Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy #021: African SF & Fantasy! Nollywood! Entomology! (Guest: Nnedi Okorafor)


Nnedi Okorafor, author of Zahrah the Windseeker and The Shadow Speaker, joins us to talk about Africa as it’s represented in science fiction and fantasy. Dave and John discuss portrayals of Africa in fiction and film.



0:00 Introduction by

0:38 Dave and John introduce the show and guest

Interview: Nnedi Okorafor

03:58 Start of interview

04:13 Visiting Nigeria as a child

05:15 Early writing efforts and entrance into publishing

07:15 Nnedi’s literary influences

10:06 About attending Clarion Writers’ Workshop

13:44 Other influences: The Moomins, by Tove Jansson; Wizard of the Crow, by Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiong’o

16:31 Nnedi’s first two novels: Zahrah the Windseeker and The Shadow Speaker

18:53 The Carl Brandon Parallax Award, given to the best speculative fiction by a writer of color

19:22 New novels coming out: Who Fears Death and Akata Witch; on writing YA vs. adult fiction

21:15 Regarding teaching at Chicago State

22:31 Nnedi’s early plans to be an entomologist and how it turns up in her writing

24:06 The state of science fiction’s treatment of Africa: who’s getting it right and how others get it wrong

26:45 The popularity of SF/F in Nigeria

28:16 Nollywood, the burgeoning film industry of Nigeria, and some of Nnedi’s favorite Nigerian films: Beautiful Soul and Stronger Than Pain directed by Tchidi Chikere; Warrior’s Heart

30:42 Coming soon from Nnedi: Akata Witch, Disney Fairies, and short fiction coming up in the Life on Mars anthology, and “The Go-Slow” in John’s Way of the Wizard anthology

33:29 End of interview

Dave and John talk about Africa as portrayed in SF/F

33:39 John talks about his upcoming Way of the Wizard anthology, which will include Nnedi’s story “The Go-Slow”

34:54 Alan Dean Foster’s treatment of Africa, and Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed

38:44 Ray Bradbury’s “The Veldt” from The Illustrated Man

40:36 Mike Resnick’s Kirinyaga

42:48 Future Earths: Under African Skies edited by Mike Resnick and Gardner Dozois

44:30 She by H. Rider Haggard

46:47 District 9

52:08 Short film Pumzi

53:35 Lion’s Blood, Zulu Heart, and Great Sky Woman by Steven Barnes

55:28 Dave’s experience of interviewing a stranger for Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp, and discovering the Spirit Tree

57:34 Show wrap-up

Thanks for listening!

John Joseph Adams ( is an anthologist, a writer, and a geek. He is the editor of the anthologies By Blood We Live, Federations, The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Living Dead (a World Fantasy Award finalist), Seeds of Change, and Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse. He is currently assembling several other anthologies, including Brave New Worlds, The Living Dead 2, The Mad Scientistís Guide to World Domination, and The Way of the Wizard. He worked for more than eight years as an editor at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and is currently the fiction editor of Lightspeed Magazine, which launches in June 2010.

David Barr Kirtley ( is a writer living in New York who has been called “one of the newest and freshest voices in sf.” His short fiction appears in magazines such as Realms of Fantasy and Weird Tales, and in anthologies such as The Living Dead, New Voices in Science Fiction, and Fantasy: The Best of the Year, 2008 Edition.

Show notes compiled by podtern Christie Yant. Friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


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