Dis-Orienting PlanetsRacial Representations of Asia in Science Fiction

Dis-Orienting PlanetsRacial Representations of Asia in Science Fiction

Isiah Lavender III

Print publication date: 2019

ISBN: 9781496811523

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi

Abstract

Dis-Orienting Planets: Racial Representations of Asia in Science Fiction continues where Black and Brown Planets: The Politics of Race in Science Fiction (2014) left off. This anthology features essays depicting Asia and Asians in science fiction literature, film, and fandom with particular attention paid to China, Japan, India, and Korea. The collection concentrates on political representations of Asian identity in science fiction’s imagination, from fear of the Yellow Peril and its host of stereotypes to techno-Orientalism and the remains of a post-colonial heritage. In fact, Dis-Orienting Planets engages the extremely negative and racist connotations of “orientalism” that obscure time, place, and identity perceptions of Asians, so-called yellow and brown peoples, in this historically white genre, provokes debate on the pervading imperialistic terminologies, and reconfigures the study of race in science fiction. In this respect, the title “disses” culturally inaccurate representations of the eastern hemisphere. In three parts, the seventeen collected essays consider the racial politics governing the renewed visibility of the Orient in science fiction. The first part emphasizes the interpretive challenges of science fictional meetings between the East and West by investigating entwined racial and political tensions. The second part concentrates on the tropes of Yellow Peril and techno-Orientalism, where fear of and desire for Orientalized futures generate racial anxiety and war. The third section explores technologized Asian subjectivities in the eco-critical spaces of mainland China, the Pacific Rim, the Korean peninsula, and the Indian subcontinent. Clearly, our future visions must absolutely include all people of color.