Audiofuturism is a critical study of science fiction radio drama in a Transatlantic frame. It considers radio adaptations of speculative fiction works by U.S., British, and Black Diasporic authors.
In many ways, it’s a natural follow-up to Speculative Blackness: there are already different media involved in that book, and adaptation is a topic that’s interested me all the while. Originally, the article I published on the 25th anniversary of Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet was a transition piece between parts of Speculative Blackness. I learned so much along the way, between that treatise on the sound of knowledge/the knowledge of sound and the chapter of the book on adaptation, that I knew I’d have to save some things for later, and this one was so provocative it clearly required me to learn even more. Speculative Blackness is like my noisy, timely arrival to the research party. It’s all about how an array of works in different media form an overlapping tradition of race thinking in a popular genre. It announces itself, and it represents me, announcing myself: Listen up, science fiction studies! Come on, African American Studies! I do fandom! I do comics! I got archives, SON! Feminist science fiction is the joint! Race in SF is important because speculative fiction is both marginal and popular!
The first book allowed me to reach out and address many things. This, now, is an extensive meditation on what turns out to be One Big Thing. This research is… quieter. I’m here. This is what I’m here for. I was a fox 🦊 in that project, I’m a hedgehog in this one. And I’m using speculative fiction in its expansive capacity, with science fiction as a pseudonym if not a synonym, because I’ve come to appreciate and argue for a notion of genre that connects different media, rather than a medium-specific phenomenon. I think of Audiofuturism as a sort of constellation among texts, techniques, and strategies, moments and meanings. Terrestrial radio turned out to be a done deal in the 20th century. I’m interested in it as a legacy format, if not as dead media. And I’m interested in the way genre formation plays a critical role in worldmaking (not to be confused with world-building).