Samuel Delany: Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora and Dark Matter: Reading the Bones, edited by Sheree Renée Thomas (please see text at the end of this post)
Paperback Warrior: The Dark Brand by H. A. DeRosso; God's Back Was Turned by Harry Whittington; The Net by "Edward Ronns" (Edward Aarons); "In a Small Motel" by John D. MacDonald, Justice, July 1955, edited by Harry Widmer
Steve Scott: "John D. MacDonald: Travis McGee Does His Own Swashbuckling" by Rick Barry, Florida Accent supplement to the Sunday Tampa Tribune, 20 February 1977 (to promote Condominium); "Dear Old Friend" by John D. MacDonald, Playboy, April 1970, edited by Hugh Hefner
Kari Sund: 5 Hollywood novels: Merton of the Movies by Harry Leon Wilson; Minnie Flynn by Frances Marion; Twinkle, Little Movie Star by Lorraine Maynard; Remember Valerie March by Katherine Albert; In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. HughesBill Wallace: Evergreen Review, March 1968, edited by Barney Rosset; features Rosencrantz and Guilderstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard
on Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora edited by Sheree Renée Thomas
In 1999, I was proud to have a story and an essay picked for inclusion in this anthology. I was proud to see students of mine such as Octavia E. Butler and Nalo Hopkinson and friends such as Jewel Gomez and Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes, and Paul Miller and all the other fine and interesting writers who share the book, from my old family friend, the late W. E. B. Dubois, and other fine writers, younger than I, including Walter Mosely, Evie Shockley, and Ishmael Reed.
Look at the subtitle—A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora—and if you read all the cover matter carefully, you will find two things: 1) Unless it occurs at the beginning a sentence, "black" is never capitalized. 2) There is no mention of the white critical term, "Afro-Futurism" coined by white critic Mark Geary in the late sixties, that was, indeed, about myself, Estelle Butler, Greg Tate, Trischa Rose, and others, including white Virginia writer (another friend and former student) William Gibson.
You should know: The lower case "b" on black comes directly from an oppositional stance formulated by W. E. B. DuBois and activists who followed him, and means the same thing as the lower case "w" on "white." Contrastingly, the upper case "B" on Black is a recent, post-1978, reactionary term, based on a "feel good"/"let's not offend anyone" position, that masks itself as "respect" and is really about maintaining separation and suppressing conflict, harmless in its place but historically deaf. (If you want to read about its history, see my 2007 novel Dark Reflections, recently released in a Dover Thrift Edition.)
So let’s go back to the term that is there: "African Diaspora." First of all, there have been major ones going on from as far back as 300,000 bce; 250,000 bce, and 80,000 bce. In short, these migrations produced what we call the human race, wherever it ended up on the planet. Pigments, facial shape, eyes and lips and noses changed for optimal survival in local conditions. In short, all of us—not just the ones in this book—started out there. That includes everyone in the GOP.
There is a more recent one, that the subtitle refers to: when Arabian, African, and white European slavers captured largely tribal Africans and shipped them by the thousands to England and the Americas, and even further afield.
* * *
Although "Aye, and Gomorrah . . ." is certainly my best-known story, I've always wondered if it was the best for the book. But, then, I wasn't the editor. And I think Sheree Thomas certainly did a fine, fine job.
The existence of "Afro-Futurism" (which I take to be the American fascination of what black and white writers both are saying about black folk and their relation to whites in SF terms) has influenced me enough to put together a lecture on the topic. At least one black African critic, K'eguro Makaria, writing about my last and largest SF novel, has accurately (I felt) nailed its overarching topic: "black livability." That makes me happy. (It is not the novel that made it into the LoA volume, though the central character there is also a black man.) Giving in to demands, I have written a lecture on "Afro-Futurism" which you can hear me deliver in the News & Events section of my website. But it is not a topic that obsesses me in any way, nor is a topic one that I feel inclined to discuss as a moment's notice.
Having said that, I hope those of you who don't know this book will get it and read it—or, if you have it, read it again.
And if you want to know what I feel about some of these questions, at least in the last century, when most of my fiction writing was done, there are all sorts of books that can tell you, listed on my website (Atlantis, The Three Tales, The Mad Man...) and listen to recordings of my talks from the last few years on the topics.
There is a second volume edited by Sheree Renée Thomas, which is just as interesting and brings together a different slate of black writers.