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There must be a reason why almost the only prose fiction I'm reading comes out of Africa.

We are all on the move from one nation to another—even if the name of the country stays the same. Sometimes even the names of the countries change—will there still be a United Kingdom post-Brexit?

We are all in a state of transition away from identities that seemed stable—national identities, ethnic identities, gender identities, identities that we didn't even know we had.

If a sharp break with traditional culture is one of the things that inspires fantasy and SF writing then Africa might be an epitome of the modern experience of moving through change.

That change also involves looking forward to the future and at what is being lost—our connection to land, language, foods, employment, traditional belief, God and gods, our own inner being.

African fiction is getting the measure of this change, to see just how far, how fast, all humanity is moving into something new. Something that will not look at all like the starship Enterprise.

In Part Three, I will be talking to writers in South Africa. I hope to meet the sense of futurizing thrill I found in Kenya. I will be talking to Ntone Edgabe, key figure in Chimurenga, and all its initiatives and activities.

But I will also be looking at another diaspora, the diaspora of Europeans into South Africa. I'll ask again why, on the face of it, they dominate science fiction and fantasy in that country.

Continue the discussion here at Strange Horizons and also at:

(Return to 100 African Writers of SFF)

(Return to Part Two: Writers in the UK)

(Continue to Part Three: Cape Town—The Editors) (on Friday 3 March 2017)



Geoff Ryman is Senior Lecturer in School of Arts, Languages and Cultures at the University of Manchester. He is a writer of short stories and novels, and science fiction and literary fiction. His work has won numerous awards including the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award (twice), the James Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, the British Science Fiction Association Award (twice), and the Canadian Sunburst Award (twice). In 2012 he won a Nebula Award for his Nigeria-set novelette "What We Found." His story "Capitalism in the 22nd Century" is part of Stories for Chip, edited by Bill Campbell and Nisi Shawl and published by Rosarium.
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17 Jan 2022

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