The Comet (1920) is a science fiction story by W. E. B. Du Bois. Written while the author was using his role at The Crisis, the official magazine of the NAACP, to publish emerging black artists of the Harlem Renaissance, The Comet is a pioneering work of speculative fiction which imagines a catastrophic event not only decimating New York City, but bringing an abrupt end to white supremacy. “How silent the street was! Not a soul was stirring, and yet it was high-noon – Wall Street? Broadway? He glanced almost wildly up and down, then across the street, and as he looked, a sickening horror froze in his limbs.” Sent to the vault to retrieve some old records, bank messenger Jim Davis emerges to find a city descended into chaos. A comet has passed overhead, spewing toxic fumes into the atmosphere. All of lower Manhattan seems frozen in time. It takes him a few moments to see the bodies, piled into doorways and strewn about the eerily quiet streets. When he comes to his senses, he finds a wealthy woman asking for help. Soon, it becomes clear that they could very well be the last living people in the planet, that the fate of civilization depends on their ability to come together, not as black and white, but as two human beings. But how far will this acknowledgment take them? With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of W. E. B. Du Bois’ The Comet is a classic work of African American literature reimagined for modern readers.
Mint Editions, 2021