The power of "What If". 
The Power of "What If." 

Black female Science Fiction matters

Speculative literature written by black authors for dystopian times.


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Only what can be thought and imagined has the possibility of existence. Speculative literature, with its powerful "What if," opens a space for proposing other future scenarios that subvert social roles and prejudices or anticipate the consequences of our actions on earth. 

Sometimes they also allow us to redo our memory and go back to the root to try to understand and correct history, as Octavia Butler does in her fabulous and absolutely necessary novel for these dystopian times we live in, Kindred, where she explores slavery and the role of women in the United States using time travel. 

The counterpart of this immense power that science fiction gives us is that, very much in spite that the genre is living a second golden age and its readers are loyal, there still exists, even in the field, invisibile authors of color and those that are non-binary. 

We gather a selection of some of the best science fiction and fantasy books written by black female writers by Sirens Conference. The list will continue to grow in the coming weeks. Black female Science Fiction matters!


Jewelle Gomez

First published in 1991, the first novel by this writer and activist features a lesbian and black vampire who takes us through her many lives from being a runaway slave in Louisiana in 1850 to finding a group of vampires running a brothel that become her family, and beyond, re-imagining the New Hampshire of 2020 and even moving forward to 2055. "A book about finding your place in an unwelcoming world," said the Sirens Conference. 


Namwali Serpell

The fresh debut of a writer born in Zambia, but who has lived in the United States since she was nine years old tells the intertwined stories of three families over three generations. A novel that is both a deep analysis of colonialism in Africa and a story about mistakes, losses and retributions with the backdrop of fairy tales. It all begins on the banks of the Zambezi River, where the sun sets on the water every afternoon. 


Nisi Shawl

A novel for lovers of steampunk - Neo-Victorian fiction - where Shawl explores the past of the Congo, when King Leopold II of Belgium used his mercenaries to enslave and murder the indigenous people in search of rubber. From that historical point, the author turns around and develops an alternative history of a steampunk Africa in which Africans developed the technology long before the colonizers. A complex book, very well documented and a gigantic political and historical WHAT IF. 


Rivers Solomon

Based on the song "The Deep" by the experimental hip-hop group Clipping, this jewel of afro-futurism takes the reader to an underwater society in the middle of the Atlantic created by the children of pregnant women who were thrown into the sea from slave ships. Yetu, a historian of this aquatic society, rises to the surface to discover everything her people lost and how much pain their ancestors suffered. It's a story about the Diaspora and slavery, ecological devastation and memory written in beautiful, raw prose. 


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