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Afrofuturism and Afrofantasy

Books & Bites Podcast, Ep. 74

JCPL librarians bring you book recommendations and discuss the bites and beverages to pair with them.

This month, we discuss the Afrofuturism/Afrofantasy square from Books & Bites Bingo. As Michael pointed out on the podcast, “Afrofuturism and Afrofantasy are sub-genres of science fiction and fantasy that are rooted in African cultures, myth, folklore, and the overall Black experience.”

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Raybearer book cover

Jacqueline enjoyed Raybearer by Jordon Ifeuko. This debut YA Afrofantasy novel was inspired by African folklore. Some of the issues this novel tackles are women’s struggles in patriarchal societies, the erasing of marginalized people in history, self discovery, and found families. Bite: Since author Jordon Ifueko grew up eating fried plantains, Jacqueline suggests trying them at the Hola Havana Cuban restaurant in Lexington or using the Fried Plantain Chips recipe from Serious Eats.

Michael recommends The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark. It’s a steampunk novella that fully immerses you in an alternate 1871 New Orleans. The U.S. Civil War is in an armistice, with New Orleans being a free and neutral city that’s enjoyed by both sides. The book’s protagonist is a thirteen-year-old girl named Jacqueline, who goes by the name of Creeper. Bite: If you can’t be in New Orleans in person, why not transport yourself there with a dish of Maque Choux from Gumbo Ya Ya?

Redemption in Indigo book cover

Carrie’s pick is Redemption in Indigo by Barbadian author Karen Lord. It’s a brief Afrofantasy novel that revisits a Senegalese folktale. The main character, Paama, has left her gluttonous, spoiled husband Ansige and returned to her family in the village of Makendha. While there, magical, undying beings called the djombi give Paama the Chaos Stick, allowing her to change the course of human disasters. Bite: Experience the taste of Senegal with Peanut Stew from AtoZ World Food, a library database with recipes from all over the world.

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