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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Africanfuturism Defined by One of Its Best Practitioners, Nnedi Okorafor

As I mentioned in this post back in September, on of the biggest trends in all of the speculative genres is that many authors are using tropes from science fiction, fantasy, and horror to create their stories.

One of the most popular examples of this trend is in what people have been calling Afrofurturism. But author and literature professor, Nnedi Okorafor recently posted this definition of Africanfurturism and why she uses it for her work.

Click here to access the full post
This definition also defines Afrofuturism and explains very clearly how the two are different and distinct.

When I was working on the Speculative Fiction sections of the upcoming ARRT Popular Authors list [as discussed in this post], we made the choice to stay away from any terms that were ethnically or geographically based, so we did not call out things like Africanfurturism or Silk Punk because then we would have to call out every single one. Not only would it take too much time and space to do this, we would have inevitably forgotten something. Also, our, very general resource is not meant to drill down to that level of specificity.

But we did create a new "Further Genre of the Unreal" which we are calling "Science Fantasy," and define as:
Science Fantasy: These authors mix what readers will find in science fiction and fantasy, resulting in stories where magic and science, instead of being in opposition, work in tandem. Steampunk’s mix of science fiction and fantasy elements means it is included here. Not surprisingly, this in-between space is also where you can find a higher concentration of diverse authors looking to probe the boundaries of classic genre classifications.
In this definition we are including Africanfuturism in that final sentence. In fact, this is the section where Okorafor appears in our list.

Please click through to Okorafor's blog post. Africanfuturism is a very specific subgenre and her explanation is important, clear, and very useful to all of us. She is also explaining how everyone should use the 2 terms because they are different. Making these distinctions matter as we drill down into the specific appeal of stories for readers and we should turn to the practitioners and scholars of those subgenres for our guidance. Thank you Ms Okorafor for your post.

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