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Journal Article

Droppin' Science Fiction: Signification and Singularity in the Metapocalypse of Du Bois, Baraka, and Bell

Darryl A. Smith
Science Fiction Studies
Vol. 34, No. 2, Afrofuturism (Jul., 2007), pp. 201-219
Published by: SF-TH Inc
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4241522
Page Count: 19
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Droppin' Science Fiction: Signification and Singularity in the Metapocalypse of Du Bois, Baraka, and Bell
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Abstract

This essay presents the argument that black speculative fiction can be construed generally as a dialectical riposte to the broader sf megatext. Specifically, I argue, black sf can be understood as refiguring in apocalyptic terms the so-called Spike (or Singularity) as posited by an important quarter of the Anglo-European sf tradition through the critical inversion of this idea by African-American sf. Consideration is also given to the relevant discourse on the posthuman within the genre. To these ends, I focus on the speculative fiction of W.E.B. Du Bois, Amiri Baraka, and Derrick Bell, paying particular attention to both explicit and implicit expressions of this inverted Spike in each, which tend to disrupt dominant paradigms of reality. I draw substantially on the critical signification theory articulated by Ralph Ellison and substantially elaborated by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

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