Minority Voices on Dystopia
February 1, 2007 9:27 AM   Subscribe

Looking for traditions/ideas/conjecture/debate about hypothetical "dystopias" (from/not limited to: fiction, film, social/political theory, philosophy, eschatology) that come from non-White/European (of any gender) voices.

Researching the idea of Dystopia and finding almost nothing coming from non-White folks.

I am interested in mythologies and beliefs held by religious groups, but I am much more interested in notions/works advanced by individuals.

(Also, a slightly-unrelated second interest, looking for sources of quick-and-dirty descriptions of the views on eschatology created by: the various African tribal groups, Australian Aborigines, and Micro/Mela/Polynesians.)

posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj to Religion & Philosophy (15 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Octavia Butler's books. Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents deal most directly with the subject, but there are dystopian themes/catastrophes in the background of a fair number of her other works & short stories.
posted by ubersturm at 9:38 AM on February 1, 2007

Isn't that what manga's all about?
posted by veedubya at 9:40 AM on February 1, 2007

This is a list of distopian literature provided by Wikipedia. On a cursory glance, I spotted only two non-Euro authors: this guy and this guy.

Japanese Manga is probably your best bet for lots of Dystopian-type work, but of course Japan's economy and culture align it as much with the west as Asia. err...arguably and for the purposes of your question anyway.
posted by taliaferro at 9:41 AM on February 1, 2007

Second Octavia Butler. The "Lilith's Seed" trilogy is another interesting take on a dystopian future, though it is further uot in the future than the Parable books are.
posted by olinerd at 9:55 AM on February 1, 2007

Gerald Vizenor's book Bearheart: The Heirship Chronicles is an extraordinary dystopian-eschatological novel that describes the collapse of Western Civilization after the oil runs out. Philosophically very rich, it combines Vizenor's critique of what he calls "terminal creeds", ossified ideologies centered around a single national identity, with an epic journey of half-breeds and misfits seeking shelter in the Navajo Nation. It may be a little hard to find, but it's well worth your trouble as it is a wonderful book.
posted by felix betachat at 9:57 AM on February 1, 2007

Dhalgren by Samuel Delany. He's a gay American black man, though maybe not in that order.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:07 AM on February 1, 2007

Futureland by Walter Mosley is a dystopian science fiction story that deals very directly with issues of race.
posted by Hildago at 10:39 AM on February 1, 2007

(and he's black)
posted by Hildago at 10:39 AM on February 1, 2007

veedubya: "Isn't that what manga's all about?"

Yeah, Akira is probably the classic example.
posted by koeselitz at 11:31 AM on February 1, 2007

Oh, and I just saw that you're stipulating "non-white/European."

One really great sci-fi/dystopia is a book called Black No More by George Schuyler, a southern black man writing in the thirties. It concerns a future where black people have been given the chance to change their skin color. He veritably skewers the leading lights of various "movements" on all sides, mocking Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. DuBois, the KKK, the NAACP, and just about everybody else available.

But if you meant "non-American," I guess that doesn't work
posted by koeselitz at 11:39 AM on February 1, 2007

I might look at Angela Gorodischer's "Kalpa Imperial," recently translated by Ursula LeGuin.
posted by Jeanne at 12:07 PM on February 1, 2007

well, part of the premise of critical studies on dystopic philosophies is precisely their intimate relationship with (and birth within) western religio-political systems. thus the difficulty in finding what you are looking for...
posted by yonation at 12:19 PM on February 1, 2007

J M Coetzee is a white South African, but his book Waiting for the Barbarians is a dystopian view of African colonization, so it might be of interest to you.
posted by fidelity at 12:34 PM on February 1, 2007

Manamune Shirow's Appleseed probably falls into your category. Though it may be set in an anti-utopia rather than a dystopia. Ignore the recent animated movie (technically impressive as it is) and head straight for the graphic novels.
posted by krisjohn at 1:56 PM on February 1, 2007

Also, We by Yevgeny Zamyatin is one written by a Russian author in 1921. Not really Western culture at that time.
posted by slavlin at 2:53 PM on February 1, 2007

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