African literature is essential because it allows Africans to tell their stories and express their voices. The African novel is a crucial component in revealing the true African stories and providing a genuine understanding of a particular area’s culture and history. It is also significant in increasing social consciousness and the awareness of social, political, and economic crises that Africans have experienced.
Science fiction (popularly called “sci-fi”) is a genre of speculative fiction that deals with imaginative and futuristic concepts, including advanced science and technology, time travel, space exploration, parallel universe, and extra-terrestrial life. In this post, we will be sharing with you the seven (7) amazing African sci-fi novels that should top your reading list.
AKATA WITCH by Nnedi Okorafor
Nnedi Okorafor writes fantastic stories. Her characters are energetic and endearing, and her words open your mind to new ideas and things. With over nineteen thousand reviews across the internet, Akata Witch is a fantasy novel which centres on Sunny’s identity. Early in the novel, Sunny always struggles with her otherness as an albino with great athletic skills. Through a sequence of events, she learns to accept and embrace her otherness, which appears to be extremely valuable, as her gift will be needed to bring down a powerful criminal. Akata Witch is an exciting tale of magic, mystery, and finding one’s place in the world.
BLACK LEOPARD, RED WOLF by Marlon James
Black Leopard, Red Wolf is a 2019 fantasy novel by the Jamaican writer Marlon James, a novelist and faculty lecturer in St. Francis College. His work spans religion and supernatural, sexuality, violence, and colonialism. The plot of the novel, narrated in flashback and with non-chronological episodes, is based on a tracker who was known for his hunting skills. “He has a nose”, people say. He tries to track down a boy who disappeared three years earlier in the North Kingdom. Breaking his own rule of working alone, he becomes part of a group to search for the missing boy. The book, characterised as “African Game of Thrones”, is the first instalment of a planned trilogy. It is described as an epic fantasy quest, full of monsters, sex, and violence, set in the mythic version of ancient Africa.
ZOO CITY by Lauren Beukes
Zoo City is a fantasy sci-fi thriller set in the near future in Johannesburg. The novelist uses Shona cosmology and animal familiars to examine racism so ingrained that many don’t even realize it’s there. The excellent description the South African author, Lauren Beukes’ gave on both the vibe of the city and the physical reality captures the undercurrent of promise and foreboding in Johannesburg today. Zoo City won the 2011 Arthur C. Clarke Award and 2010 Red Tentacle for best novel. In 2011, South African film producer Helena Spring won the film right to ZooCity, and Beukes was slated to write the film’s script. The novel is absolutely beautiful in how it brought life to the animal energy that lurks just beneath the surface of the city.
WIZARD OF THE CROW by Ngugi wa Thiong’o
Wizard of the Crow was written in 2006 and translated from the original Kikuyu into English by the author. The novel centres on the imaginary Free Republic of Aburiria, which was autocratically governed by a single man – “The Ruler”. The Wizard of Crow deals with the megalomaniac project of the ruler to build a new house of Babel that would reach the gates of heaven. At the same time, a group of people led by a major character, Nyawira, tries to bring democracy back to their corrupted land. A tale of human folly, hilarious and endlessly invention, a work that can be genuinely be described as tour de force, the ingenious display of the African storytelling by Ngugi is outstanding. The novel received the Tahtifantasia Award for the best foreign fantasy novel.
EVERFAIR by Nisi Shawl
EverFair was originally published in 2006. The novel explores the question of the aftermath of the colonization of Belgian Congo and what it would have been had the native populations learned about steam technology a bit earlier. Fabian Socialists from Great Britain join forces with African-American missionaries to purchase land from the Belgian Congo’s owner, King Leopold II. The land named EverFair is set aside as a safe haven, an imaginary Utopia for native populations of Congo, as well as the slaves that escaped from America and every other African native being poorly treated. Everfair is a story about conflicting interests, flawed people who can’t live up to their own standards, blind spots, and pettiness.
LOST GODS by Micah Yongo
The epic fantasy by Micah Yongo, a young journalist, writer, and videographer, sets on betrayal, blood war, magic, mythology, lore, fighting, and lost friendship. The story sets on a young assassin who finds himself hunted by the brothers and sisters he has been trained alongside since birth. Neythan is one of the five young warriors trained and raised together by a mysterious brotherhood known as Shediam. When Neythan is framed for the murder of his best friends, he pursues his betrayer and, in the process, learns more about the brotherhood and the rulers of the warring kingdom. The brotherhood of assassins inspired by Africans Legends full of supernatural conspiracy will have your heart captured.
ROSEWATER by Tade Thompson
Tade Thompson is a British-born Nigerian psychiatrist, popularly known for his science fiction novels. Rosewater is the first of an exceptional trilogy set in Nigeria. It centres on a community formed around the edge of a mysterious alien biodome that appeared every eleven years. Every year, the dome opens and releases healing to those gathered around the dome. Known all over, the dome tends to attract lots of people, especially those with medical issues. A unique, bone-rattling, world-jarring, and essential modern sci-fi novel, Rosewater is a novel to read. He won the Arthur Clarke Award for science fiction.