cover image Between Dystopias: The Road to Afropantheology

Between Dystopias: The Road to Afropantheology

Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki and Joshua Uchenna Omenga. CAEZIK SF & Fantasy, $19.99 trade paper (244p) ISBN 978-1-64710-084-1

Ekpeki (coeditor of Africa Risen) and debut author Omenga present 13 stories and three essays exploring the belief systems and lived experiences that inform African speculative fiction. The cogent essays, all by Ekpeki, weigh in on the schism between Western and African perspectives on speculative fiction (“Too Dystopian for Whom? A Continental Nigerian Writer’s Perspective”) and offer craft advice that eschews clichés (“A Different Kind of Show, Not Tell”). In his fiction outings, meanwhile, Ekpeki delivers mind-bending fantasy and dark surrealism: shape-shifting witches transcend the limits of their bodies in “The Witching Hour,” and publishing proves deadly in “The Magazine of Horror.” Omenga’s imagination shines in his own eloquent contributions: the dead navigate the afterlife in “The City of the Dead” and men seek godhood in “The Deification of Igodo.” The authors collaborate on two remarkable tales, probing the cycle of death and rebirth in “Land of the Awaiting Birth” and melodrama in the realm of the gods in “The Pet of Olodumare.” In coining afropantheology—“conceived to capture the gamut of African works which, though having fantasy elements, are additionally imbued with African spiritual realities”—the authors successfully encapsulate a distinct genre of speculative fiction. This riveting collection is sure to tease readers’ imaginations. (Oct.)