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More than just Literature

Pilgrims through Space and Time: Trends and Patterns in Scientific and Utopian Fiction, written by James Bailey in 1947, is noted as one of the first to study Science Fiction academically. He stated that, "a piece of scientific fiction is a narrative of an imaginary invention or discovery in the natural sciences and consequent adventures and experiences ... It must be a scientific discovery – something that the author at least rationalizes as possible to science" (Bailey 10). So, Ellison did write some form of Science Fiction that evolved into Afrofuturistic text that captivates literary consumers.

Afrofuturism was and is more than just literature: it expands to music, art and media. Afrofuturism is still in its infancy since, “scholars generally agree that the movement began in the late 1950s with jazz musicians such as Sun Ra and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry who presented themselves as alien visitors from other worlds. In the 1960s, Black Arts Movement authors including Ishmael Reed and Amiri Baraka also began telling stories about fantastic black people who traveled freely through time and space” (Yaszek, An Afrofuturist reading, 300). Sun Ra’s lyrics suggested that he was in an alien that traveled through space and time, whose, “past (notably ancient Egypt), present and future (the pioneering use of synthesizers and electronic instruments, the interest in space travel) advocated racial uplift and paved the way to what black people could actually do” (Elia 88). The message conveyed through Sun Ra’s lyrics, are those of hope for an African American utopia, where the notion of racism, segregation and white superiority do not exist.

Sun Ra

Sun Ra Arkestra, 1973

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