cover image Africa Risen

Africa Risen

Edited by Sheree Renee Thomas, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, and Zelda Knight. Tordotcom, $27.99 (528p) ISBN 978-1-250-83300-6

Thomas, Ekpeki, and Knight assemble a stellar lineup of 32 writers from across the African diaspora for this magnificent and wide-ranging anthology of speculative shorts. Some stories center on technology, including “IRL” by Steven Barnes, in which the protagonist must contend with the ever-thinning line between virtuality and reality. Others focus on history and politics: Sandra Jackson-Opoku’s “Simbi” puzzles through the legacies of slavery and exploitation of labor, while in Wole Talabi’s “A Dream of Electric Mothers,” a woman consults a supercomputer containing the memories of her countryfolk to determine whether to go to war. Akua Lezli Hope’s “The Papermakers,” meanwhile, takes the anthology in a breezy and slightly surreal direction with the story of an interracial relationship in a papermaking guild. If none of the stories stand out, it’s because each is as masterful as the next. This weighty sampler is best read slowly to give each writer their due before moving on to the next. It’s an impressive survey of contemporary Black SFF that should be a must-read for all genre fans. (Nov.)