At one point in my life – my teens and early twenties – I was a devoted science fiction reader. It was one of the genres that I used to borrow a lot of from the local public libraries I patronized – either the Cleveland Park or Friendship Heights branches of the DC public library system (at least as they existed in the mid 1960s and early 1970s). I think I pretty well exhausted whatever stock they had! And though I haven’t read as much in the years since that time, I still buy and/or read the occasion SF.
Last weekend (17 June) I was doing my usual Sunday morning activities of tidying up and cleaning, with the BBC World Service on in the background when I heard a trailer for a programme coming up just after the news: “Is science fiction coming to Africa”, plus I thought I heard a voice I recognized… Naturally I listened a bit more carefully.
I was thrilled to hear that one of the key people featured on the programme was Jonathan Dotse (http://www.afrocyberpunk.com), a third year student at Ashesi University College (where I work), who has published short stories and is writing a science fiction novel, set in Accra – which many of us are avidly awaiting.
Plus I had actually read the presenter of the programme, Lauren Beukes’ prizewinning novel, Zoo City, though I do admit that I found some bits of it a little difficult to follow. I have also read one of Nnedi Okorafor’s novels, Zahrah the windseeker, and have several others on my wish list.
Admittedly on the film side, I haven’t done so well – I haven’t seen District 9 [was it on DSTV and I missed it? probably? possibly?] and my curiosity is certainly piqued regarding Pumzi.
So what does this mean for this book lover? Naturally I have to follow up – maybe even order a book by Okorafor which I haven’t read? and also try to watch a couple of African SF films!
I think it is a good idea for writers in Africa to write SF. Our culture is full of stuffs that could be fallen upon. Dotse is doing well.
Great that Sci-fi is coming to Africa, a plus for us here.
Ghana-based science fiction, that will be delightful! We should explore this literature genre with vigor and in the same way we should movie documentaries. It’s time to explore richer story lines and project Ghanaian and African experiences that people of all ages and socio-economic status can relate to.