The Future of African Science Fiction

AfroCyberPunk has now moved to a permanent home at http://www.afrocyberpunk.com.

Welcome to Africa.

You are not where you think you are. You are not on a safari, or an expedition, or a mission. Your footprint is not the first here, nor will it be the last. Africa is a tour with no guide and no schedule, a ride with no stops, no brakes, and no particular destination – there isn’t even a plan – so don’t bother booking a return trip; just go with the flow. If you are still looking for African science fiction, I advise you to put away your camera and open your eyes.

Africa is science fiction.

Not the science fiction of your grandfather or the Foundation of your Asimov, no. Africa lends herself to the dystopian gloom of failed states, the iron rule of corruption, cartels snaking cold fingers into the upper echelons of government, and high tech gangs of disillusioned youth. Follow her streets into dark melancholy and taste her despair, the bitter and the sweet simmering together to form her unique flavor. Follow the trails of waste spilling out from her gutters, follow them down to the banks of her industrial empires, her charred forests, and damp mines. You will not find your Jedi warriors here, but you might run into some street thugs or hackers, scammers, drug dealers, con men and women, street children, ritual murderers, wandering evangelists preaching hope and doom. The only Force here is hard currency, and it’s dark on both sides. Embrace her reality.

Africa is cyberpunk.

What wonders only Africa has seen since she gave us our crawling legs, released us from her nurturing arms to roam the wide outer world, soar up into the sky, the galaxies, and conquer the universe. She has always waited for us to return with our stories of voyages far and wide to add to her rich legacy. Bring her your stories. She will listen. Stand in the city streets or in the market, on the buses and trains, in the towns and villages, and broadcast your story out loud into the networks; fuel the pulse of life surging through the dense grid of veins all around you. Africa is waiting for you, because you are the future of African science fiction.

Welcome to Africa.

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66 Responses to “The Future of African Science Fiction”

  1. Justice Says:

    Interesting article man. Keep them coming

  2. shineanthology Says:

    What Justice said: very interesting stuff.

    Two remarks:

    1) Are you aware of Lavie Tidhar’s World SF News Blog? They report SF news from around the world, and will be interested to hear from you.

    2) While I certainly can’t deny that Africa is, in many ways, cyberpunk, I also try to check out positive developments, as described in this post this post.

    Best of luck with your writing and this blog, and do keep them coming!

    • Thanks shineanthology. I’m not aware of the World SF News blog, but I’ll definitely contact them if you think they will be interested.

      I very much admire your positive approach to science fiction, as I have similar concerns in that regard. On the other hand, I’m constantly exposed to both the positive and negative sides of technological development here in Ghana. While the darker aspects of African life makes for interesting sci-fi, a strictly negative portrayal of Africa would simply be inaccurate and irresponsible. I aim to place positive and negative side by side in high contrast to each other to create a more complete impression of our daily reality.

      I hope this reassures you…

  3. Keep it up. All the best.

  4. African Science Fiction and the development of Computer Generated Imagery(CGI) like 3D animation in Africa. I think they link perfectly

  5. [...] on May 6, 2010 over at the newly-formed blog, AfroCyberPunk, Jonathan Dotse of Ghana writes about The Future of African Science Fiction: Welcome to [...]

  6. Africa + sci-fi! Consider me utterly, delightedly on board!

  7. Oh, some good stuff that I read here.

    Third world, in general, is a dystopian cyberpunk community, in my country, Brazil, we got gangs of hi-tech smugglers, non-formal/open air commerce of technologic goods (especially in downtown neighborhoods of São Paulo) internet date sites with under aged girls, politicians oppressing the freedom of speech in the internet and using as a front for parties argument (presidential election this year), and major drug dealer groups seizing visibility in social medias like Youtube and Orkut.

    Looks like technology only extends the major social abysm and discrepancy of our reality

  8. Olle Jonsson Says:

    Hot introduction! Do publish (in any format)! Keep being easy to find. You have our undivided attention.

  9. This is great stuff. Keep up the good work. I don’t know if you are aware of this science fiction short, “Pumzi” by Wanuri Kahiu of Kenya. I saw it at a special screening here in Brooklyn, NY the other day and it is really wonderful. It was also screen at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
    http://www.wired.com/underwire/2010/01/pumzi/

    All the best!

    • Yes, I’ve seen the Pumzi trailer and I’m really excited about it. Just when I gave up on waiting for an African sci-fi movie I came across this brilliant piece. I really hope this inspires other talented African directors and turns into a new trend.

  10. Consider me interested. This looks promising.

  11. Nice work….it’s got a bit of that William Gibson vibe I love so much.

    Looking forward to seeing more.

    Peace

    J

  12. Awesome.

    My novel-in-progress is set in Africa during the next century. I’ve traveled to Morocco and Ethiopia only, and keep wanting to go back. Africa’s about to explode.

    • Africa’s beauty really goes beyond words, and you are quite right – it is really on the cusp of a grand revolution. I hope to see your novel soon!

  13. Selasi Surabena Tsegah Says:

    I’m thoroughly impressed with the way you write, really good stuff. I love the intro and everything keep it up. My curiosity has been piqued where afrocyberpunk is concerned very interested.

  14. Chale more vim to your writing and your new genre. As an upcoming photographer and filmmaker i embrace this new genre and I really hope that your following articles will as intriguing as this one. I am really happy to see people who are interested in moving away from the cliched genres that Ghana and Africa has portraying.

    Keep up the good bother. More Vim…

  15. You really need to go teach those guys at Daily Graphic a thing or two. To me, you are to writing, what Obama is to public speaking. Do let me know when that novel of yours comes out. I’d love to dig into it.

    More vim bruv.

  16. kimora Says:

    wow! that’s what i can say. u r making me and Ghana proud of you keep up the good work.

  17. Epic introduction! I’ll be watching…

  18. Gabby Says:

    Interesting stuff, you kept me reading to the end even though am not too much into science-fiction. Expecting more though, do keep the good work up!!

  19. Congrats Jonathan, last month saw the beginning of the Lagos 2060 African Sci-Fi anthology and this month you bring us Afro Cyber Punk, African Science Fiction is surely on the rise. I look forward to reading your work.

    • Thanks Ivor, much of the progress is due to the pioneering efforts of writers like yourself. I’m glad to see you here.

      • Always happy to see more African Science Fiction writers, now we can begin to count ourselves with more than fingers :). Next month Nnedi Okorafor releases her first adult ASF novel ‘Who Fears Death’, and also Lauren Beukes’s second ASF novel ‘Zoo City’ is released in US/Cananda. So its exciting times indeed for ASF.

  20. Welcome to the blogosphere. Please do keep us updated.

  21. A Brazilian cyberpunk salutes you, African fellow traveler. Welcome and keep it coming – looking forward to read your wotk!

  22. Abeiku Duncan Says:

    Nice write up man. I’m not that much of a reader, but you got me reading this like four times. I love science fiction though, and this is a major step forward. keep it up man…

  23. AfricanScientist Says:

    Absolutely riveting. Keep up the good work. You have my full attention.

  24. Welcome from Malaysia to the SF writing blog community! Out here, you always have friends…

  25. Chris Says:

    This is a really really interesting idea. It blew my mind when I saw it because I myself (an American of European descent) had thought about writing a cyberpunk novel taking place in the DRC once I’ve been around more. I just keep getting these weird images of a factory landscape dominating both banks of the Congo, churning out neuromorphic hardware day and night, complete with people speaking a terse, technical hybrid of Lingala, French, and English. There really ought to be more black science fiction

    Anyway hey yeah please keep us posted. I hesitate to ask you to speak to me personally via email but it would be appreciated. I am that much interested

    • Chris Says:

      Oh and as it so happens: one of the leading researchers in neuromorphic hardware these days is Kwabena Boahen, who is of African extract and of course Ghanaian specifically. Maybe that’s how the image got in my head haha

    • I really like your vision and how you seem to have it mapped out in quite some detail. We’re definitely on the same wavelength – the aura of cyberpunk in Africa leaves quite a strong impression on those tuned to it. I’m also aware of Prof. Boahen’s work and quite proud of my fellow Ghanaian. You could say he’s been something of a role model for me in the past few years with the great work he’s doing on the frontiers of science. I understand your hesitance but I’m very open to correspondence.

  26. Rita Osiakwan Says:

    This is extraordinary. Good stuff. Keep it up and we will be looking out for more.

  27. You really did flow like magma again. I am lost of words, …. to say your work is impressive is an understatement. You are really great mehn! I am not all into this Sci-Fi thing, but your writing man. This is the kind of writing that gnaws at your living when you stop short in the middle. You got me reading like over and over .. and over again. Keep them coming .. and we would gladly read you. For me, am here to learn one or two from you, your writing dexterity is just mind blowing … BOOM. The kind that leaves you thinking hours after reading. You made my heart sag deep down my thoracic man. Am impressed and “Gh-bloggers” are blessed to have people like you join the community. Keep it up man. Morrrreee Vimmm.

  28. Andara K Says:

    Very interesting introduction, you write very well!
    Best wishes!

  29. Aliya Says:

    Hey John, this looks very interesting and promising. You’re a captivating writer (to say the least!) and I’m definitely looking forward to the rest of your work. Happy writing! Please keep me posted, and good luck. :)

  30. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Arnau Fuentes. Arnau Fuentes said: Brutal!!! The Future of African Science Fiction http://bit.ly/b3n7V9 /cc @feedly [...]

  31. Good for you.
    Science fiction is about PLANETS for one thing. Finally, it may be spreading around ours. America has been looking into the future and shouting out loud since Poe. France and England too, but that ocean has been hard to cross. Translators like Michael Kandel have been hard at work. Invisibly & thanklessly for the most part until awards like the new one at Eaton in 2011. Beyond Africa, there is more sf out of Asia & Eastern Europe. Check out the Afrofuturism site. They are your brothers and the memes are flying!

  32. Great blog, afrocyberpunk! Greetings from Peru, in South America. We have simmilar environments (underdevelopment, violence, racism). I hope read more from you and other african authors.

  33. Yeah…The Afropunk site was a huge bonus! :-)

  34. you’ve given me lots to think about, I’m very happy to have found this blog. I hope to hear more from you and look forward to a novel. I think the world needs your perspective – the ‘dark continent’ still remains an enigmatic entity to the west. while the rest of the world has accelerated in a post-geographical existence it seems that Africa has remained isolated – I’m glad to see that’s not true!

  35. Jiyunatori Says:

    That’s promising ! I’m eager to read some afrocyberpunk stuff !

  36. hi afrocyberpunk – most excited about your blog, looking forward to more!

  37. Jason Andrew Says:

    Awesome posts!! Keep it up!!

  38. [...] the small example of African Science Fiction, the future of all publishing in Africa promises new business models, new approaches to readers, [...]

  39. [...] ☞ The future of African science fiction. [...]

  40. Ronald T. Jones Says:

    You should check out the website Black Science Fiction Society. I happen to be a member and you would be a great addition to its volume of talent and imagination.

    http://www.blacksciencefictionsociety.com

  41. [...] The Future of African Science Fiction @AfroCyberPunk [...]

  42. Impressive writing man. Usually I don’t give much about Sci-Fi, but I couldn’t stop reading here :D

  43. really good article, thanks for sharing.

  44. very nice post, the african future is nice, thanks for sharing

  45. yea give me more stuff like afrocyberpunkie ;)

  46. Yes man, Africa is cyberpunk!

  47. Very interesting reading and will be following for future updates

  48. Hi everyone, i’ve been reading a lot of sci-fi lately, Terry Pratchett to be precise. i love his Discworld…but i am missing my mother Africa. i think Africa would be a great backdrop for a more formidible series; beyond any space junk that is out here now. do you know who is writing like this? who is feeding the reader’s psyche and soul? i would love to collaborate. kee

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