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To the Editor:

Although Professor Craig Werner's review of my book, The Afro-American Short Story: A Comprehensive, Annotated Index with Selected Commentaries (MFS 32 [1986]: 638), was a good and objective review, I wish to respond to the following points he makes:

  1. 1. I overlook works published in science fiction magazines.

  2. 2. "At times Yancy includes independently published excerpts of novels (Louise Merriweather's Daddy Was a Numbers Runner, Albert Murray's Train Whistle Guitar), but he does not include the published sections of Ralph Ellison's work-in-progress."

  3. 3. My index "is by no means the comprehensive volume the title claims." I see science fiction as a very different genre from literature in general and Afro-American literature in particular.

I did not include novel excerpts. The above mentioned works were first published as short stories and later rewritten and expanded into novels. I did include an "out take" from Ellison's Invisible Man, "Out of the Hospital and Under the Bar."

My index lists 951 stories by 355 authors. While there are some omissions, it lists well over ninety percent of the "significant" stories by at least ninety percent of the "significant" writers. All of my dictionaries define this as comprehensive.

Thank you for the review of my book, and thank you for this opportunity to respond to the review.

A response

The argument for science fiction—particularly that written by Octavia Butler [End Page 221] and Samuel Delany—as a vital element of the Afro-American literary tradition has been cogently advanced in Robert Elliot Fox's Conscientious Sorcerers: The Black Postmodernist Fiction of LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka, Ishmael Reed, and Samuel R. Delany (Westport: Greenwood, 1987) and in the special science fiction issue of Black American Literature Forum (Summer 1984). [End Page 222]

Preston M. Yancy
Virginia Union University
Craig Werner
University of Wisconsin


Additional Information

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pp. 221-222
Launched on MUSE
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