Živković’s fiction is recognizable from the first sentence, with its characteristically distant narrative voice, nameless (and ultimately flat) characters, and extensive dialogue. These stories give you the sense that they are really mathematical formulae masquerading as fiction.
In 2016, Naji´s imprisonment caused a huge debate in Egypt and spurred campaigns of solidarity worldwide. While the novel seems to hint that despair is the condition of the citizen of future and contemporary Cairo, a glimpse of hope seems to appear in the story.
The somewhat detached, clinical tone of Oloixarac’s narrative voice (as observed, in particular, during her deliberately unappealing sex scenes) contributes to the sense that this is not a traditional story, in which character drives event, but rather one in which characters are driven to action by forces they don’t quite understand, and are helpless to resist.
Very rarely does one get to see, in contemporary American television and cinema, works of science fiction in which diversity of representation goes hand in hand with the radical politics that this representation demands. Even more scarce is the politics of revolutionary anti-imperialism and the critical recognition of science fiction’s entanglement with empire. After all, the genre is dependent on the vocabulary of colonialism for its very tropes, from space travel to the alien invasion to the stale eugenicist outbreak narrative. Believe me: I, too, sat on the edge of my seat through Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther (2018) and loved to bits its focus on black beauty and identity; but it bummed me to see the conservative politics involved in making the antagonist, Erik Killmonger, both an icon of black revolution and a propagator of American imperialism.
AfroSFv3 is the latest in a series featuring the best speculative fiction coming out of Africa. Many of the writers featured here are well-established in the anglophone SF world, having published stories in African, US, and UK-based markets like Omenana, F&SF, Interzone, The Apex Book of World SF, and others. These voices from across Africa—including the Gambia, South Africa, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe—address some of the more important scientific, technological, and social issues that our planet faces today: the future of the human species, environmental threats, the future of AI, and terrorism. In AfroSFv3, adventure-thrillers rub shoulders with space operas while psychological explorations complement science fantasies.
As a reader, I saw myself in Miquita as she finds herself in a situation in which her people (and in particular her father) have devastated a culture connected with and dependent upon a collapsing ecological framework.
Strange Horizons is a weekly magazine of and about speculative fiction. We publish fiction, poetry, reviews, essays, interviews, and art. For more information, see our about page. All material in Strange Horizons is copyrighted to the original authors and may not be reproduced without permission.