Flying Saucers & Afrofuturism —
Counternarratives Study Guide

Compiled by Ralph Dumain

“I have no religion in the formal sense of the word .... I have no race except that which is forced upon me. I have no country except that to which I’m obliged to belong. I have no traditions. I’m free. I have only the future.”

Richard Wright, Pagan Spain (1957)

On this site


Passport to Magonia (Contents & Preface, 1969) by Jacques Vallee


Mi vida en los tubos de supervivencia / My Life in the Tubes of Survival by Roberto Bolaño

2 Haiku for Richard Wright by R. Dumain


Richard Wright’s Outsider, Negroes & Flying Saucers

The Negro Mood: Ethos (quotes) by Lerone Bennett, Jr.

Discipline 27 by Sun Ra

Skies of America [excerpt from liner notes] by Ornette Coleman

'Anthony Braxton: The Third Millennial Interview with Mike Heffley': Extracts, with Commentary by Ralph Dumain

Simplex, Complex, & Multiplexity according to Samuel R. Delany

Bonny Delany: on science fiction writer Samuel R. Delany (rev.) by R. Dumain

Ash of Stars: One half of a dialogue on Samuel R. Delany by R. Dumain

Black mystic in hyperspace by R. Dumain

Touki Bouki by Djibril Diop Mambety reviewed by Ralph Dumain

Ishmael Reed, William Blake, and the '60s According to Shamoon Zamir by R. Dumain

The Jazz Avant-Garde, Mysticism & Society: Meaning, Method & the Young Hegelians by R. Dumain

I Dream Too Much (28 August 2006)
The Jazz Avant-Garde (3) (14 September 2006)
Music and the Avant Garde (13 September 2006)

Afrofuturism: reviews by R. Dumain

Afrofuturism — the exhibit & the book: a partial review

AfroBS Dropping (review of Afrofuturism Rising)

Flying saucers in the news — 24 June 1947 -

Joe Louis & Flying Saucers (1947)

Bibliographies & web guides


Black Studies, Music, America vs Europe—Study Guide

Anthony Braxton: Selected Bibliography

Richard Wright Study Guide

Posadism: A Guide

Science Fiction & Utopia Research Resources: A Selective Work in Progress

Books read to 1984: transcribed book lists by R. Dumain [viz. my childhood interest in UFOs]

On other sites


Gods, UFOs, Zen, epistemology, autonomy by R. Dumain

Magonia Archive (UFO lore. 99 issues: 1970-2009)

The UFO Files

Official NICAP Web Site

Alfred Loedding and The Great Flying Saucer Wave of 1947 by Michael D. Hall & Wendy A. Connors

Socialism and Democracy, # 42 (Volume 20, No. 3): Socialism and Social Critique in Science Fiction [Science fiction + Afrofuturism]

Science Fiction and the Cultural Logic of Early Post Postmodernism by Marleen S. Barr

Afrofuturism Science Fiction and the History of the Future by Lisa Yaszek

Octavia Butler and the Base for American Socialism by Jonathan Scott

Flying Saucers Are Real! The US Navy, Unidentified Flying Objects, and the National Security State By Robert P. Horstemeier

A History of the Mothership, or Why Tom Cruise Blows Up Wombs to Save the World by Claire L. Evans, Vice, 20 June 2014

My Flying Saucer”; words by Woody Guthrie, music by Billy Bragg

The location of the lyrics is ‘Haggerty Ceiling’, Los Angeles and is dated April 12, 1950. (Information courtesy of the Woody Guthrie Center and the Bob Dylan Archive.)

My Flying Saucer - Billy Bragg and Wilco (1:49 min.), from Mermaid Avenue, Vol. 2 (1999)


Black Steampunk / Negra Vaporpunko (Ĝirafo blog)


Afrofuturism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

We come from the future by Alain Vicky, Le Monde diplomatique in English, June 2013

Utopian and Dystopian Visions of Afrofuturism by Deji Bryce Olukotun, Slate, November 30, 2015

Black Atlantis by Asad Haider, Viewpoint Magazine, March 5, 2018

A Drum Is a Woman - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Breath of life: Duke Ellington: "Ballet of the Flying Saucers" (A Drum Is a Woman, 1956)

The Race for Space” (1957) by Duke Ellington (from The Duke Ellington Reader)

Duke's Diary: The Life of Duke Ellington, 1950-1974 By Ken Vail
(6 December 1956: final recording session for A Drum Is a Woman)

Duke Ellington--Person to Person, 1957 TV (March 15)

Duke Ellington - Madam Zajj / Ballet of the Flying Saucers (recording) from A Drum Is a Woman;  also at Myspace

Duke Ellington 12/30/1957 "Ballet Of A Flying Saucer" - Timex All-Star Jazz Show #1

Duke Ellington Orchestra: "Ballet of Flying Saucers" (1957)

Ballet of the Flying Saucers, the Duke Ellington Orchestra (from Only God Can Make a Tree)

Blutopia · Duke Ellington And His Orchestra (1944)

Blues in Orbit - Duke Ellington (1958)

Ornette Coleman: “Science Fiction ” (1971) [5:01 min.]

Ornette Coleman ‎– The Complete Science Fiction Sessions (2 cds) [1:49:04]

Yusef Lateef - Robot Man

Supplementary bibliography


Kripal, Jeffrey J. Authors of the Impossible: the Paranormal and the Sacred. Chicago; London: The University of Chicago Press, 2010. See chapter 3: The Future Technology of Folklore: Jacques Vallee and the UFO Phenomenon, pp. 142-197.


Afro-Future Females: Black Writers Chart Science Fiction’s Newest New-Wave Trajectory, edited by Marleen S. Barr. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2008. Contents.

Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora, edited by Sheree R. Thomas. New York: Warner Books, 2000.

Dark Matter: Reading the Bones, edited by Sheree R. Thomas. New York: Warner Books, 2004. Contents.

So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy; edited by Nalo Hopkinson &  Uppinder Mehan; introduction by Samuel R. Delany. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2004.

    Postcolonial Science Fiction [review essay] by Michelle Reid.

Lock, Graham. Blutopia: Visions of the Future and Revisions of the Past in the Work of Sun Ra, Duke Ellington, and Anthony Braxton. Durham: Duke University Press, 1999.

NOTE: There are the counternarratives of Afrofuturism itself—dubiously melded into one— and then there is my counternarrative to the prevailing ideology of Afrofuturism. Here I gather all links to UFO-related pages on this site and a few general links to other sites, and a number of links to recognized and not yet recognized materials pertaining to Black and Black-related takes on the flying saucer phenomenon and on Afrofuturistic themes.  The older the piece written by me, the greater the chance I have since modified my view. The bibliographic section on Afrofuturism in my Science Fiction and Utopia guide includes many of the references listed above. Links to my critical reviews of Afrofuturist writings will appear here. This web page will link also to a special section on flying saucers and their relation to Black Americans. My counternarrative begins with Richard Wright, as always, the touchstone.

While observed phenomena now termed UFOs go back much farther, the concept was forged with Kenneth Arnold’s sighting of June 24, 1947, that resulted in an interview and early report on June 25 (my birthday before I was born), and then the sighting was misquoted in the press, naming the objects ‘flying saucers’ on June 26. Then, both sightings and the phenomenon called ‘flying saucers’ proliferated rapidly throughout American culture, also resulting in a problem for the U.S. military.

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Uploaded 28 April 2023
Last update 10 June 2023
Previous update 15 May 2023

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