cover image Mothersound: The Sauútiverse Anthology

Mothersound: The Sauútiverse Anthology

Edited by Wole Talabi. Android, $19.99 trade paper (450p) ISBN 978-1-958121-60-3

This shared-world anthology from Talabi (Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon) stands out for both its cross-genre reach and the immense scope of its ambitions. The Sauútiverse project, “the first collaborative African Sci-Fi/Fantasy Universe,” aims to rival other popular science-fantasy properties, such as George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards universe, with a grounding in African culture and a depth of imagination that lends itself to spectacularly versatile applications. All 14 featured authors fill in critical pieces of the worldbuilding, which encompasses five planets, hundreds of thousands of years of history from creation to spaceflight, a sound-based magic system, and a rich mythology. Given this vast scope, there’s plenty of room for J. Umeh’s joyous “Kalabashing,” chronicling an interplanetary battle of the bands, to sit next to T.L. Huchu’s horror story “The Hollowed People,” in which a planet’s fragmented reality leaves its inhabitants both dead and alive at once. Eugen Bacon’s poetic neurodivergent dragonslayer tale “Sina, the Child with No Echo” fits in every bit as well as Xan van Rooyen’s futuristic story of a magical Deaf DJ in “Lost in the Echoes.” Released with a story bible and under copyright arrangements that will soon allow any African writer to add their voice to the collective, this feels like the start of something monumental. Agent: Bieke van Aggelen, African Literary. (Nov.)