Coined in 1993, the term afrofuturism refers to an aesthetic movement encompassing elements of fantasy, speculative fiction & sci-fi, and history through the eyes of the African American experience. To be clear, an aesthetic is a set of principles underlying and guiding the work of a particular artist or artistic movement. Science, technology, magical realism, mysticism, fantasy, history, and the specific experience of African Americans are the guiding principles of afrofuturism.
I was an afrofuturism author before I was even aware of the term. That’s right. Afrofuturism author Kevin Macklin was writing an afrofuturism novel before I had ever heard of afrofuturism. Science fiction and fantasy have always been favorite reads of mine, from Tolkien to Weir, from Abercrombie to Crouch. But I lacked awareness of any black speculative fiction authors. That’s probably because the prisons I’ve spent my adult life in don’t really have many books by black authors in general. Those you do find are predominantly urban fiction. For someone who’s tastes are vastly eclectic and also part of the black American culture I was left wanting.
That’s why I wrote Prince of Ruins. I wanted to read the books I love with the representation I’ve seen throughout my life. It wasn’t until after I wrote it and started trying to get it out there that I ran across N. K. Jemison, Tomi Adeyemi and a variety of lesser known authors such as my good friend Chase Bolling, author of The Vanguard series, who I met in my efforts to spread awareness about Prince of Ruins. It was in this process I came upon the term Afrofuturism.
The most recognizable representation of afrofuturism is Black Panther. The technologically advanced nation of Wakanda, along with the superhuman abilities of Black Panther, form a brilliant and coherent view of afrofuturism when combined with Killmonger’s take on black and brown peoples across the diaspora. Themes containing the struggles of marginalized peoples are central to afrofuturism, even when the struggle isn’t the central plot. It can be a driving force in the way the main character sees the world and makes decisions, lending afrofuturism a realistic view of the way melanated people experience the world, despite the plot being sci-fi or fantasy centered.
Afrofuturism is broad in that it encapsulates a wide range of sci-fi and fantasy elements including, but not limited to, space opera, African mythology, alien invasion, and even zombies. So whatever your personal taste, I’m certain there’s an author or book that will suit you perfectly.
Purchasing books isn’t really something I can afford to do. Most of the time I’m simply trying to meet my needs. I’m not complaining. But the majority of my reading is done through Kindle Unlimited since it’s an affordable, subscription service that provides access to tons of books. Not every book is available through KU, especially most traditionally published works. If you’re looking to explore the wide world of afrofuturism keep reading because I’m about to list a few titles available on Kindle Unlimited. Not necessarily recommendations, the following titles are meant to offer a low cost way to explore the wide universe of afrofuturism.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi is considered one of the top 100 fantasy books of all time. Highly acclaimed, this novel follows heroine Zélie Adebola as she attempts to restore magic to the kingdom of Orïsha, following the ruling class’ brutal suppression of the class of magic practitioners Zélie belongs to, the maji.
I’m surprised this book is on KU. I remember looking for it before and it wasn’t in KU, but I downloaded it as soon as I saw it. Can’t wait to dive in.
JaQuan Jones is through being a victim. Framed by one terrorist groups and betrayed by a second, he’s about to instruct alien revolutionaries in the ancient Earth custom of payback. Of course, he first has to survive being devoured by killer insects. Then he has to make sure his best friend isn’t working for the bad guys. And he still needs to secure the crystal necessary to repair the hyperdrive so he and his crew can escape and prove their innocence.
The women of the Rephaite race are being hunted for their natural ability of Rebirth and for the Duke of Hell, Asteroth’s regeneration. This level of genocide led by The Mastress, one of the most powerful Fallen Angels in the Celestial race, has caused Rephaites to meet their near extinction. As Rogue Legions and Others search the Sixth Dimension, Earth, to find her last vessel for Aster, it is up to Ezra, the God of the Fallen, to find her first, and to protect her at all cost.
In a Post-Apocalyptic America, Army veteran Catherine Briggs feels like she’s on borrowed time. Holed up in an abandoned house as people die in the streets and rise up again as flesh-eating monsters, the lone woman has almost given up hope of finding her son and husband live. But her temporary safety shatters when she hears someone screaming at her door for help with zombies hot on their heels.
Lilith Iyapo has just lost her husband and son when atomic fire consumes Earth—the last stage of the planet’s final war. Hundreds of years later Lilith awakes, deep in the hold of a massive alien spacecraft piloted by the Oankali—who arrived just in time to save humanity from extinction. They have kept Lilith and other survivors asleep for centuries, as they learned whatever they could about Earth. Now it is time for Lilith to lead them back to her home world, but life among the Oankali on the newly resettled planet will be nothing like it was before. The Oankali survive by genetically merging with primitive civilizations—whether their new hosts like it or not. For the first time since the nuclear holocaust, Earth will be inhabited. Grass will grow, animals will run, and people will learn to survive the planet’s untamed wilderness. But their children will not be human. Not exactly.
Jason Alexander was a prisoner, condemned murderer, and last scion to the royal house of a nation lost in a war for survival. Life now consists of waiting to die in his tiny cell. That is until he is tasked with becoming the harbinger of an all new apocalypse!
Prince of Ruins is an action packed thrill ride into a richly imagined post-apocalyptic world! Jason’s dangerous assignment will take him behind enemy lines and deep into a conspiracy that will change the fate of the world around him.
Author Kevin Macklin
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