An Earnest Blackness

Publication Information

Publication Date: August 2022
ISBN: 978-0-99-915358-1

$24.95 hardcover
$16.95 paperback
$5.95 ebook

124 pages
5 x 8 inches

AOP Publicity: Stanley Ashenbach
Cover Design: D. Harlan Wilson


© 2022 Anti-Oedipus Press

An Earnest Blackness

In this debut collection of personal essays, Eugen Bacon offers critical perspectives on blackness, Afrofuturism, colonialism, historicity, and (mis)recognition as she explores the untapped possibilities of speculative fiction. Using a variety of analytic, narrative, and anecdotal techniques, Bacon shares her experiences as an African Australian woman, mother, and writer who occupies a liminal space that is “betwixt” worlds and genres. She also considers work by “other” writers—ranging from Roland Barthes and Jorge Luis Borges to Suyi Davies Okungbowa, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Toni Morrison, Octavia Butler, and Sheree Renée Thomas—in an effort to chart a path towards greater social and cultural truth. Literary, adventurous, and insightful, Bacon excavates the world(s) that not only construct contemporary authorship but the fluid nature of identity itself.

EUGEN BACON is an African Australian author of several novels and fiction collections as well as Writing Speculative Fiction. In 2023, An Earnest Blackness received the British Fantasy Award for Best Nonfiction, and the book was a finalist for the Locus and Ditmar Awards. Bacon’s books have also been nominated for or won the British Science Fiction Association Award, Foreword Indies Award, Bridport Prize, Copyright Agency Prize, Horror Writers Association Diversity Grant, Otherwise Fellowship, Nommo Award, and others. Her creative work has appeared in Award Winning Australian Writing, Fantasy Magazine, Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction, and Fantasy & Science Fiction.


"All the essays are academic in style, complete with footnotes, quotations, and bibliographies. Yet Bacon maintains a friendly, chatty style. Reading this fascinating collection is like chatting with your smart best friend who wants to help you learn. If you enjoy the intelligent SF articles published in Vector, then you will enjoy An Earnest Blackness." —THE BSFA REVIEW

"A slim yet powerful text, An Earnest Blackness intersects not just with genres of Afrofuturism, but with Bacon's experiences navigating Australia, and the publishing industry at large, as an African Australian." —LOCUS MAGAZINE

"An Earnest Blackness is an electrifyingly bold collection of personal essays which strike a balance of exuberance and restraint." —TEXT

"This collection of personal essays defy all the likely pigeonholes. Oscillating between objective and subjective points of view, the prolific and talented Eugen Bacon offers a substantial banquet in a slim volume." —AUREALIS

"This short and portable volume offers a fascinating insight into the life, concerns, and thoughts of an emerging talent in world SF; artistic and lived realities are intimately bound up with a network of social, historical, economic, and geographical ties." —FOUNDATION: THE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW OF SCIENCE FICTION