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Aliens in Lagos

Terça-feira, 16.02.21

Sci-Fi novel Lagoon offers a bold new future

(Gibson Ncube/February 14, 2021/



Detail from the cover of Lagoon

a novel by Nnedi Okora


In his satirical essay How to Write About Africa, the late Kenyan writer and journalist Binyavanga Wainaina advocated for a rethinking of clichéd and stereotypical representations of the continent. Wainaina was in favour of looking beyond the despair that has plagued and continues to plague Africa.


African science fiction is a literary genre which tries to imagine utopic futures of the continent. Nigerian-American novelist Nnedi Okorafor calls her brand of sci-fi “Africanfuturism”. She explains in her blog that Africanfuturism is “concerned with visions of the future” and that “it’s less concerned with ‘what could have been’ and more concerned with what can/will be.”


Okorafor is on an upward global sci-fi trajectory, especially with the adaption of her acclaimed novella Binti into a major TV series – among several proposed projects involving her African protagonists.



The book Lagoon and

portrait of Nnedi Okorafor with insects


Considered especially against the background of the phenomenal success of the sci-fi blockbuster movie Black Panther, Okorafor’s rich body of work matters when it comes to the representation of black lives.


Her 2014 novel Lagoon recounts the story of the arrival of aliens in Nigeria. The aliens make their landing in the ocean, in the lagoon close to the city of Lagos. The novel focuses on Ayodele, the alien ambassador, and her interactions with three humans: a marine biologist named Adaora, a musician from Ghana named Anthony and a military man named Agu. Ayodele has shapeshifting capabilities that allow her to change her form. She transforms fluidly between human, animal and inanimate forms.


As I have observed in my analysis, Lagoon, through its shapeshifting alien protagonist, challenges long held ideas of how gender and sexual identities are considered in Africa.



(texto: Gibson Ncube ─ legendas: ─ imagens: Joey Hi-Fi/Hodder & Stoughton ─ Joey Hi-Fi/Hodder & Stoughton e Cheetah Witch/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA em

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publicado por Produções Anormais - Albufeira às 18:31