OCTOBER 2, 2017
AFRICAFANTASTIKA continues to boom.
In 2016, Nnedi Okorafor won a Hugo and a Nebula for her novella Binti (2015), and omenana, the first African SF magazine, reached its ninth issue in just three years. The African Speculative Fiction Society, an even more significant indicator of critical mass, was launched at Nigeria’s Aké Arts and Book Festival, and this November it will return there to present the first annual Nommo Awards for best African speculative novel, novella, short story, and graphic novel.
In March 2017, the Luxor African Film Festival included two SF movies. Uganda’s leading SF writer, Dilman Dila, premiered his beautifully shot feature, Her Broken Shadow. And Jean-Pierre Bekolo — whose turn away from the social (and socialist-feminist) cinema of Ousmane Sembène briefly made him the darling of postmodernist European cinephiles in the 1990s — returned to the genre with Naked Reality. Coming a decade after his Afrocyberpunk Les Saignantes, his new film provides a black-and-white, time-traveling, reality-bending experiment in interactive and collaborative cinema. Throughout the year, Dila has been making a short film each month for his YouTube channel, and Geoff Ryman has continued to publish his 100 interviews with African Writers of SF and fantasy.
Joining the growing body of critical work comes the Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry’s special issue on African SF, edited by Moradewun Adejunmobi and published late last year. Postcolonial literary studies continues to prefer the high- and middle-brow over the popular and the low-brow, so this is not an insignificant intervention — although only the most hidebound, kneejerk, and determined proponent of so-called literary fiction could possibly mistake the fiction the issue covers for formulaic pulp.
If Paradoxa’s 2014 “Africa SF” issue featured rather more scholars of SF than of African literature and culture, Adejunmobi inverts the…