In honor of World Book Day, and just in time for spring, I decided to put together a little list of fantasy and science fiction books that I think you should be reading. (If you haven’t already). So check these out* and let me know if you’ve read any of these!
The Binti Trilogy by Nnedi Okorafor
This extraterrestrial series follows the story of Binti, a brilliant girl from the planet Himba, who runs away to attend Oomza University against her families traditions. An outsider in every sense of the word, she is confronted with a deadly enemy and must give up more than she can fathom in order to save herself (and possibly the universe) in the process.
The Broken Earth Series . N.K. Jemisin
The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate and The Stone Sky tell the incredible story of the Stillness, a planet that is wracked with apocalyptic weather phenomena. Amidst this, a woman with elemental powers returns home find her husband has murdered their infant son and has kidnapped their daughter. Her search for them and herself is told from 3 different perspectives, and won Jemisin an equal number of Hugo Awards.
The Shadowshaper Cypher by Daniel José Older
Sierra Santiago has the ability to pull spirits through the images that she paints but she doesn’t know why. Turns out she’s not only from a long line of Shadowshapers, but is more powerful that anyone realizes. Which of course puts her in danger. I love Older’s writing and this story takes you all over Brooklyn, NY and is the first fantasy I’ve ever read with a Afro-Latina heroine. (I’ve been yelling about this book for a minute)
Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
Ti-Jeanne’s learns to accept her mystical gifts to escape the Burn, the poorest area on the outskirts of a future dystopian Toronto. But to save her baby and her addicted boyfriend, she must fight Rudy, his druglord boss who is on a mission from the Premier to fetch her a new heart. I got a chance to highlight this story during a Blerd HIstory month Series over at SYFYWire.
Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria by Carlos Hernandez
This is a wonderful series of futuristic short stories that blend everyday issues with fantasy. Like a unicorn preserve and organ harvesting from alternate realities. Hernadez masterfully mixes Latin culture and language (even food!) into this fun fantasy ride. I got a chance to talk to Carlos about this book on a recent episode of The Radical Geeks.
Stories for Chip – A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany Edited by Nisi Shawl and Bill Campbell
Samuel R. Delany is the father of Afrofuturism. Not only has his work and writing influenced generations of science fiction authors (including some on this list), but living his life as an out queer Black man since the ’70s made him revolutionary. These short stories are a tribute to his legacy.
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
This book has been nicknamed “The Nigerian Harry Potter” and follows young Sunny Nwazue, an American born Nigerian albino girl who discovers that she has magical powers. Along with her 3 magical classmates, they are put to the test as they search for a criminal who’s also a mage. (The audiobook version of this story is read by “American Gods” Yetide Bidaki)
A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney
Debut novel from Author L.L. McKinney. This should be called Alice the Nightmare Slayer as a near death experience leads Alice to find her mentor and learns to battle with nightmares that spawn from “Wonderland”.
Powers of a Girl by Lorraine Cink (Author), Alice X. Zhang (Illustrator)
If you are a Marvel fan, or know someone who is, get this book. Every page is dedicated to a female hero in the Marvel Universe, with an origin story with beautiful artwork. One thing that I love about it is the diversity and intersectionality of the characters featured. This is the coffee table book every geek should own.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man by Jason Reynolds
Speaking of Marvel, you should definitely check out this prose novel about Miles Morales. Not only does it take a real-world approach to what it’s like growing up black and brown in Brooklyn, but it also shows Miles’ journey in a different light to save himself and the hood. (If you loved Into the Spider-Verse you’ll love this!)
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
Empath Lauren Oya Olamina has learned to adapt and survive a world wracked by global warming catastrophes, an opioid epidemic and a leader who promises to make the world great again. (Butler wrote this in 1993). Using indigenous traditions and even a religion of her own called Earthseed, her power, faith and leadership are put to the test in her enclave’s fight for survival. Butler was the queen of Afrofuturism and this is a must read.
What genre books are your faves?
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