I recently discovered this new 3bute adapted from a blog post by Chris Kirkley (on Sahel Sounds), in which he recounts a visit to an MP3 market on the streets of Nouakchott, Mauritania. Kirkley’s brief but vivid account perfectly illustrates the radical digitization of the urban African landscape over the past few years; the overnight transformation of its cities into the high-tech slums of William Gibson’s vision:
Deeper into the market, past the fancier shops, the stalls are simpler. In concrete boxes plastered with glossy hip hop posters and homemade montages, young men lounge behind computers, blasting music from pairs of speakers directed outwards, in an arms race of sonic amplitude. This is Nouakchott’s mp3 market.
This is no amateur operation. Every computer trails a variety inputs: USB multipliers, memory card receivers, and microSD adapters. A virus scan is initiated on each new connection. Each PC is running some version of a copy utility to facilitate the process. The price is a standard 40 ougiya per song, about $0.14; like every market, discounts are available for bulk purchases.
The 3bute series creator, Bunmi Oloruntoba, will also be producing tributes to each of the five stories shortlisted for this year’s Caine Prize, beginning with Stanley Kenani’s Love on Trial, which was posted on May 27th.
The Future Fire has been raising funds on Peerbacker for their newest project, ‘We See a Different Frontier‘, an anthology of “colonialism-themed speculative fiction from outside the first-world viewpoint.” The project is a decisive attempt to examine the unique approach of post-colonial culture to science fiction and explore the deeper issues that arise in this arena. This anthology will provide an essential contribution to international awareness of developing world perspectives in relation to the genre:
The initial target of $3000 was surpassed in the first 40 days, so whatever happens now, the colonialism-themed issue of TFF as described below will happen. But if we can reach our new target of $4000 in the next ten days, We See a Different Frontier will not be an issue of a magazine with 7-8 stories, but a full book-length anthology with over 60,000 words of fiction.
They’ve since managed to exceeded even their second target, but you additional contributions can still be made through Peerbackers before the deadline expires within the next few days.
The BookShy blog has a post featuring the covers of important African science fiction titles such as Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death, Lauren Beukes’ Zoo City, and Abdourahman A. Waberi’s In the United States of Africa:
The blog also highlights some of the most exciting crime fiction novels to come out of Africa in recent years, including Nii Ayikwei Parkes’ Tail of the Blue Bird, Mukoma wa Ngugi’s Nairobi Heat, and Malla Nunn’s A Beautiful Place to Die:
Another particularly interesting find came in the form of the Gambian writer Biram Mboob, who it turns out is working on what promises to be a brilliant African science fiction novel — The Stampede. Granta Magazine has published an online excerpt of his novel-in-progress, entitled Harabella:
The Stampede is set in West Africa across different time periods reaching from the distant past, through the early 1990s, to 2047. In this extract, a young Cadet in the Homeland Army finds himself drawn into a treasonous plot to steal a strange immortality virus from the government – in an Africa that has been colonized by the People’s Republic of China.
And finally, regarding my own novel, I’m currently in preliminary talks with an interested UK publisher, and am now considering the possibility of getting a conventional book deal instead of self-publishing as I had initially announced. I’ll keep you updated if and when the deal goes through or otherwise, and I’m very much excited to publish the novel by any means necessary. In the meantime, I’ll be working on a series of new articles on Africa’s exciting and challenging future, and the role that science fiction has to play in shaping that future. Hopefully, we can generate some dialogue on these issues here and eventually take them beyond this blog.
Until then, stay tuned, and thanks for reading.