Looking for something to read for Black History Month, but you’d rather look to the future to than the past? Afrofuturism is Speculative Fiction (as well as art, film and music) from a Black perspective- offering up alternate pasts, imaginative presents, and fantastic futures rooted in rich African cultures.
Parable of the sower / Octavia E. Butler.
In 2025 California, an eighteen-year-old African American woman, suffering from a hereditary trait that causes her to feel others’ pain as well as her own, flees northward from her small community and its desperate savages.
When global climate change and economic crises lead to social chaos in the early 2020s, California becomes full of dangers, from pervasive water shortage to masses of vagabonds who will do anything to live to see another day. Fifteen-year-old Lauren Olamina lives inside a gated community with her preacher father, family, and neighbors, sheltered from the surrounding anarchy. In a society where any vulnerability is a risk, she suffers from hyperempathy, a debilitating sensitivity to others’ emotions. Precocious and clear-eyed, Lauren must make her voice heard in order to protect her loved ones from the imminent disasters her small community stubbornly ignores. But what begins as a fight for survival soon leads to something much more: the birth of a new faith . . . and a startling vision of human destiny.
Binti : the complete trilogy / Nnedi Okorafor.
“Binti, a young Himba girl with the chance of a lifetime: to attend the prestigious Oomza University. Despite her family’s concerns, Binti’s talent for mathematics and her aptitude with astrolabes make her a prime candidate to undertake this interstellar journey. But everything changes when the jellyfish-like Medusae attack Binti’s spaceship, leaving her the only survivor. Now, Binti must fend for herself, alone on a ship full of the beings who murdered her crew, with five days until she reaches her destination. There is more to the history of the Medusae-and their war with the Khoush-than first meets the eye. If Binti is to survive this voyage and save the inhabitants of the unsuspecting planet that houses Oomza Uni, it will take all of her knowledge and talents to broker the peace. Collected now for the first time in omnibus form.” — publisher’s description
The fifth season / N. K. Jemisin.
This is the way the world ends. For the last time. A season of endings has begun. It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester. This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.
The deep / by Rivers Solomon ; with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes.
Yetu holds the memories for her people–water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners–who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly is forgotten by everyone, save one–the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu. Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities–and discovers a world her people left behind long ago. Yetu will learn more than she ever expected about her own past–and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity–and own who they really are.
Black Panther. A nation under our feet. Book one / writer, Ta-Nehisi Coates ; artist, Brian Stelfreeze ; color artist, Laura Martin ; letterer, VC’s Joe Sabino.
When a superhuman terrorist group calling itself “The People” sparks a violent uprising, the land famed for its incredible technology and proud warrior traditions will be thrown into turmoil.