Among the many celebrity deaths that overwhelmed us in 2016, Carrie Fisher’s passing is the only one that truly hurt me.
Muhammad Ali and David Bowie’s deaths, while sad, didn’t throw me off. People die. Some people die sooner than others. And when you spend your years indulging in copious amounts of cocaine (such as Bowie) or having your skull hammered by world-renown heavy weights (such as Ali), it’s a wonder some of these people lived as long as they did.
My only remaining grandparent died in 2016 as well. Marion Kokoska died at the age of 95 alongside family members in Augusta, Maine. I was upset, but I could keep the lump in my throat at bay. I knew it was coming. So did my family.
“Death and taxes,” as the saying goes.
I am becoming less ashamed with my obsession with science fiction and fantasy cultures. After studying both in academia, I’m practically proud of it.
This fall I studied African science fiction. A very specific genre. After studying several novels, films, comics and short stories in African science fiction, I can say the major distinction is the genre’s relationship to real world problems: decolonization, post-colonialism, extreme poverty, corruption, etc.
Star Wars teaches us what any story can. “Good will triumph.” African science fiction teaches us that good seldom wins and that perhaps science fiction should not be an escape from the real world.
Well it’s that time of year again at Western Washington University. Luckily, this time I’m a college senior and there is an end in sight.
Aside from my journalism courses, this quarter I’m taking something a little different to go along with my English minor. “Texts Outside of N. America and Europe,” is a literature class I’m taking, but our subject is much more narrow. It’s about African scifi and technologies, to be incredibly specific. From what I understand, the class is about analyzing and interpreting films and books such as “District 9” that display African science fiction and technologies as a means of understanding African literature.
Personally, I have no idea what African literature is even about. I read a couple short stories by Chinua Achebe my first year of college, but I am otherwise ignorant. However, I am excited to begin studying our texts. They include titles like “AfroSF,” “Wretched of the Earth” and “Apex World of Scifi.” It’s uncharted territory for me.
As a Star Wars/Star Trek Fan and a massive Warhammer 40k geek I feel very well acquainted with Western science fiction. I am excited to see what African science fiction is. How does it differ? Does it differ? How does it relate? This time last year, I studied “The Lord of the Rings” in an academic setting. But I have never studied science fiction in any academic capacity.
To begin the class, we watched the film “The Battle of Algiers.” Not exactly scifi, but definitely African (N. African to be precise). it will be interesting to see how things such as colonialism and post-colonialism have influenced science fiction literature in Africa.