The Tao of Otaku Podcast has composed this list from books that have captured to some degree the essence of the Black experience. Of course Afro Caribbean culture is so vast and diverse therefore, we have also attempted to emulate this by choosing equally diverse books written by authors from all over the African Diaspora and the motherland. Whether it is the past, present or future how is the Afro-Caribbean experience being re-imagined through the lens of Science Fiction and Fantasy across the world? The authors of these books attempt to answer this broad question by creating some of the most compelling narratives we have ever come across.
Afro SF: Science Fiction by African Writers
This was the first ever anthology of Science Fiction by African writers from across Africa and the Diaspora. It is comprised of original (previously unpublished) works only from a host of talented writers such as Nnedi Okorafor, Sarah Lotz, Tendai Huchu and many several others.
A Killing in the Sun by Dilman Dilla
A Killing in the Sun’ is a collection of speculative fiction from Africa. It draws from the rich oral culture of the author’s childhood, to tell a wide variety of stories. Some of the stories are set in a futuristic Africa, where technology has transformed everyday life and a dark force rules. Others are set in the present day, with refugee aliens from outer space, ghosts haunting brides and grooms, evil scientists stalking villages, and greedy corporations creating apocalypses. There are murder mysteries, tales of reincarnation and of the walking dead, and alternative worlds whose themes any reader will identify with.
The Alchemists of Kush by Minister Faust
The Alchemists of Kush is the story of two Sudanese “lost boys.” Both lost fathers to civil war and mothers along the path of escape. Both boys were hunted and fell into violence to survive. Both came under the guardianship of mystic madmen who promised to transform them. And both vowed to become leaders who would transform their worlds, or die trying.
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
Fat Charlie Nancy’s normal life ended the moment his father dropped dead on a Florida karaoke stage. Charlie didn’t know his dad was a god. And he never knew he had a brother.
Now brother Spider’s on his doorstep — about to make Fat Charlie’s life more interesting… and a lot more dangerous.
Astonishing the Gods by Ben Okri
From the Booker prize-winning author of The Famished Roadcomes this bewitching novel. It is a modern fable about the relationship between love, suffering and creativity. Set on an enchanted island, Astonishing the Gods is shot through with the gentle magic of Ben Okri’s imaginative prose.
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.
Brown in the ring By Nalo Hopkinson
The rich and privileged have fled the city, barricaded it behind roadblocks, and left it to crumble. The inner city has had to rediscover old ways-farming, barter, herb lore. But now the monied need a harvest of bodies, and so they prey upon the helpless of the streets. With nowhere to turn, a young woman must open herself to ancient truths, eternal powers, and the tragic mystery surrounding her mother and grandmother.
The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad by Minister Faust
She’s travelled the world. She speaks a dozen ancient and modern languages, including Fan-Girl. And she can use—or improvise—a hundred weapons from around the globe or of her own design. Quite the list of accomplishments for a 25 year old.
Or is that 2500?
When best friend/roomies Hamza and Yehat, two Gen-X brainiacs too smart for their own good, meet Sherem during the heat of summer, they take one look at her and expect sparks to fly.
Dark Matter: A century of Speculative fiction form the African Diaspora.
This volume introduces black science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction writers to the generations of readers who have not had the chance to explore the scope and diversity among African-American writers.
The Famished Road by Ben Okri
He is born into a world of poverty, ignorance and injustice, but Azaro awakens with a smile on his face. Despite belonging to a spirit world made of enchantment, where there is no suffering, Azaro chooses to stay in the land of the Living: to feel it, endure it, know it and love it. This is his story.
Fist of Africa by Balogun Ojetade
Nigeria 2004 … Nicholas ‘New Breed’ Steed, a tough teen from the mean streets of Chicago, is sent to his mother’s homeland – a tiny village in Nigeria – to avoid trouble with the law. Unknown to Nick, the tiny village is actually a compound where some of the best fighters in the world are trained. Nick is teased, bullied and subjected to torturous training in a culture so very different from the world where he grew up. Atlanta 2014 … After a decade of training in Nigeria, a tragedy brings Nick back to America. Believing the disaffected youth in his home town sorely need the same self-discipline and strength of character training in the African martial arts gave him, Nick opens an Academy. While the kids are disinterested in the fighting style of the cultural heritage Nick offers, they are enamored with mixed martial arts. Nick decides to enter the world of mixed martial arts to make the world aware of the effectiveness and efficiency of the martial arts of Africa.
From Here to Timbuktu – Milton Davis
The year is 1870. As the young country of Freedonia prepares to celebrate fifty years of existence, a young bounty hunter by the name of Zeke Culpepper is hired by a wealthy businessman to find a valuable book. In the kingdom of Mali on the continent of Africa, veteran warrior Famara Keita has been assigned to find that same book and bring it back to its rightful owner. And in the newly formed nation of Germany, an ambitious Prussian officer seeks the book as well for its secrets that could make Germany the most powerful nation in the world. The result is an action adventure like no other!
Kindred by Octavia Butler
The first science fiction written by a black woman, Kindred has become a cornerstone of black American literature. This combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction is a novel of rich literary complexity. Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into antebellum Maryland. After saving a drowning white boy there, she finds herself staring into the barrel of a shotgun and is transported back to the present just in time to save her life. During numerous such time-defying episodes with the same young man, she realizes the challenge she’s been given: to protect this young slaveholder until he can father her own great-grandmother.
Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor
When a massive object resembling a meteorite crashes into the ocean off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous and famous city, Three strangers, each isolated by their own individual problems wandering along Bar Beach (Adaora, the marine biologist- Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa- Agu, the troubled soldier) must join forces with Ayodele, a visitor from beyond the stars, they must race through Lagos and against time itself in order to save the city, the world… and most importantly themselves from an impending disaster.
Lilith’s Brood (Xenogenesis) by Octavia Butler
Lilith Iyapo is in the Andes, mourning the death of her family, when war destroys Earth. Centuries later, she is resurrected — by miraculously powerful unearthly beings, the Oankali. Driven by an irresistible need to heal others, the Oankali are rescuing our dying planet by merging genetically with mankind. But Lilith and all humanity must now share the world with uncanny, unimaginably alien creatures: their own children. This is their story…
Moses:The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman by Balogun Ojetade
“I’m gon’ drive the evil out and send it back to Hell, where it belong!” – Harriet Tubman Harriet Tubman: Freedom fighter. Psychic. Soldier. Spy. Something…more. Much more. In “MOSES: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman (Book 1: Kings * Book 2: Judges)”, the author masterfully transports you to a world of wonder…of horror…of amazing inventions, captivating locales and extraordinary people. In this novel of dark fantasy (with a touch of Steampunk), Harriet Tubman must match wits and power with the sardonic John Wilkes Booth and a team of hunters with powers beyond this world in order to save herself, her teenaged nephew, Ben and a little girl in her care – Margaret. But is anyone who, or what, they seem?
Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson
it’s Carnival time and the Caribbean-colonised planet of Toussaint is celebrating with music, dance, and pageantry. Masked “Midnight Robbers” waylay revelers with brandished weapons and spellbinding words. To young Tan-Tan, the Robber Queen is simply a favorite costume to wear at the festival-until her power-corrupted father commits an unforgiveable crime.
My Soul to keep (African Immortals #1) by Tananarive Due
When Jessica marries David, he is everything she wants in a family man: brilliant, attentive, ever youthful. Yet she still feels something about him is just out of reach. Soon, as people close to Jessica begin to meet violent, mysterious deaths, David makes an unimaginable confession: More than 400 years ago, he and other members of an Ethiopian sect traded their humanity so they would never die, a secret he must protect at any cost. Now, his immortal brethren have decided David must return and leave his family in Miami. Instead, David vows to invoke a forbidden ritual to keep Jessica and his daughter with him forever. Harrowing, engrossing and skillfully rendered, My Soul to Keeptraps Jessica between the desperation of immortals who want to rob her of her life and a husband who wants to rob her of her soul. With deft plotting and an unforgettable climax, this tour de force reminiscent of early Anne Rice will win Due a new legion of fans.
Nigerians in Space by Deji Olukotun
1993. Houston. Dr. Wale Olufunmi, lunar rock geologist, has a life most Nigerian immigrants would kill for, but then most Nigerians aren’t Wale—-a great scientific mind in exile with galactic ambitions. Then comes an outlandish order: steal a piece of the moon. With both personal and national glory at stake, Wale manages to pull off the near impossible, setting out on a journey back to Nigeria that leads anywhere but home. Compelled by Wale’s impulsive act, Nigerians traces arcs in time and space from Houston to Stockholm, from Cape Town to Bulawayo, picking up on the intersecting lives of a South African abalone smuggler, a freedom fighter’s young daughter, and Wale’s own ambitious son. Deji Bryce Olukotun’s debut novel defies categorization—-a story of international intrigue that tackles deeper questions about exile, identity, and the need to answer an elusive question: what exactly is brain gain?
Redeemer by Balogun Ojetade
Sent nearly thirty years into the past as an unwilling subject in a time travel experiment, Ezekiel Cross must save his younger self from the deadly path that forged him into the ruthless killer he is.
Follow Ezekiel on this edge-of-your-seat adventure that is both gangster saga and science fiction epic.
Redemption in indigo by Karen Lord
Karen Lord’s debut novel is an intricately woven tale of adventure, magic, and the power of the human spirit. Paama’s husband is a fool and a glutton. Bad enough that he followed her to her parents’ home in the village of Makendha—now he’s disgraced himself by murdering livestock and stealing corn. When Paama leaves him for good, she attracts the attention of the undying ones—the djombi— who present her with a gift: the Chaos Stick, which allows her to manipulate the subtle forces of the world. Unfortunately, a wrathful djombi with indigo skin believes this power should be his and his alone.
Sister Mine by Nalo Hopkinson
When Makeda and her twin sister Abby are born, they come into the world conjoined and sickly. The surgery to separate them weakens Abby so much that she will surely die-unless her parents make a bargain with the gods. For Makeda and Abby are not ordinary children, they are the offspring of Boysie, god of growing things, and his wife, a beautiful human woman. In exchange for Abby’s life, Boysie agrees to live as a human, and his wife must spend her days as a monstrous sea creature.
Sorcerer to the crown by Zen Cho
At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, freed slave, eminently proficient magician, and Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers—one of the most respected organizations throughout all of Britain—ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up.
But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…
Steamfunk by Balogun Ojetade and Milton Davis
A witch, more machine than human, judges the character of the wicked and hands out justice in a ravaged Chicago. John Henry wields his mighty hammers in a war against machines and the undead. Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman rule a country of freed slaves that rivals – and often bests – England and France in power and technology. You will find all this – and much more – between the pages of Steamfunk, an anthology of incredible stories by some of today’s greatest authors of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Steamfunk – African and African American-inspired Steampunk.
Editors Milton Davis and Balogun Ojetade have put together a masterful work guaranteed to transport you to new worlds. Worlds of adventure; of terror; of war and wonder; of iron and steam. Open these pages and traverse the lumineferous aether to the world of Steamfunk!
Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
The novel takes place in a fictionalized post-apocalyptic future version of Sudan, where thelight-skinned Nuru oppress the dark-skinned Okeke. The protagonist, Onyesonwu (Igbo for “who fears death”), is an Ewu, i.e. the child of an Okeke woman raped by a Nuru man. On reaching maturity, she goes on a quest to defeat her sorcerous father Daib using her magical powers.
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