Science fiction’s multilayered vision of the future, in Adilifu Nama’s Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film, is still a plateau grounded in the contemporary realities of race. More specifically, as in dissection of the movie “They Live,” science fiction has, at times, offered a chance for a discussion about inequality, power and the cultural contradictions between white working-class idealism based in Horatio Alger-inspired meritocracy and the long-unresolved disenfranchisement of people of color which has engendered mistrust.
The films and Nama’s interpretations are diverse. From hit sci-fi fare to obscure movies over the decades, references go from anecdotal to engrossing. How race, sex and politics are portrayed as ever evolving. However, as the author states later, the historical struggles by people of color are hardly ever overtly examined or taken on as a major narrative in any science fiction film. Instead sci-fi, as with technology, exploration and the unknown, offers a futuristic look at race, and where it could be.