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Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture Paperback – October 1, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"At last! A real book about a deeply elusive topic—Black people and the possibility of what Sun Ra used to call the Alter Destiny. Ytasha Womack takes us on a quantum romp through the Afro-Multiverse: she explains some of the biggest,  brightest, fastest, heaviest and loudest things in the known world—and beyond!  At heart, Afrofuturism gives you a vast and intuitive feel for some of the most pressing issues facing young progressives in the early 21st Century.” —DJ Spooky

“Ytasha L. Womack’s book Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture is one of the most comprehensive and relevant reads in the black science fiction realm to date. I highly recommend this book as it masterfully covers the genre’s humble past, its flourishing present and promising future. This is definitely a fantastically, engaging read. I couldn't put it down.” —Jarvis Sheffield, The Black Science Fiction Society

“When I coined the term "Afrofuturism" in 1992, who knew young cultural critics like Ytasha Womack would make it their own? Accessibly written, with an emphasis on the politics of the here and now, Afrofuturism beckons us through an intellectual wormhole, into a universe where dark matter is, at last, visible.” —Mark Dery, cultural critic, author, lecturer

“This book is the gravity that holds the universe of ideas that define Afrofuturism. Finally, the starting point for our welcomed explorers.” —King Britt, universal sonic architect

"A smooth blend between a personal memoir and a reference source for those interested in delving into the world of afrofuturism." —Futuristically Ancient

"Provocative and highly detailed, accessible to both geeks and laymen... a fascinating glimpse into what Sun Ra called 'the Alter Destiny.'" —Smooth Magazine

About the Author

Ytasha L. Womack is a filmmaker, futurist, and the author of Post Black: How a New Generation Is Redefining African American Identity and 2212: Book of Rayla. She is the creator of the Rayla 2212 sci-fi multimedia series, the director of the award-winning film The Engagement, the producer and writer of Love Shorts, and the coeditor of Beats Rhymes and Life: What We Love and Hate About Hip Hop. She has written for many publications including Ebony and the Chicago Tribune and has appeared on E! True Hollywood Stories: Rappers Wives.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1613747969
  • ISBN-13: 978-1613747964
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ytasha L. Womack is an author, filmmaker, dancer and futurist. Her book Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci Fi and Fantasy explores black sci fi culture, bleeks, black comix, and the legacy of futurism. The book is a 2014 Locus Award Finalist in the nonfiction category.

Her book Rayla 2212 is a sci fi/ Afrofuturist novel that follows Rayla Illmatic's travels through space and time. The book inspired the Race in Space Conference at Duke University October 2013 and debuted at the 2014 Chicago Comic Con.

Ytasha is also author of the critically acclaimed book Post Black: How a New Generation is Redefining African American Identity and 2212: Book of Rayla. She is also the coeditor of the hip hop anthology Beats, Rhyme & Life: What We Love and Hate About Hip Hop.

Her films include Love Shorts (writer/producer) and The Engagement (director).

Ytasha is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University and studied media management at Columbia College in Chicago. She resides in the Windy City.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Stafford Battle on October 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading Ytasha L. Womack's book AFROFuturism is like having a fascinating conversation with a knowledgeable friend while sharing a generous cup of Earl Grey tea, hot.

For anyone who has not heard of AFROFuturism, Womack's book is an excellent starting point. For those of us who have been involved in AFROCentric speculative fiction, photography, art or multimedia with a futuristic feel, Womack's book is a delightful confirmation that we are not alone in the universe. Womack did considerable research and her notes at the end provide helpful guidance for readers and writers of speculative fiction who want to get more involved.

Womack tell us that AFROFuturism is much more than sci-fi stories about starship captains bouncing throughout the galaxy on sexual conquests. Literature, music, art, dance, politics are all linked to inspire us to create a new future. People of African descent are seeking to go were no "person" has gone before. Each chapter explores a different aspect of AFROFuturism. She manages to meld together anecdotal material, research facts as well as personal insight without being too preachy or lofty. This is not a dry "thesis" written for academic credit, nor smoky, whimsical abstraction. It is a thoughtful document crammed with personal insights.

She suggests that the word "AFROFuturism" is fairly new to the cultural scene. It was first mentioned in 1992 by a writer named Mark Dery. But George Clinton's Mothership had landed long before Dery popularized the term. Sun Ra had been creating music that talked about space and other planets in the 1950s and 60s. Samuel Delany was winning awards for his sci-fi writings in the 1970s. The Dogon nation in Africa had revealed discoveries that puzzled modern scientists long before NASA had been created.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By CMKennedy on November 8, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a self proclaimed Afrofuturist author and artist, I found Ms. Womack's work to be both informative and inspiring. Growing up in the inner city of Cleveland, OH, I often felt alone and isolated while watching Star Trek and dreaming of a better and diverse future. I now feel a sense of community...I have truly found my tribe. :D Many thanks to Ms. Womack for her thought provoking and well researched work. Power Up!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. Leonard on November 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
"Afrofuturism" was an incredible read and opened my mind and eyes to a whole culture I never recognized existed. Ytasha definitely did a lot research into this world and engaged me with a plethora of references that kept my interest and made me want to explore this culture more. I will recommend this book to all of my historical enthusiast friends and those who are unaware of that this culture exists in many forms.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gwen G. Amsbury on January 29, 2014
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For anyone wondering what it is and what it encompasses, this is a wonderful book that is thoughtful and insightful. I usually don't like books *about* genres/movements, they usually do too much pigeonholing, but Womack gives great examples to back up her explanations of the art, philosophy and emergence of the Aftrofuturism. The book is more like a window giving a glimpse of the movement rather than an attempt to simplistically define it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By enrique on May 17, 2014
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Before seeing this book on twitter and the youtube preview for it, I had no idea about Afrofuturism and had never heard of it yet. I was able to interview Ytasha on my old podcast downtown black & brown and we've developed a lasting relationship. Looking forward to her new rayla 2212 series to come out!
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Format: Kindle Edition
Ytasha L.Womack’s latest book takes us on a trip through the legend of Sun Ra, P-funk, Earth, Wind and &Fire, Missy Elliot, Prince, the meaning of sustainable communities, pop culture androids and more- all to paint a picture we already knew but could not name...

Afrofuturism is described as,

“…going back to ancient traditions so that we can move more correctly into the future.”(pg.116).

A shining example of an afrofuturist is Octavia E. Butler, author of many science fiction novels such as Kindred,Parable of the Sower, and Xenogenesis, among many others. Her books feature brown skinned people who have amazing abilities. Kind of like X-Men.

In some African societies there were shamans, midwives, wise men and women. Slavery is a part of the past. People taken from their homeland, forced into a land not their own and working for free. This stuff can be turned around into science fiction. And Octavia Butler's Pattern Master series does just that.

Ytasha’s interviews and research digs even farther into black history. She explains the Dogon, mermen and mermaids, and time traveling. Afrofuturism is about more than black geeks and anime watchers to Ytasha and other afrofuturists. It is about training our mind to shift into a gear that has not been programmed.

My reflection on Afrofuturism:

At first when I saw the amazing book cover and read the subtitle, I thought I would read about people who were black, geeks and watched Japanese animations like me. But this treasure trove of information burst open my ignorant box and expanded my mind.

Womack credit artists such as Prince, Janelle Monet, Missy Elliot, Outkast and others as afrofuturists and afrosurrealists. Her conversations with black professors, artists and others involved in Afrofuturism is uplifting, inspiring and every word, every page is a call to embracing who we really are and what we can contribute to the world.
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