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Wednesday, 26 August 2015

For Your Reading Pleasure: Some More Speculative Fiction Releases in 2015

This year already, the world of African Speculative Fiction has seen the release of Nnedi Okorafor's The Book of Phoenix, Sarah Lotz's Day Four, Terra Incognito, Jalada's Afrofutures, and Eugene Odogwu's In the Shadows of Iyanibi  courtesy of BrittlePaper to name a few. Well, here are some more works - including a novella from Nnedi Okorafor and Cristy Zinn's 'speculative fiction for children and other humans'. Enjoy!!!

The Raft by Fred Strydom (Published by Umuzi, April 2015)
One man's odyssey across a world without memory
"The day every person on earth lost his and her memory was not a day at all. In people's minds there was no actual event ... and thus it could be followed by no period of shock or mourning. There could be no catharsis. Everyone was simply reset to zero."

On Day Zero, humankind collectively lost its memory. The collapse of civilisation was as instantaneous as it was inevitable. For a man named Kayle Jenner, confined by a regime to a commune on a remote beach, all that remains is the vague and haunting vision of a son ...

That, and a wooden raft. It is a raft that will set Kayle on a journey across a broken world to find his son.

Braving a landscape of elusive encounters, a maze of other people's dreams, and muddled memories, Kayle will discover more than just his lost past. He will discover the truth behind Day Zero – a truth that makes both fools and gods of men.

The Dreamer's Tears by Cristy Zinn (Fox & Raven, April 2015)
Ivy Bauble is about to become Apprentice to the Master of Transformation. Never mind that she's far too obsessed with Knightmares for her own good, or that she's not sure if she can trust Master Borinvere and his brooding ward, Declan.

But when the magical Tower fails to transform and protect the peaceful village of Newton, Ivy has her hands full with more than just the annoying Declan and her sketchbook full of Knightmare drawings. Those dark, dangerous beasts are all set to fly into Newton and destroy everything Ivy holds dear.

And of course, Ivy is the only one who can stop all of this.

Swept up into an adventure with hot air balloons, magical wells, tickering cars and dreadful, fire-breathing horses, Ivy Bauble's life is about to change forever. And all because of Ivy's unending curiousity.

Dub Steps by Andrew Miller (Published by Jacana Media, May 2015)
Winner of the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award (formerly the European Union Fiction Award), Dub Steps has a strange long aftertaste. It is science fiction with ordinary characters trying to understand what it is to be alive. People have gone, suddenly, inexplicably, and the remaining handful have to find each other and start again. In that new beginning they wrestle with identity, race, sex, art, religion, and time, in a remarkably realistic, step-by-step way. 

Nature comes back, Johannesburg becomes wonderfully overgrown, designer pigs watch from the periphery walls, and the small group of survivors have to find ways of living with their own flaws and the flaws of each other. The aftertaste comes from the surprisingly real meditations in the middle of the end: after all simulated reality has gone, what human reality is left? There are no clichés in this book, but there is plenty of humour, originality and a gripping, unusual interrogation of the ordinary but really extraordinary fact of being alive. 

Tracer by Rob Boffard (Published by Orbit, July 2015)
In space, Every. Second. Counts.
Our planet is in ruins. Three hundred miles above its scarred surface orbits Outer Earth: a space station with a million souls on board. They are all that remain of the human race.

Darnell is the head of the station's biotech lab. He's also a man with dark secrets. And he has ambitions for Outer Earth that no one will see coming. 

Prakesh is a scientist, and he has no idea what his boss Darnell is capable of. He'll have to move fast if he doesn't want to end up dead.

And then there's Riley. She's a tracer - a courier. For her, speed is everything. But with her latest cargo, she's taken on more than she bargained for. A chilling conspiracy connects them all.

The countdown has begun for Outer Earth - and for mankind.

Under Ground by S.L. Grey (Published by Panmacmillan, July 2015)
Under Ground is a page-turning locked-room mystery from the combined talents of Sarah Lotz and Louis Greenberg, written as S.L. Grey. It is perfect for fans of Under the Dome by Stephen King and films such as The Hole and The Descent (with a pinch of And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie).

THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE SAFE ...

The Sanctum is a luxurious, self-sustaining survival condominium situated underground. It's a plush bolt-hole for the rich and paranoid - a place where they can wait out the apocalypse in style. When a devastating super-flu virus hits, several families race to reach The Sanctum. All have their own motivations for entering. All are hiding secrets.

But when the door locks and someone dies, they realise the greatest threat to their survival may not be above ground - it may already be inside ... 


Binti by Nnedi Okorofar (Published by Tor.com, September 2015)
Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at
Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti's stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself - but first she has to make it there, alive.

Read an excerpt from Tor.com.  And here's another one from Nnedi Okorafor, and illustrated by Mehrdokt Amini, for the kids.

Chicken in the Kitchen by Nnedi Okorafor and Mehrdokt Amini (Published by Lantana Publishing, October 2015)
What would you do if you woke up one night to find the shadow of a giant chicken passing your bedroom door? Go and investigate of course! When Anyaugo follows a giant chicken into her kitchen one warm night in Nigeria, she embarks on a hilarious adventure where nothing is quite as it seems. Is the nature spirit that lives in the wooden walls of her house a help or a hindrance? Is the mischievous giant chicken a friend or a for? Most importantly, will Anyaugo be able to save the food her aunties have cooked for the New Yam Festival the next day? 

World Fantasy Award-Winning author Nnedi Okorafor provides us with a hugely entertaining look at the fascinating masquerade culture of West Africa, told from the perspective of a plucky young Nigerian girl who finds courage to protect the traditions she loves.

And head straight to Lantana Publishing to check out the amazing illustrations by Mehrdokt Amini, accompanying Okorafor's magical words.


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