Monday, May 18, 2015

NNEDI OKORAFOR ON AFROFUTURISM, BARACK OBAMA, AND STEPHEN KING'S SUPER DUPER MAGICAL NEGROES (MF Galaxy 026)

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Nnedi Okorafor is the celebrated author of ten books, including The Shadow Speaker, Who Fears Death, and the forthcoming The Book of Phoenix. Zahrah the Windseeker, Okorafor’s debut novel about a highly technological world based on Nigerian myths and culture, was nominated for the Locus Best First Novel Award, shortlisted for the Parallax and Kindred Awards, a finalist for the Golden Duck and Garden State Teen Choice awards, and it won the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature.

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This episode’s conversation with Okorafor comes from way down deep in the archives of The Terrordome: The Africa All-World News Service. I spoke with Okorafor by telephone back on January 18, 2009, but back then aired only a portion of what you’ll hear now. Okorafor talked about many issues, including:

  • Her definition of what Euro-American literary critic Mark Dery called Afrofuturism
  • The appeal of science fiction to African audiences who have for most of the genre’s existence been excluded by it
  • Her thoughts on just how Africentric The Matrix series is, or isn’t
  • And the thesis of her famous 2004 essay called “Stephen King's Super-Duper Magical Negroes,” and what it reveals about American literary culture and politics.

We also discuss the powerful effect on self-conception that the American continent-wide rape gulag had on the West Africans who became the African-Americans, which were profoundly different from the effects that mass enslavement had on the so-called “indentured servants”—that is to say, European slaves, not to mention the rest of humanity since slavery existed across the planet.

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