“‘See You Yesterday’ and the Perils—and Promise—of Time-Travelling While Black” (The New Yorker)

“‘See You Yesterday’ and the Perils—and Promise—of Time-Travelling While Black,’ by Maya Philipps (May 27, 2019)

“Loopholes, resurrected characters, plot resets, ever-branching arcs: time travel is an infinitely flexible conceit, limited only to its own pseudoscientific rules of causality. The new Netflix movie “See You Yesterday” makes an unusual contribution to the time-travel canon while highlighting one of its most prominent flaws: the racial privilege baked into these stories, or the dangers of time-travelling while black.

From Marty McFly to James Cole and even Wolverine, time travellers are almost always white and frequently male. It’s a practical choice on the part of writers. Post-Reconstruction? Not a problem. Colonial times? Let’s make it a three-day weekend. Time-travel shows and movies tend to fall into one of two categories: quaint personal journeys and heroic quests. In stories like “Back to the Future,” “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” and “The Butterfly Effect,” the scale is that of a personal narrative, with a white protagonist comfortably insulated from a larger racial history. On the other hand, in stories like “12 Monkeys,” “The Terminator,” and “Timecop,” the central conflict is so large—apocalypse, dystopias, national or global disasters—that the narrative can easily sweep past issues of race. (As for forward time-travelling, the future tends to be surprisingly post-racial, as evinced in “Star Trek” and “Doctor Who.”)”

Continue reading at The New Yorker by clicking the link in the title.

“Community, Revolution, and Power: How Long ‘til Black Future Month? by N. K. Jemisin”

Community, Revolution, and Power: How Long ‘til Black Future Month? by N. K. Jemisin” by Martin Cahill (Nov. 27, 2018) (Tor.com)

“What started out as the topic of an essay written back in 2013 has now become the rallying cry behind multiple award-winning writer N. K. Jemisin’s first short story collection.” […]

“Her stories run the gamut from hard science fiction, to cyberpunk, to alien invasion, to steampunk, to urban fantasy, and more, and more, and more. Jemisin’s vision is limitless, and in every story, in every world, you get the sense that she is testing the waters, tasting the air, getting a sense of how this genre works, and how she can best use it to her strengths.” […]

“Many of her short stories revolve around similar themes: community, revolution, justice, revelation, power, and more. Jemisin isn’t satisfied with just looking at a system from the outside, and documenting what’s seen; she’s far more interested in digging her hands into the cogs and gears of how such systems work, who they benefit, and how they can be recreated so that there is a more even flow of justice, of power to those who have none, of compassion for those who have been ignored.”

For more, check out the original article at tor.com (Link in title)