Tor.com content by

Nisi Shawl

Fiction and Excerpts [3]
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Fiction and Excerpts [3]

Everfair

, || Fabian Socialists from Great Britain join forces with African-American missionaries to purchase land from the Belgian Congo's "owner," King Leopold II. This land, named Everfair, is set aside as a safe haven, an imaginary Utopia for native populations of the Congo as well as escaped slaves returning from America and other places where African natives were being mistreated.

The Thing With Wings: Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler

In 2016, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination published my survey article “A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction” (now hosted here and here). Since then, Tor.com has published thirty-three in-depth essays I wrote about some of the 42 works mentioned, and a thirty-fourth essay by LaShawn Wanak on my collection Filter House. In this column I’m taking my second look in a row at a novel by that giant of African American speculative fiction Octavia E. Butler. Previously, I wrote about Kindred, which is often the first Butler book people read; this essay’s about Fledgling, the last one she wrote.

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Grandmother Paradox: Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

In 2016, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination published my survey article “A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction” (now hosted here and here). Since then, Tor.com has published thirty-two in-depth essays I wrote about some of the 42 works mentioned, and a thirty-third essay by LaShawn Wanak on my collection Filter House. In this column I’m looking at Kindred, a time-travel novel by that giant of African American speculative fiction Octavia E. Butler.

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Walk Through the History of Black Science Fiction

In February 2016, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination published author Nisi Shawl’s essay “A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction,” an annotated list of 42 black science fiction works that are important for a readers’ understanding of that continuity and history. (For the most up-to-date version, read Nisi Shawl’s January 2020 update over on the Carl Brandon Society or on her own site).

Since late 2016, Shawl has gone in-depth on the 42 books and stories in the monthly History of Black Science Fiction column here on Tor.com. (With special guest LaShawn M. Wanak popping in when the history reached one of Nisi’s own books!)

Curious? Keep reading! Assembled below are selections from these expanded looks at important titles in the history of Black science fiction. (Note: Some of these books would be considered fantasy, and in many cases throughout the list, the two genres are interwoven.) This walkthrough is current as of March 2020, but the column continues on. Keep track of new installments here.

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Modern Middle Ages: Changa’s Safari by Milton J. Davis

In 2016, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination published my survey article “A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction” (now hosted here and here). Since then, Tor.com has published thirty-one in-depth essays I wrote about some of the 42 works mentioned, and a thirty-second essay by LaShawn Wanak on my collection Filter House. In this column I’m looking at Changa’s Safari, a fascinating African-rooted fantasy that’s in a sense a companion to Imaro, the pulp novel covered in this series’ most recent essay.

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With a Mighty Bound: Imaro by Charles Saunders

In 2016, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination published my survey “A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction” (now hosted here). Since then, Tor.com has published thirty in-depth essays I wrote about some of the 42 works mentioned, and a thirty-first essay by LaShawn Wanak on my collection Filter House. This column covers Imaro, a fantasy novel assembled from a series of short stories by African Canadian author Charles R. Saunders.

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It’s No Game: Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

In 2016, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination published my survey “A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction” (now hosted here). Since then, Tor.com has published 29 in-depth essays I wrote about some of the 42 works mentioned, and a thirtieth essay by LaShawn Wanak on my collection Filter House. This time we’re discussing the importance of Brown Girl in the Ring, the first published novel by the wonderful award-winner Nalo Hopkinson.

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Another Part of Me: Mindscape by Andrea Hairston

In 2016, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination published my survey “A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction” (now hosted here). Since then, Tor.com has published 28 in-depth essays I wrote about some of the 42 works mentioned, and a twenty-ninth essay by LaShawn Wanak on my collection Filter House. This month we’re delving into Mindscape, multiple award-winning author Andrea Hairston’s debut novel.

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Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up: The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead

In 2016, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination published my survey “A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction” (now hosted here). Since then, Tor.com has published 27 in-depth essays I wrote about some of the 42 works mentioned, and another essay by LaShawn Wanak on my collection Filter House. This month I’m taking you along on an investigation of Pulitzer Prize Winner Colson Whitehead’s first novel, The Intuitionist.

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The People Could Fly: Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

In 2016, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination published my survey “A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction” (now hosted here). Since then Tor.com has published 26 in-depth essays I wrote about some of the 42 works mentioned, and another essay by LaShawn Wanak on my collection Filter House. This month we’ll consider the grit and delicacy of Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison.

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Studying the White Man: Pym by Mat Johnson

In 2016, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination published my survey “A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction” (now hosted here). Since then Tor.com has published 25 in-depth essays I wrote about some of the 42 works mentioned, and another essay by LaShawn Wanak on my collection Filter House. This month’s column is dedicated to Pym by Mat Johnson.

[Following an obsession with Poe to the South Pole…]

Beyond Boundaries: My Life in the Bush of Ghosts by Amos Tutuola

In 2016, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination published my survey “A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction” (now hosted here). Since then Tor.com has published 24 in-depth essays I wrote about some of the 42 works mentioned, and another essay by LaShawn Wanak on my collection Filter House. This month’s column is an appreciation of My Life in the Bush of Ghosts by Amos Tutuola.

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Building Love, and the Future We Deserve: The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson

In 2016, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination published my survey “A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction” (now hosted here). Since then Tor.com has published 23 in-depth essays I wrote about some of the 42 works mentioned, and another essay by LaShawn Wanak on my collection Filter House. This month’s column is about The Summer Prince, a Young Adult (YA) science fiction novel by Alaya Dawn Johnson.

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Revising the Legacies of the Past: Middle Passage by Charles Johnson

In 2016, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination published my survey “A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction” (now hosted here). Since then Tor.com has published 22 in-depth essays I wrote about some of the 42 works mentioned, and another essay by LaShawn Wanak on my collection Filter House. This month’s column is dedicated to Middle Passage by Charles Johnson.

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Unchained Harmonies: The River Where Blood Is Born by Sandra Jackson-Opoku

In 2016, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination published my survey “A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction” (now hosted here). Since then Tor.com has published 21 in-depth essays I wrote about some of the 42 works mentioned, and another essay by LaShawn Wanak on my collection Filter House. This month’s column is dedicated to Sandra Jackson-Opoku’s award-winning epic The River Where Blood Is Born.

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What God and Man Hath Wrought: Blake; or, The Huts of America by Martin R. Delany

In 2016, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination published my survey “A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction.” Since then Tor.com has published 20 in-depth essays I wrote about some of the 42 works mentioned, and another essay by LaShawn Wanak on my collection Filter House. This month I’ll examine this sub-genre’s great-great-granddaddy: Blake; or, The Huts of America, which as far as I know is the earliest work of science fiction by a black U.S. author.

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