Geoffrey Philp is a Caribbean author with a story in ‘Whispers From the Cotton Tree Root’ called Uncle Obadiah and The Alien, which I really enjoyed, and I found his website this week and was perusing through and was quite taken with this quote of his:
When would we write stories that liberated us from such narrow vision of our past and ourselves? When would we write stories that portrayed us as shapers of our future and not merely passive agents in our own existence? We still bought and sold novels with characters that were locked into the badman/cocksman stereotype of Caribbean/ black manhood. In other words, our literature had not filled in the gaps in Caribbean life that remains locked into the vision of outdated stereotypes or themes of exile.
I guess the line that burrows right into my brain in a good way is When would we write stories that portrayed us as shapers of our future and not merely passive agents in our own existence? Because this same reason was why I got fired up to start writing some sort of Caribbean SF, or playing with the idea. I’d read Bruce Sterling’s Islands in The Net, and while I wasn’t happy with some stuff, I thought the idea of dynamic forward looking islanders tinkering with technology and riding the edge of the future was compelling, and I wanted to take that further and start writing about how the “3rd World” participated, and would participate, in the future.
We’ve taken language and added our own vocab, linguistic stylings, and forms (you all know what ‘bling’ is now, don’t you?) that has hit mainstream. Caribbean rhythms are found all over the top 20, since the middle 80s or so. So why not the future? Doesn’t the future also belong to islanders?
I certainly think so.