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YA Afrofuturism?

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I have been writing for many years. I always thought I wrote dystopian, so I stuffed my manuscript into a box. A box where I really didn't think it belonged all the way. I am 27 years old, and have just discovered a term called "Afrofuturism"...

I belong!

Has anyone heard of this term in YA? Or in anything for that matter? I did a little research and found that it was coined in the early 90's and is making a strong comeback in music and in the literary world.

I am interested to hear everyone's thoughts... And also, how hard do you think this will be to get published, since this isn't like a mainstream genre? 
#1 - May 04, 2015, 08:31 PM

It is not a genre I'm familiar with as a children's bookseller--we tend to use "broader strokes" when handselling books to kids. (Examples: "Do you like realistic stories or fantasy stories?" "Do you like adventure?" "Do you like romance?") The good news is that the YA genre has long been more flexible and experimental than adult genres. You can takes several different genres, shake and mix, and have a YA book that works just fine. Your book will sell if it's got a great story; the finer nuances of genre don't matter in YA.
#2 - May 04, 2015, 08:53 PM

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I've never heard the term, but Nancy Farmer's The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm would probably fit the category. Definitely worth a read.
#3 - May 05, 2015, 06:03 AM
Twitter: @MelissaKoosmann

I just Googled the term and it's a fascinating genre. Even before I read a little into it, I had the idea that groups like Parliament might be part of it.

I think a great story is a great story and a great story outside of the box makes it that much better. And, as HDWestlund points out, YA is particularly open to things that are different and interesting.
#4 - May 05, 2015, 06:08 AM
Young Henry and the Dragon (2011, Shenanigan Books)

@Jeanne K I have stumbled into a goldmine! Thanks, I think so, too.  Let's see if agents feel the same way. Haha.

@Mellisa K. I will look into that book. I know Octavia Butler was in this category and Samuel Delaney, I believe.

@HD I am shaking and mixin', Honey!   
#5 - May 05, 2015, 06:56 AM

Has anyone heard of this term in YA? Or in anything for that matter? I did a little research and found that it was coined in the early 90's and is making a strong comeback in music and in the literary world.

The articles seem to play up its (rather self-loathing) use in music and sci-fi, but little for YA as yet--

Generally, when you hear a strange new buzzword from agents, it's usually because they want the last book they read, and immediately invent a genre word for it so they can think there's more than one of them, and they can get one of their own:
For example, if they say they want "Dystopian", they just read Hunger Games, if they say they want "Urban fantasy", they just read Mortal Instruments, and if they want "Steampunk" they just read...sorry, got nothing on that one.

And, as Melissa says, if they ever say they want "Afrofuturism", we can guess they just read The Ear, The Eye & The Arm, although that seems to fit an on-paper definition better than most who claim to use the term.
#6 - May 05, 2015, 08:56 AM
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Afrofuturism is a term I've been hearing a fair amount in recent months, but I suspect it's been discussed with significant scholarly intent by people in the SF/F world for much longer than that. I recently ordered an anthology published a couple of years ago called Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond - the stories in it appear to be mostly by authors of adult fiction, including people like Tobias Buckell, NK Jemisin, and Junot Diaz, but it also includes stories by Joseph Bruchac, Daniel Jose Older, and Ibi Zoboi, who all write YA or MG.
#7 - September 01, 2015, 01:22 PM

It be interesting to see how the minorities effected feel about the term. If they are OK with it, then cool beans.

But for me I wouldn't want bearded lady futurism becoming a thing. Mostly because it be based around a misconception about transgendered people.

It may not be like that for them, but it seems a more accurate term might be needed.
#8 - September 29, 2015, 05:23 PM

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I'm reading NK Jemisin's the Fifth Season now, and it definitely has dystopian elements. She is brilliant, but her work is not for the faint of heart. If you haven't read The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, it's a good place to start. Sarah, you'd like them too. Her writing is very literary and her worlds are gender/sexuality-fluid.
#9 - September 30, 2015, 05:16 AM
Kell Andrews
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Twitter @kellandrewsPA

DEADWOOD, Spencer Hill, 2014
MIRA FORECASTS THE FUTURE, Sterling, 2016

I do like very literary work. I could give it a chance.

I'm actually a bit of a paradox. I like literary fiction and yet tight and ... fun? prose.

Kind of like how Alice In Wonderland feels different from Infinite Jest.
#10 - September 30, 2015, 01:13 PM

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