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!