The current wave of speculative fiction from underrepresented groups continues to provide the SFF world with peeks into oft-forgotten slices of the globe. Interesting settings are huge draws in science fiction and fantasy, so little wonder we’ve been enamored by these sojourns into non-EuroAmerican spaces. The African continent stands in the front lines of this charge, offering stories that overturn long held views about its history and future, or at least provide some long desired nuance. However, our fascination with Black Panther, Children of Blood and Bone and Who Fears Death? is mostly steeped in the fantastic or futuristic representations of these African locales, and not as much the contemporary. Pray, where are the SFF books about the African locales of now?
This question came to me while writing David Mogo, Godhunter. I discovered there was little work out there representing contemporary African spaces in all their multilayered complexity. So I set out to find books where the otherworldly is juxtaposed with the contemporary—used here to mean since the 2000s—socioeconomics, politics and culture of post-colonial Africa. These five locales offered fresh glances at the African continent, so that both inhabitants and non-inhabitants of these cities, towns and villages end up discovering their magic and potential anew.