Black stories are important. I’m always on the hunt for content I can share with you about Black authors and information in the publishing industry that is about/benefits Black people.
On my author’s blog, I shared about a genre called Sword & Soul, which is “heroic fiction and epic fantasy based on African traditions, cultures, and history. You can read about it here.
As I was doing some Internet surfing, I found two Black sub-genres of Fantasy and Science Fiction: Blacktastic and Black-tech.
I have to give a huge thanks to college instructor and author Marcus Haynes, for hipping me to these genres.
So what are they? Well, I’ll quote Mr. Haynes directly.
Blacktastic: A Sub-genre of Fantasy
Blacktastic is “a sub-genre of Fantasy. Unlike many other sub-genres, Blacktastic is not confined to any specific time period. This frees it to borrow elements from any era with little or no explanation. Blacktastic can also take elements from its more Eurocentric counterparts: it may be a high fantasy (a completely different world with an expansive journey and large cast of characters) or an Urban fantasy (fantastical elements in a city setting), for example. Superhero-based fiction could also fit into the Blacktastic sub-genre, but it more often than not would overlap with Science Fiction (usually determined by how the superhero(es) in question received their powers. Blacktastic centers the people in the Diaspora in a fantasy adventure where their heroics are rewarded and they are allowed to grow and journey throughout life. Young heroes and heroines in Blacktastic also tend to come of age a little differently, as they often have to contend with their adventure, their growth AND their race, ethnicity, gender, and/or sexuality based differences all at once. Thanks to Blacktastic readers are able to see African Diasporic characters in ways they would never see them in the world we know; it truly makes for a world disconnected from our own” (Haynes, 2020).
Some examples of books in this genre include Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi; My Prince, My Boy by John Darr, and the Elemental series by Marcus Haynes.
Black-tech: A Sub-genre of Science Fiction
Next up is Black-tech. This is a sub-genre of Science Fiction. Haynes defines this sub-genre as “…settled in the “present-day” or an otherwise undetermined time period. Black-tech allows for explorations of Blackness outside of the dystopic or utopian environments of many Afrofuturistic stories, instead allowing for African Diasporic people to wrestle with science and the ways that it affects them in the present day (or outside of time in the case of comparisons to alien invasions). Texts that explore experimentation on African Diasporic people, using them as a form of human technology, or their contributions to science are right at home in this sub-genre. However, Black-tech also can have positive uses. Due to the distrust many African Diasporic people have of science, Black-tech can be used to show that with training and focus they can be in control of the very entity that oppresses them. Works that show African Diasporic people creating and utilizing technologies of today, or simply interacting with science positively are the types of empowering works that make up Black-tech” (Haynes, 2020).
Some books that fall within this category are The Space Traders by Derrick Bell and The Golden Hour by Maiya Williams.
Those both sound pretty amazing to me. I’m sure there are more Black authors who fall under these genres. As I read more books, I will be sure to hip y’all to any that fall in these categories.
Have you read any books that fall in these sub-genres?? Please leave the titles in the comments!
Audra Russell is a blogger, freelance writer, and published author. She holds two undergraduate degrees in journalism as well as a Master of Science degree in Education. She also completed the Wesleyan University online Creative Writing Specialization course series.
She is an avid reader and writer’s advocate. Her passion for promoting the works of up-and-coming authors inspired her to create her podcast, Between the Reads, as well as her website, Read It Black to Me. Her debut novel, BLOOD LAND, was published on August 29, 2020, as her fiftieth birthday gift to herself. She lives in Maryland with her husband of more than 20 years, her 3 amazing children, a 12-year-old perpetual puppy, two dueling cats, and her lone surviving chicken of 8 years who she affectionately renamed Gloria (she will survive!)