At Narazu, we’re always trying to look at the world a little differently (and hopefully challenge you to do the same). There are incredible resources online and at your local library for learning about the past and present contributions of African-Americans in the US during Black History Month, so for our February issue, we decided to look ahead and introduce you to an incredible genre of storytelling known as Afrofuturism.
What is Afrofuturism? Afrofuturism is speculative fiction written about and/or inspired by African culture, history, mythology, or experience. Most importantly, Afrofuturist stories feature people of African descent (or people of color) as main protagonists. Celebrated authors like Octavia Bulter, Samuel Delany, and Charles Saunders were pioneers in this genre and there are MANY indie creators who are carrying their vision of diverse literature into the future. We’re proud to feature just a few of them here. Check out the goods below and happy reading!
All indie. All Awesome
To Catch A Dream is a stunning vision of loss, folklore, and the lengths we will go in order to escape our grief. You can view it here, but don’t look back…..
As this incredible film by author-turned filmmaker Tananarive Due illustrates, Afrofuturism isn’t always about expressing high concepts. Sometimes the story is one of simple everyday survival between a grandfather and his beloved granddaughter… in a post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland. You can check out Danger Word here.
An assassin on the run and searching for refuge finds more than he bargained for lurking in the Egyptian Marsh. Paul Louise-Julie has created an action-packed adventure with gorgeous graphics. Learn more about this series at MidasMonkee.com.
If this is your first introduction to the incredible work of Octavia Butler then let us first say, You’re Welcome! Butler’s ground-breaking story about a woman who travels back and forth in time, from 1970s California to the pre-civil war South, is a harrowing study of freedom and the ongoing impact of slavery in modern times. Illustrations by John Jennings make a poignant story even more gorgeous. Check it out here.
Paul Louise-Julie’s intergalactic tale, Yohance: The Ekangeni Crystal, is the first in an upcoming series about a master thief whose pursuit of an mysterious artifact lands her in the middle of an ancient battle. For space opera fans, this one’s for you. Check out more about the series at MidasMonkee.com.
Take the legacy of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, add in a menacing race of artificially intelligent villains, and the only squadron alive that can save the world… and you have the concept and drive behind Greg Burnham and Marcus Johnson’s Tuskegee Heirs, the latest indie project to rock the Kickstarter world. Tuskegee Heirs: Flames of Destiny: Issue One is available now. Get sucked into the goodness here.
Mechanical lions, crime-fighting Spider Women, and a journey on the actual Mothership. It’s called steamfunk for a reason. You’ve never read anything quite like this, but when you pick up a copy of Milton Davis and Balogun Ojetade’s Steamfunk Anthology, you’ll be delighted that you did.
Learn more about MV Media here.
Winner of the 2012 James Tiptree Jr. Award, Ancient, Ancient is a collection of short fiction by Kiini Ibura Salaam. Acclaimed author and critic Nalo Hopkinson writes, ”Salaam treats words like the seductive weapons they are. See what she means here.
Publisher’s Weekly called Maurice Broaddus’ The Voices of Martyrs “lush, descriptive prose [that] tantalizes…the senses.” We call it a revelation of science fiction and culture, past and future present. One of the reasons we love to recommend short stories when introducing a genre is that you get to cover a lot of ground within one book. This collection is no exception. Learn more about Maurice here.
Stories for Chip brings together outstanding authors to pay tribute to Science Fiction Writers of America Grandmaster Samuel R. “Chip” Delany. From surrealistic visions of bucolic road trips to erotic transgressions to mind-expanding analyses of Delany’s influence on the genre—as an out gay man, an African American, and possessor of a startlingly acute intellect. It’s not just bad. It’s super bad. Check it out here.
From the surreal, to the grotesque, to the simply out-of-this-world, these artists are just a taste of the magnificent work that is being created in the Afrofuturist space. Dive in and be amazed.