacle". Obstacle to what?
to financial success, black readership, white recognition, etc. These
various goals demand different responses, and you can't really compare
apples with alligators, or either with comets.
My new twenty (upsized from two cents, 'cuz i'm conceited) is that the
most important 'goal' for black sci-fi 'is' to increase black
readership, thereby expanding the horizons (sorry for the cliche) of
our kin. As a reader of mostly popular science, psychology and a
growing number of novels what's MY barrier(s)? access, motivation,
time, money, etc.
Iironically in relation to the album-cover thread, i got into the
sci-fi thing because of the cover of Octavia Butler's Patternmaster
(the gold version with the black guy on the front). After reading that
three times in a weekend instead of studying for finals i figured i
should read her other books . . . and was well rewarded.
I'm a little wary of reading other authors (incl ones on this list,
'cept barnes, no offense guys) because i'm a bit scared of having to
travel too much out of my intellectual comfor zone to 'get' the book.
Butler's terse prose attracts my introspective nature as well as her
weaving of science with character and story (epigenesis series), while
Barnes speculative history (Lion's Blood) and futuruism (streetlethal
series) touches the historian and consequential-thinker in me.
However, with you guy's intimate knowledge of the sci-fi genre i'm
afraid that i'll be reading something more akin to the sci-fi field
than just a good book. I asked a jewish sci-fi nut a few years ago if
there were any other authors that wrote like butler, and he said no.
So she's not just a 'black' sci-fi author, she's original. Make like
Grisham's Painted House and write something outside of your genre to
let your hair down (or pick it out if need be)!
It seems that people on this list are trying to be 'extra black' to
counterbalance/rationalize their fascination with sci-fi, and science,
i'd guess. Granted that's a big generalization and a bit offensive,
but that's how i see things in heuh (southernized "here" for the
uninitiated and CIA informants). I read books because they're good,
not because they're in a genre. The anti-establishment
pseudo-revolutionary in me thinks that anyone trying to work in a
specific category/genre needs to learn to do therapy on themselves (i
got some books for that if you fit this category).
Enough of the dirtysoapbox, here's a suggestion or two. The
box/circles that i'd fill in would read something like:
1 lack of a physical outlet where black sci-fi is noticable so i can
molest the book by reading a few pages to see what i'm getting
2 lack of black sci-fi that overlaps enough with my concensus reality
for me to be comfortable thinking about alternate realities
subvert the dominant paradigm . . .
then subvert that
so you can . . .
Join them and beat them at it
--- In SciFiNoir_Lit@yahoogroups.com, SciFiNoir_Lit@yahoogroups.com wrote:
> Enter your vote today! A new poll has been created for the
> SciFiNoir_Lit group:
> What do you think is the greatest
> obstacle to black speculative fiction
> becoming more popular? This poll ends
> on Dec 1, 2003.
> o Lack of interest from white and other non-black spec fic fans
> o Lack of interest from black spec fic fans
> o Lack of quality black spec fic authors
> o Lack of originality
> o Editorial/publisher bias
> o Negative thinking on the part of black artists
> o We'd rather have non-blacks include us in their stories instead
of writing our own
> o God, I wish people would stop whining and create something for
me to read
> To vote, please visit the following web page:
> Note: Please do not reply to this message. Poll votes are
> not collected via email. To vote, you must go to the Yahoo! Groups
> web site listed above.
- "Still here? good. Let me iterate and re-iterate that my MAIN
complaint is that i can't find physical copies of these books. Talk
to (even black) bookstores about this."
Many (not all) of the books by lesser-known authors are Print-On-
Demand: that means they are are only printed when specifically
ordered. That is not just a black problem, that is a problem with
Print-On-Demand books. That means that you cannot, by definition,
browse it first. Being a martial arts fan, I've had to order a few
print-on-demand (POD) martial arts books.
POD books I've ordered have rarely disappointed me, because I was so
interested in the subject matter that I ordered the book. That goes
for fiction and non-fiction.
"My second complaint is that some of the writing sucks, talk to your
authors for this."
I've browsed some books on the bookshelfs in major retailers that are
sorry beyond words. Bad writing is everywhere, whether you can read
the book first or not.
"Third is that sometimes the theme/content simply doesn't interest
me, refer to second complaint for instructions."
I'd think that black sci-fi interested you somewhat or else you
wouldn't be in this club.
"Where monsieur Cecil gets that i have an aversion to unknown authors
(implied" untested by readers and unsactioned by the establishment?)
i don't know."
You're not willing to order a book unless you can browse it first,
that's why. Hey, I can understand the tactile need. But, you've got
to change up every once in a while. You never know: you just may
find a book you like.
One more thing: we're all more human than black, but that still
doesn't change the fact that you're a black human being.