ARTWORK by Simon Fetscher

What is Afrofuturism?

Afrofuturism is a cultural aesthetic, and philosophy of science and history that explores the intersection of the African diaspora culture with science and technology.”


Octavia Butler is the grande dame of Afrofuturism. Her Xenogenesis series that starts with Dawn is one that I have mixed feelings about. No, I take that back. I firmly feel that I absolutely hate the humans in this book. They get rescued by aliens and they are absolutely spoiled little brats about it. It wasn’t until I read commentary on it after I read the whole series that I realized that I was supposed to be on the side of the humans. No way, no how.

There is supposed to be a TV show being developed based on this. I want to see it to see if I feel differently based on someone else’s version of it.

This series starts as a fairly straight forward murder mystery/horror story in Miami that evolves into science fiction.

If you don’t know where you want to start with Afrofuturism, anthologies are a good place to jump in.

I’m not a fan of N. K. Jemisin’s novels but I absolutely adore this collection of short stories. They range from science fiction to fantasy.

One of my favorite authors is Nnedi Okorafor. She writes SFF books set in Africa. She gets mad, I mean REALLY MAD, if her work gets described as Afrofuturism. If I understand correctly, it is because her writing doesn’t focus on the diasporic community but on African people themselves. So don’t tell her I put her on this page but I want to highlight her work.

The thing that I really love about her work is the imagination shown in the details. Computers that grow from plants. Space whales that serve as spaceships. Desert tribes that live in the eyes of dust storms. Smarthouses that take protecting their occupants to the extremes. Aliens that give upgrades to fish.

I would also like to see more science fiction books that feature African protagonists (and authors). If you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments.