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Aigner Loren Wilson

Exploring Nnedi Okorafor’s Africanfuturist Universe

In 2010, Nnedi Okorafo’s Who Fears Death was released and introduced readers to a future Sudan. Who Fears Death follows Onyesonwu as she goes on a journey of discovery, loss, and renewal. She was more than powerful; she was thoughtful, flawed, strong, and remarkable. Five years later, we returned to the themes brought up in Who Fears Death through its prequel, The Book of Phoenix, about a new character, Phoenix, who like Onyesonwu, has been born into a brutal world with powers beyond her understanding. On Okorafor’s blog in 2015 she said, “Who is Phoenix to Onyesonwu and Onyesonwu to Phoenix? You’ll have to read them to find out. Don’t bother going in with expectations; you’ll probably be wrong.”

Reading more than one of Okorafor’s books cues readers into the fact that they are reading something larger than what they see on the page. There’s more being said, referenced, and examined across all of her texts, which is why The Book of Phoenix, though a prequel, felt more like another piece in a puzzle. Following the release of those two books and several others, Okorafor released the Binti series in 2015, 2017, and 2018 all charting the experiences and history of yet another woman. This time she wasn’t being forced into her circumstances; instead, Binti seizes her future before someone else has a chance to crush it. Now, four years later, Okorafor’s recent release Remote Control bridges our current world with her universe.

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5 Thrilling SFF Books to Pump You Up

Our bodies are our own. We can mend, bend, and build them how we want. Personally, for me, I love a good workout and exercise session. It brings me into my body and allows me to move in ways I don’t normally get to. Plus, the endorphin boost is nice after long hours in front of a screen or at the crux of a book.

Even though I routinely exercise, the motivation isn’t so easy to come by. That’s why I tend to partner my training with someone else’s. And as a book nerd, that someone else is usually a fictional character from some page I crossed. It’s been helpful while spending time on my bike to read or listen through grander than life adventures of someone training, like me but not me. So, from me to you, here are some great books to help keep your motivation up while you hit the gym, trail, or whatever other method you use to exercise.

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Series: Five Books About…

Your Guide to Africanfuturist Science Fiction

I found the term Africanfuturism (My computer thinks I misspelled Afrofuturism. Thanks, but no, I didn’t.) on author Nnedi Okorafor’s blog, after reading her novella Binti. Like many who pick up Okorafor’s books, I wanted more. I wanted to read more of this Africa that blended science fiction elements to create something new and somehow familiar. But finding more books within the subgenre can be difficult because a lot of bookstores, critics, and publishers treat Africanfuturism and Afrofuturism like the same thing—often grouping the two genres together and calling one by the other’s name, or totally excluding Africanfuturism from the conversation in order to lump all Black stories under Afrofuturism.

The distinction between the two couldn’t be plainer, however. Okorafor describes it in her blog post “Africanfuturism Defined” as a subcategory of science fiction centered in and about Africa and their people.

[Here’s a list of books and stories to get you started…]

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