Nnedi Okorafor is one of science fiction’s smartest voices. The Nebula and Hugo award-winning author has published multiple novels and short stories about futuristic African societies and fantastical ones as well. In this TedTalk, Okorafor speaks on Afrofuturism and how her work Binti is an exploration of a future where Africa and African roots are part of a textual framework:
“I can best explain the difference between classic science fiction and Afrofuturism if I used the octopus analogy. Like humans, octopuses are some of the most intelligent creatures on earth. However, octopus intelligence evolved from a different evolutionary line, separate from that of human beings, so the foundation is different. The same can be said about the foundations of various forms of science fiction.
So much of science fiction speculates about technologies, societies, social issues, what’s beyond our planet, what’s within our planet. Science fiction is one of the greatest and most effective forms of political writing. It’s all about the question, “What if?” Still, not all science fiction has the same ancestral bloodline, that line being Western-rooted science fiction, which is mostly white and male. We’re talking Isaac Asimov, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, George Orwell, Robert Heinlein, etc.
So what if a Nigerian-American wrote science fiction?”
If you haven’t read Okorafor’s work, I would recommend you check out her novella Binti for an idea of her writing style. Her novel, Who Fears Death is in production with HBO and as an upcoming series. Her newest young adult novel, Akata Warrior, is the long-awaited sequel to Akata Witch is out now and it is amazing. She is excellent in every way, not only because she is an Aries like me, but because her work is creative, interesting, and unapologetically African. It is worth exploring for anyone who enjoys the genre and amazing writing.
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