From Dune to Cyberabad
An interesting article now online, originally published in the Business Standard, Dec. 8: From Dune to Cyberabad. Focuses on both Indian SF and Western interpretations of India in science fiction, with a focus on Ian McDonald and a discussion mentioning Samit Basu, Anil Menon and others.
If a future historian were to examine the ways of humanity via a library of science fiction, these would be the scholar’s conclusions. Most rocket scientists and space explorers are white and male. UFOs, ETs, alien life-forms and spaceships prefer to visit the United States of America and large parts of Europe, with the occasional foray into Japan and very rarely, deserted patches of the globe.
Astronauts and spaceship crews are chiefly drawn from the West, though an occasional Indian (usually a doctor) or Chinese member (usually a mathematically gifted technician) might find a place on board alongside the token blacks. Africans, Brazilians (and other Latin Americans), and Indonesians or Malaysians rarely explore space, though Russians often do, and even Australians might. (Canadians and New Zealanders are conspicuous by their absence.) Robots, androids and humanoids are either based on Caucasian or more infrequently Japanese models, but evil aliens may reflect certain racial stereotypes of the time. – read the rest of the article.
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