Review by Kelly Ansara
There is always a sense of confusion between science fiction and fantasy. Sci-fi is more space, technology, outer-world-limits which involves more imagination than I can usually muster. Whereas fantasy covers more in the range of epic lands, magic, lineage stories, wizards, horseback riding, and probably a few monsters here and there. The former would be The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy while the latter would be the kinds of books we see coming out of George RR Martin. While these genres aren’t my forte, nor do I claim to know them all that well, there are a few amazing books out there that you should definitely get your grubby, book-loving hands on.
My list however has a twist. Like most things, science fiction is a predominately white and male genre in both readers and authors, so my list aims to celebrate the science fiction novels penned by black female authors.
** All blurbs taken from Goodreads.
The City We Became (Great Cities #1)
Five New Yorkers must come together in order to defend their city.
Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got five.
But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.
Who Fears Death (Who Fears Death #1)
An award-winning literary author presents her first foray into supernatural fantasy with a novel of post-apocalyptic Africa.
In a far future, post-nuclear-holocaust Africa, genocide plagues one region. The aggressors, the Nuru, have decided to follow the Great Book and exterminate the Okeke. But when the only surviving member of a slain Okeke village is brutally raped, she manages to escape, wandering farther into the desert. She gives birth to a baby girl with hair and skin the color of sand and instinctively knows that her daughter is different. She names her daughter Onyesonwu, which means “Who Fears Death?” in an ancient African tongue.
Reared under the tutelage of a mysterious and traditional shaman, Onyesonwu discovers her magical destiny – to end the genocide of her people. The journey to fulfill her destiny will force her to grapple with nature, tradition, history, true love, the spiritual mysteries of her culture – and eventually death itself.
Rosewater (The Wormwood Trilogy #1)
Tade Thompson’s Rosewater is the start of an award-winning, cutting edge trilogy set in Nigeria, by one of science fiction’s most engaging new voices.
Rosewater is a town on the edge. A community formed around the edges of a mysterious alien biodome, its residents comprise the hopeful, the hungry and the helpless—people eager for a glimpse inside the dome or a taste of its rumoured healing powers.
Kaaro is a government agent with a criminal past. He has seen inside the biodome, and doesn’t care to again—but when something begins killing off others like himself, Kaaro must defy his masters to search for an answer, facing his dark history and coming to a realisation about a horrifying future.
An extraordinary debut novel, Freshwater explores the surreal experience of having a fractured self. It centers around a young Nigerian woman, Ada, who develops separate selves within her as a result of being born “with one foot on the other side.” Unsettling, heart-wrenching, dark, and powerful, Freshwater is a sharp evocation of a rare way of experiencing the world, one that illuminates how we all construct our identities.
There are so many others to add to this list and if you have any you’d recommend, please do! For now, happy reading all.