Sunday, July 14, 2019

Sci-fi book cover: "Black in Time"

  • Title: Black in Time
  • Author: John Jakes (1932-present)
  • Cover artist: Steele Savage (1898-1970)
  • Publisher: Paperback Library (a division of Coronet Communications)
  • Publication date: September 1970 (first printing)
  • Cover price: 60 cents
  • Pages: 171
  • Format: Paperback
  • Cover blurb: "A black militant, a white supremacist, and a time-travel device tangle in a fight to rewrite history and eternity!"
  • Back cover blurb: "RIGHT ON! Into the time machine plunges Jomo, the black militant leader of BURN. "Revolution then" is his motto; he's going to rearrange history so the blacks get a fair shake — or, preferably, world dominance.

    "But in another area of time, rabble-rousing white supremacist Billy Roy Whisk is also at work — fixing history so the slaves are never freed.

    "Worlds spin in and out of existence. And through the paradoxes of time, one black man is pursuing Jomo and Whisk, trying to stop them before their experiments wipe out the world — forever."
  • Book advertised on last page: My Life with Jacqueline Kennedy, by Mary Barelli Gallagher
  • First sentence: "On the stage, the actors playing the eunuch and Phaedria's brother had been rehearsing the same scene for half an hour."
  • Last sentence: "Jomo moved."
  • Random sentence from middle: "Langorously, Diana started walking through the high meadow grass."
  • Goodreads rating: 2.73 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Amazon rating: 3.2 stars (out of 5.0)
  • What people have written about the book:
    • "It's the American future — meaning 1977 in this case — and we have time travel as an educational resource. Unfortunately though, one of those black militants has gone back in time to change the past so as to get rid of all white people and make Earth a black planet — just like one of those evil liberals behind the new Star Wars movies would probably appreciate; and worse, some right wing televangelist nutjob has also gone back in time hoping to change history and make it a white Christian planet; and thus does chaos ensue. ... Aside from having been written by a white dude, Black in Time is a blaxploitation novel, more or less, at least by virtue of Jomo, our time travelling black power activist loosely based on Huey Newton and pals." (Lawrence Burton, on Pamphlets of Destiny)
    • "If you happen to own John Jakes: A Critical Companion, you might be surprised to find that it contains zero mentions of Black in Time. It says Jakes 'has made American history come to life' yet it doesn't mention his one book in which Harriet Beecher Stowe attacks a time-traveling racist with a red-hot poker." (Grady Hendrix, on
    • "It's pedantic, offensive, painful, and not enough time machine wankery. Its really really bad. No, really." (Scott Nieradka, on Goodreads)
    • "So yeah, I’m going to look for more of John Jakes’s science fiction works. This one was really engrossing and just a ripping good yarn with a decent, albeit sort of obvious, moral. Hate doesn’t solve problems, guys. It only makes them worse, no matter which side of the fight you’re on. Don’t even hate the haters." (Thomas, on Schlock Value)
    • "Given that the book focuses on race relations, and has a main character who’s a white supremacist, one should expect some offensive language. Aside from the liberal use of the N-word, Jakes has the white supremacist (Billy Roy Whisk, which is an excellent name for such a character) talk about trying to kill 'Martin Luther [C--n]' before he has a chance to start his movement. And to be fair, Jakes doesn't come across as someone who endorses such language; he's giving all that to the characters we're supposed to despise. I'm just giving potential readers full warning." (on Shelf Indulgence)
    • "In the end, Black in Time is just trashy enough to kill mainstream appeal but not trashy enough to garner a weirdo cult following, leaving it in pulp novel limbo." (Matt Sears, on Goodreads)
    • "One advantage of this book is that it has a hilarious cover: leaving it on your coffee table will guarantee a hit conversational piece." (Caraculiambro, on Amazon)

Words in this post
that are new to Papergreat

  • rabble-rousing
  • eunuch
  • langorously
  • televangelist
  • nutjob
  • blaxploitation
  • wankery

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