African Sci-fi and Fantasy Covers

25 African Sci-fi & Fantasy Books

I had so much fun last year putting together my list of 25 Asian-inspired fantasy books for the launch of The Sword of Kaigen that I’ve been looking for an excuse to post a similar list of African sci-fi and fantasy ever since. While I don’t have a new African-inspired book coming out (yet), I did just start releasing my new West African-inspired serial, Rage and Whisper for free and figured that was a good enough excuse to go ahead with this list!

Below, you’ll find new releases and classics, adult fiction and YA, Afrofuturism and sword and sorcery. From Angola to Morocco, there should be an African SFF story here for everyone!

1. The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter Cover for African SFF list (epic fantasy book)

In a South African-inspired world where gifted women have the power to call down dragons and gifted men can transform into fighting machines, a swordsman with no magical gifts seeks revenge on the people who betrayed him.

Shelved as High Fantasy and Dragons on Goodreads.

2. Daughters of Nri by Reni K. Amayo

Daughters of Nri by Reni K Amayo Cover for African SFF list (YA fantasy book)

This YA fantasy follows a pair of identical twin girls, separated at birth, both unwittingly bearing the power of lost gods.

Shelved as Young Adult and Fantasy on Goodreads.

3. The Kishi by Antoine Bandele

The Kishi by Antoine Bandele Cover for African SFF list (dark fantasy book)

A monk in search of redemption is the only one who can save a village beset by a demon in this dark fantasy inspired by Angolan mythology.

Shelved as Fantasy and Horror on Goodreads. (See also: Antoine Bandele’s By Sea & Sky)

4. Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron Cover for African SFF list (YA fantasy book)

This dark fantasy follows a young witch doctor trying to come into her power in a West African-inspired world where magic comes at a price and ambition can wake demons.

Shelved as Fantasy and Young Adult on Goodreads.

5. Acacia by David Anthony Durham

Acacia by David Anthony Durham Cover for African SFF list (epic fantasy book)

Compared to George R. R. Martin’s work, this high fantasy follows the four children of a king on a quest to avenge their father’s death and restore their lost empire.

Shelved as Epic Fantasy and Sci-fi/Fantasy on Goodreads.

6. A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson

A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson cover for African SFF list (fantasy novella)

A menagerie owner’s son falls in love with a soldier from across the sea in this romantic fantasy novella, which takes influence from the Yoruba of West Africa and the North African Roman Empire.

Shelved as Fantasy, LGBT, and Romance on Goodreads. (See also: Kai Ashante Wilson’s Sorcerer of the Wildeeps)

7. David Mogo Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

David Mogo Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa cover for African SFF list (urban fantasy book)

Described as Nigerian God-punk, this urban fantasy follows a freelance godhunter on adventures through the streets of a futuristic Lagos.

Shelved as Urban Fantasy, Sci-fi/Fantasy, and Mythology on Goodreads.

8. War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi

War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi cover for African SFF list (dystopian sci-fi book)

This dystopian sci-fi adventure follows a pair of sisters through a war-torn Nigeria full of flying mecha and cyborgs.

Commonly shelved as Science Fiction and Young Adult on Goodreads. (See also: Tochi Onyebuchi’s Beasts Made of Night and Crown of Thunder)

9. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi cover for African SFF list (YA fantasy book)

A young heroine embarks on a quest to restore magic to a fantasy world inspired by the Yoruba mythology of Nigeria.

Shelved as fantasy and young adult on Goodreads. (See also: Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Virtue and Vengeance)

10. Imaro by Charles R. Saunders

Imaro by Charles R Saunders for African SFF list (heroic fantasy book)

This collection of short stories chronicles the adventures of a larger-than-life warrior struggling to overcome adversity and find acceptance in a sprawling world based on pre-colonial Africa.

Shelved as Heroic Fantasy and Sword and Sorcery on Goodreads.

11. The Queen of Zazzau by J. S. Emuakpor

Queen of Zazzau by J. S. Emuakpor for African SFF list (historical fantasy book)

The heir to a crumbling kingdom seeks the help of a god of war in this historical fantasy, based on the true story of the Hausa warrior queen, Amina of Zazzau.

Categorized as military fantasy on Amazon.

12. Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James cover for African SFF list (epic fantasy)

Marlon James’ dark fantasy follows a mercenary hired to find a mysterious missing child.

Shelved as Fantasy and Adult on Goodreads.

13. A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy

A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy cover for African SFF list (YA fantasy book)

A pair of sisters vie for the throne of a kingdom of fey and magic in this North African-inspired YA fantasy.

Shelved as Fantasy and Young Adult on Goodreads.

14. Zoo City by Lauren Beukes

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes cover for African SFF list (urban fantasy book)

Beukes’ wild urban fantasy follows a young heroine through the seedy underbelly of a city teeming with crime and magical animals.

Shelved as Urban Fantasy and Science Fiction on Goodreads.

15. Everfair by Nisi Shawl

Everfair by Nisi Shawl Cover for African SFF List (afrofuturism, alternate history book)

This Afrofuturistic steampunk story explores an alternate history in which the Congo developed steam technology ahead of Europe.

Shelved as science fiction, steampunk, fantasy and history on Goodreads.

16. The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna cover for African SFF List (YA fantasy book)

A girl with supernatural powers finds new purpose as a warrior after being cast out by her community in this West African-inspired YA fantasy (slated for release May 2020).

Shelved as Fantasy and Young Adult on Goodreads.

17. The Ear, The Eye, and The Arm by Nancy Farmer

The Ear the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer cover for African SFF list (YA sci-fi book)

Set in 2194 Zimbabwe, this YA adventure follows three kidnapped children trying to find their way home and the three magical detectives hired to find them.

Shelved as Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Adventure on Goodreads. (See also: Nancy Farmer’s A Girl Named Disaster)

18. Temper by Nicky Drayden

Temper by Nicky Drayden cover for African SFF list (Sci-fi/fantasy book)

This Afrofuturistic fantasy tells a tale of demons, temptation, and the relationship between brothers.

Shelved as Science Fiction and Fantasy on Goodreads. (See also: Nicky Drayden’s The Prey of Gods and Escaping Exodus).

19. The Dreamblood Duology by N. K. Jemisin

The Dreamblood Duology by N.K. Jemisin cover for African SFF list (epic fantasy book)

Jemisin’s Egyptian-inspired epic fantasy includes The Killing Moon and The Shadowed Sun.

Shelved as Fantasy and Science Fiction on Goodreads.

20. Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi cover for African SFF list (historical fiction)

Set in a reimagined Uganda, this historical fantasy tells the story of several generations of a single family trying to break an old curse.

Shelved as Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction and Fantasy on Goodreads.

21. Lost Gods by Micah Yongo

Lost Gods by Micah Yongo cover for African SFF list (high fantasy book)

A teenage assassin finds himself hunted by those he once considered family in this epic fantasy inspired by Africa and the Middle East.

Shelved as High Fantasy on Goodreads.

22. Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Mirage by Somaiya Daud Cover for African SFF list (YA space fantasy book)

A young poet is kidnapped into a world of danger and court intrigue in this Moroccan-inspired space fantasy.

Shelved as fantasy, young adult, and science fiction on Goodreads.

23. Rosewater by Tade Thompson

Rosewater by Tade Thompson cover for African SFF list (sci-fi book)

The first book in Thompson’s Wormwood Trilogy, this science fiction thriller follows a rogue government agent through a Nigeria under threat of alien invasion.

Shelved as science fiction and fantasy on Goodreads.

24. The Wolf Queen by Cerece Rennie Murphy

The Wolf Queen by Cerece Rennie Murphy Cover for African SFF list (romantic fantasy book)

A young heroine sets out to reclaim her past and restore an ancient magic in this romantic action fantasy.

Shelved as fantasy and magic on Goodreads.

25. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor cover for African SFF list (YA sci-fi)

The first ever Himba student at an interstellar university has to strike a balance between her new life among the stars and the traditions of her people in the midst of a war with an alien race.

Shelved as science fiction and novella on Goodreads.

(See also: Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Witch, Who Fears Death, and Zahara the Windseeker)

26. Lion’s Blood by Steven Barnes

Lion's Blood by Steven Barnes cover for African SFF list (alternate history book)

I really didn’t mean for this list to exceed 25 books, but I belatedly realized that I wanted to include Lion’s Blood because it’s the only African-inspired speculative fiction work that asks the same question as my own books: what if historical Africa had not only avoided colonization but was itself a colonial power? The similarities pretty much end there, as Lion’s Blood and its sequel, Zulu Heart, take place in 1863 rather than modern day, and explore their African-dominated alternate universe through the eyes of a Celtic slave.

Which of these books have you read?
Are there any of your favorites that I missed?

Let us know in the comments!

As I mentioned above, I’ve started releasing an African-inspired serial called Rage and Whisper. This standalone sci-fi/fantasy follows five teenage prodigies through a school-wide fighting tournament in the West African dominated world of Duna. If you want to read that free, you can start here.

The first book of my Theonite Series is also available for free through my newsletter.

If you’re a super nerd and want to know all about my West African world-building, you can check out my source bibliography here (and if you pick up any of the listed sources, please, please get in touch so we can talk about them! You have no idea how happy that would make me).

See also: 25 Asian-Inspired Fantasy Books & Finding a Fantasy World (by turning ours upside down)

3 thoughts on “25 African Sci-fi & Fantasy Books”

  1. Great list! There are books I’ve read and I haven’t read, yet. I’m glad someone else read “The Eye, the Ear, and the Arm”! However, have you read anything by Nnedi Okorafor yet? You’re missing out!

    1. YES! I loved ‘The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm’ when I was younger and Nancy Farmer’s ‘A Girl Named Disaster’ is up there with my favorite YA/MG books of all time.

      I read and adored Binti (which was the perfect length for my tiny attention span lol) so I’ll probably get the rest of Nnedi Okorafor’s stuff on Audible at some point.

      EDIT: I realized after reading your comment that I had published the wrong draft of this post. All the numbers were wonky and Binti was missing. Fixed now!

      1. Finally, someone else whose read “A Girl Named Disaster”!!! And, I’m glad you’ve read some of Nnedi Okorafor’s books! She just announced her new one coming out next year!!!

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