Prism’s Book Club: “The Comet” by W.E.B. Du Bois

Photo by Florencia Viadana on Unsplash 

Natalie Harris

Maybe this is just the book-lover, creative writing major in me, but literature really does bring us together. There’s just something about reading a book in a community and knowing you’ll get a chance to talk about it, and learn something as a group.

Well, that’s why we decided to start a Prism monthly book club! Instead of books, we’ll be reading short stories, that way you can fit the reading into your schedule easily. This month we’re reading “The Comet” by W.E.B. Du Bois! The average reading time is around 20-30 minutes or so, and there’s even a link to a free version online.

We get it, it’s so hard to prioritize reading for fun when we prioritize other tasks on our to-do lists. But I guess that’s why I like book clubs. It allows for accountability, but in a chill way. You’re not going to have to write an essay, and when you come to our discussion on Friday, February 26th at 5 P.M. you’ll be able to contribute as much or as little as you’d like!

This is a great story to kick things off with because Du Bois is such an incredible human, and an amazing writer. Along with many collections of essays and poetry, Du Bois also wrote two novels, The Quest of the Silver Fleece (1911) and Dark Princess: A Romance (1928). Du Bois was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), as well as the founder and editor of their monthly magazine, The Crisis. If you want to read more about his activism and scholarly endeavors, check out this page for a good summary on all he contributed to our world.

His short story, “The Comet”, is a great look into science fiction and the Afrofuturism genre. This story was first published in 1920 in his collection entitled Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil. For a brief intro, a comet strikes New York and kills everyone except Jim and Julia. In this short story, Du Bois offers us a fictional tale with still very realistic themes. It allows us to look at what roles society places us in, and offers discussion on how we can break down these barriers. Specifically for white people, how we can critically analyze our own implicit biases.

We hope you can join us, via zoom, for some great conversations in a safe, welcoming environment. Mark your calendar for Friday, February 26th at 5 P.M.! Check our Instagram or Twitter for updates (@osuprism) and we’ll talk to you soon!

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