cover image Infinitum: An Afrofuturist Tale

Infinitum: An Afrofuturist Tale

Tim Fielder. Amistad, $27.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-296408-3

Fielder (Matty’s Rocket) digs deep into his pulp toolbox to fuse genre influences in this daring epic, which bristles with action and verve. African warrior regent Aja Oba commands a cavalry of giant canines to subdue rival kingdoms while amassing great wealth. But Oba and his queen are unable to bear children, and so he steals the newborn son of his concubine, who retaliates by cursing him to immortality. He sees his queen, son, and kingdom wither over time, and enters a never-ending loop of conflict, conquest, love, loss, and rejection as he wanders the continent for centuries. When he’s brought to the New World as a slave, he goes on to become an American folk legend, acting in modern history at key moments. As the narrative rockets forward from fable to space fantasy, Fielder stumbles in a final arc of interplanetary colonization, warring aliens, and Armageddon that lacks the depth of his earlier visions. The single-panel splash renderings writhe with giant beasts, battlefield landscapes, and close-up intimate moments and tortured emotional expressions. Aja’s hulking musculature is drawn just right, and Fielder portrays him as strong, cunning, and deeply flawed. This sweeping tale mirrors both the history of genre literature and the African American experience. (Jan.)