Star Trek: Deep Space Nine continues its exploration of social issues in “Far Beyond the Stars”, which looks at American racism more baldly than any other Star Trek episode before it. Then, in “One Little Ship”, a runabout gets shrunk down and has to fly around the inside of the Defiant to stop a Jem’Hadar takeover. Well, no one ever said that tonal whiplash wouldn’t be fun!
Hey listeners! In the episode we remarked on our own lack of knowledge as far as black science fiction authors beyond a name or two. A couple days after we recorded, I saw this link, which gives an excellent overview and some recommendations: http://www.fantasticstoriesoftheimagination.com/a-crash-course-in-the-history-of-black-science-fiction/
Your discussion of the arguments about black characters in sci-fi/fantasy (eg. “But there weren’t black people in that time”) made me think of the Broadway musical “Hamilton”. One of the reasons that show was so popular was that it cast black and Latino actors as well-known people from history. “We wanted to portray America then as America looks now.” They thought doing this would remove a lot of the barriers that exist for an audience when being told a historical story. That musical kind of obliterates the “but there weren’t black people in this time period/story” argument. It was a smash hit and won 11 Tony Awards (and a Grammy and the Pulitzer Prize).
More relevant is how this episode reminded me of the controversy surrounding the 2015 Hugo Awards. How white writers and fans tried to game the voting system to prevent minority authors from being nominated. The rationale being “Those kinds of stories are not what we consider to be ‘real’ sci-fi/fantasy and/or those books are not ‘entertaining’ enough”.
I still think “Far Beyond the Stars” is too heavy handed for me. But you guys did give me a greater appreciation for the story relating to the characters Brooks and Lofton were playing in it.
I didn’t re-watch “One Little Ship” and I realized I have no memory of what it’s about. All I remember is the small ship. Tried to remember what it was about as you guys talked. Failed. I’m now contemplating whether I should go re-watch it.