Friday, May 09, 2008

Black Man Renamed

I know many of you would like to know who won this year's Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction in the end ... and sorry it's taken me so long.

The winner was Black Man by Richard Morgan but, it seems, the American publishers to be politically correct decided to change the name to Thirteen for the US edition. As Martin Lewis who reviews the book on the Strange Horizons website points out there is a certain irony about renaming a novel about identity politics in this way.

I thought this account of the Morgan's starting point for the book very interesting :
Not long after the 2004 presidential elections in the United States a map started to do the rounds on the internet. It was a map of Jesusland, a reimaging of the borders of the U.S. predicated on the Red State/Blue State idea that the country was actually two distinct entities: a liberal, progressive one more akin to Canada clustered around the West Coast and the North East; and an intolerant, conservative one in the heartland and the South. It caught Morgan's eye and in Black Man he has made the concept a reality. The map itself is a facile piece of propaganda borne out of understandable frustration at the reelection of George W. Bush, but Morgan uses it as a starting point for an examination of whether there really is a war for civilisation; not the spurious one between the West and Islam so beloved of professional punditry but the far more compelling intrasocietal one between conflicting conceptions of the morally just life ...
It sounds an intelligent and hard hitting novel.

Also worth reading is Adam Whitehead's reviews the book on his blog The Wertzone.

This is Richard Morgan's fifth novel, and you can find out more about him on his website.


Madcap Machinist said...

Sounds like a mind-blowing book.

Niz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bibliobibuli said...

hi niz - my email is sharonbakar at yahoo dot com

i would email you if i knew what you're was ... i'm not even sure i can remember who you are (probably a terrible admission i will regret in a minute when you remind me!)

Amir said...

There was an Agatha Christie novel that underwent a similar name-change. First it was "Ten Little Niggers", then became "And Then There Were None" and also "Ten Little Indians." It's not much about identity politics, though.

I have about 30 of her books and even though I can't imagine re-reading them I didn't have the heart to give 'em away at KLAB. Maybe next year!

. said...

The American publisher has just blew that book away from my reading list.

I, for one, would not read anything that is political correct. Waste of time.

What's wrong with "Black Man"? I mean, in this age, you can't call a black guy a black guy anymore?

What? You need to call him an "Afican American"??

How about a white woman? Can't do that either?

An "European American"????

C'mon, please !!!

Oh, btw, if you're so into books, why don't you read some of those books that are banned by the Malaysian xenophobic regime, and then tell us about it?

Thank you !

Anonymous said...

Well you have to understand the racial politics. It's like if you called an Indian "blackie" here, it's just not a good thing to be identified by the color of your skin. And if you're really want to be nitpicky, a lot of them are not actually black, just a sort of very dark caramel colour.

bibliobibuli said...

agree with full stop. you can be politically correct to the point of ridiculousness! the title isn't apparently only referring to the colour of his skin.