Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth: Anthony Joseph


“Aranguez” from The African Origins of UFOs

The African Origins of UFOs, Anthony Joseph & Lauri RameyWhile looking for Caribbean afrofuturists, I found this poet, novelist and musician, Anthony Joseph. Joseph, who has been featured in the anthology Dark Matter, is Trinidadian-British man and has written three books of poetry as well as an experimental novel, The African Origins of UFOs (click on link to read a sample).

Published in 2006, the description of the book is that of “a narrative in verse that alternates between future – present and past. It is a fusion of science fiction, surrealism, mythology and the carnivalesque rhythms of Trinidadian dialect. It is a unique, genre busting, hybrid text that blurs the boundaries between prose and poetry and asks difficult questions about ‘race,’ memory and the future.”

Listen here to “Kneedeepinditchdiggerniggersweat” from the album Leggo De Lion inspired by the book.

Here is more of the synopsis:

In the hot and hedonistic atmosphere of Toucan Bay, a Caribbean enclave on the planet Kunu Supia, the legendary hustler of bootleg melanin Joe Sambucus Nigra returns from the desert with a price on his head. Waiting for him at the seafront brothel and nightclub Houdini’s, are several of his enemies including his arch nemesis, the gargantuan hired assassin Bo Nuggy.


An unnamed, semi omniscient narrator relates the sequence of events that unfold at Houdini’s the night of Joe Sam’s long awaited return. His story is interrupted by periodic hallucinations or genetic flashbacks that take the reader on a journey from ancient Iere to Kunu Supia, via present day Trinidad. And in which the past, present and future coalesce into a more expansive narrative that reveals his own history through time and space.

The twenty-four chapters that comprise The African Origins Of UFOs were written over a five year period. The text is a time shifting narrative in poetic prose and poetry that fuses elements of science fiction, surrealism, metafiction, Trinidadian history and mythology, to explore issues of exile, race and genetic memory, all told in a fresh and innovative language, infused with the speech rhythms of Trinidad. It blends the diasporic with the avant-garde into something which can only be called “afropsychedelic noir.”

I definitely want to get my hands on this!

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