In reading the MPR News article it is apparent that their is a huge gap between black and non black writers. Apparently, Fireside Fiction magazine published a report finding “that of 2,039 speculative fiction stories published in magazines last year, only 38 of them were by black writers. That’s less than 2 percent.”
Rather then continue with the issues (and their are plenty), let’s chat solutions. Here are 5 black sci-fi authors and novels you need to include on your reading lists according to the article:
1. “Kindred” by Octavia Butler Octavia Butler should be a much bigger fixture on people’s bookshelves than she is. A legendary sci-fi writer, she was posthumously inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2010. If you’ve never read Butler, pick up “Kindred,” her time-traveling story that transplants a woman from the 1970s onto a plantation in Maryland before the Civil War.
2. “Lagoon” by Nnedi Okorafor In “Lagoon,” an alien ship lands in the waters off of Lagos, Nigeria, causing the seas to rise and for marine creatures to take on curious shapes. The aliens, who can take on any form they choose, begin to invade the city in curious ways, sparking an unlikely alliance between three strangers with secrets in their past. Fans of young adult fiction (and “Harry Potter”) should also check out Okarafor’s “Akata Witch,” which follows a young girl studying magic in Nigeria.
3. “The Fifth Season” by N.K. Jemisin “The Fifth Season” is climate change taken to a terrifying future. It’s set on a distant planet with one massive continent — and enough spewing ash to block out the sun. This book is only the first in her “Broken Earth” series. The second, “The Obelisk Gate,” comes out this month. (N.K. Jemisin reviews sci-fi and fantasy in the New York Times Book Review, so if you ever need more reading recommendations, she’s a fantastic source.)
4. “Dhalgren” by Samuel Delany This little-known gem from 1975 is worth picking up: It’s set in a Midwestern city completely cut off from the world by a disaster that goes unnamed. There’s no phones, no radios and only one bridge in and out of the city. The story follows “the Kid,” the unnamed narrator who is stumbling through the city, suffering from partial amnesia.
5. “The Best of All Possible Worlds” by Karen Lord Set in a world where people inhabit a spread of planets, “The Best of All Possible Worlds” begins with an exodus. The Sadiri people must leave their decimated planet behind, and seek refuge on a world known for taking in refugees and exiles. It’s rumored that some of the Sadiri’s ancestors came to this planet once before, and they set out to find any remnants of their history in their new home.