Noting that science fiction is characterized by an investment in the proliferation of racial difference, Isiah Lavender III argues that racial alterity is fundamental to the genre's narrative strategy. offers a systematic classification of ways that race appears and how it is silenced in science fiction, while developing a critical vocabulary designed to focus attention on often-overlooked racial implications. These focused readings of science fiction contextualize race within the genre's better-known master narratives and agendas. Authors discussed include Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, and Ursula K. Le Guin, among many others.
I had this on loan from outside my library system and ran out of time to finish it. It is good but it is DENSE and it also made me realize that I have not read a lot of science fiction. But most of the issues with SciFi books that are discussed in this are also problems in shows and films.
I picked this up because 'Pop Culture Detective' referred to it for their research on how Droids are treated in Star Wars.
Hopefully I will pick this up again another time when my brain is able to focus a bit more on the lofty thoughts and language.
My love of Octavia E Butler knows no bounds. When I read an essay excerpt from this on a site I knew I had to read it.
The excerpt did not prepare me for the academic nature of the narrative but was enjoyable and entertaining nonetheless. The chapter 'Ailments of Race' is definitely enlightening given our new collective knowledge of pandemics and disease. And glad to see Lavender is still publishing and honestly will look for them.
An important, thoroughly researched, and engaging book that takes on one of the most important branches of genre fiction and looks at how this genre, science fiction, has historically handled race and race-like issues (e.g. the treatment of post-humans like androids, cyborgs, and robots). If you've ever wanted one book that assembled a vast array of book reviews, science fiction critics, and writers on the subject of race then this is the resource I'd recommend.