Since February is Black History Month and I have been lacking in talking about it on any of my platforms, so I decided to make a short list of books by black authors that I am most interested in checking out. You’ll notice that they are either science fiction or fantasy or a weird mixture of both. I am becoming predictable, aren’t I? Oh, well. I can’t help it. My attention immediately goes to those genres now and it’s like I have no control.
In any case, these are the five books by Black authors that I can’t wait to read.
The Deep by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Higgs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes
The water-breathing descendants of African slave women tossed overboard have built their own underwater society—and must reclaim the memories of their past to shape their future in this brilliantly imaginative novella inspired by the Hugo Award nominated song “The Deep” from Daveed Diggs’ rap group Clipping.
Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.
Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.
Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.
Inspired by a song produced by the rap group Clipping for the This American Life episode “We Are In The Future,” The Deep is vividly original and uniquely affecting.
Do You Dream of Tera-Two by Temi Oh
When an Earth-like planet is discovered, a team of six teens, along with three veteran astronauts, embark on a twenty-year trip to set up a planet for human colonization—but find that space is more deadly than they ever could have imagined.
Have you ever hoped you could leave everything behind?
Have you ever dreamt of a better world?
Can a dream sustain a lifetime?
A century ago, an astronomer discovered an Earth-like planet orbiting a nearby star. She predicted that one day humans would travel there to build a utopia. Today, ten astronauts are leaving everything behind to find it. Four are veterans of the twentieth century’s space-race.
And six are teenagers who’ve trained for this mission most of their lives.
It will take the team twenty-three years to reach Terra-Two. Twenty-three years locked in close quarters. Twenty-three years with no one to rely on but each other. Twenty-three years with no rescue possible, should something go wrong.
And something always goes wrong.
Rosewater by Tade Thompson (The Wormwood trilogy)*
Tade Thompson’s Rosewater is the start of an award-winning, cutting edge trilogy set in Nigeria, by one of science fiction’s most engaging new voices.
Rosewater is a town on the edge. A community formed around the edges of a mysterious alien biodome, its residents comprise the hopeful, the hungry and the helpless—people eager for a glimpse inside the dome or a taste of its rumored healing powers.
Kaaro is a government agent with a criminal past. He has seen inside the biodome, and doesn’t care to again—but when something begins killing off others like himself, Kaaro must defy his masters to search for an answer, facing his dark history and coming to a realization about a horrifying future.
The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin (The Broken Earth trilogy)
This is the way the world ends. Again.
Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.
Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.
A, B, C: Three Short Novels by Samuel R. Delany
A, B, C: Three Short Novels contains the first three novels of Samuel R. Delany’s long and illustrious career.
The Jewels of Aptor is a science-fantasy story about a seafaring quest that sets out to find powerful magic jewels on a mystical, forbidden island where unimaginable danger lies.
The Ballad of Beta-2 is about a future academic searching for the true story behind an interstellar voyage, a journey over multiple generations that ended in tragedy.
They Fly at Çiron is a fantasy about the clash between a marauding army and a peaceful village at the foot of a mountain from which a race of winged people oversees both sides.
Presenting these three novels in this omnibus volume for the first time, along with a new foreword and afterword by the author, A, B, C showcases Delany’s masterful storytelling ability and deep devotion to his craft.
I know these are not the most obvious of choices. I have left out quite a few must-read books/ authors but these are the books that currently hold my interest and have more chances of being read than any of the others. Being a mood reader means sometimes I have to let go of awesome books/authors like Octavia Butler and Nnedi Okorafor, etc.
I will have a bit of a hard time finding copies for at least a couple of those books but if it’s available in e-book format then I might have to let go of the paperback dream. What a pity as I love some of the covers I have seen. Also, I have read Rosewood by Tade Thompson however I never managed to continue with the series and to be honest, apart from some very specific scenes, I don’t remember much. So, I might as well read the whole series. What are some of the books by Black authors that you desperately want to read?