2022 Nommo Awards Shortlist

The African Speculative Fiction Society has released the 2022 shortlist for the Nommo Awards for African Speculative Fiction.

The African Speculative Fiction Society, composed of professional and semiprofessional African writers, editors, publishers, graphic artists and film makers, was founded in 2016.

The Nommos were presented for the first time in 2017. The awards are named for twins from Dogon cosmology who take a variety of forms, including appearing on land as fish, walking on their tails.

All works are speculative fiction, were published between January 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021, and are by Africans as defined by the ASFS and Nommo Awards Guidelines

ASFS members will vote on the shortlist until August 31, and the winners will be announced at an online ceremony sometime this autumn.

NOVEL SHORTLIST

  • THEY MADE US BLOOD AND FURY by Cheryl S. Ntumy (Amazon KDP, 2021)
  • THE GILDED ONES by Namina Forna (Delacorte Press, 2021)
  • SON OF THE STORM by Suyi Davies Okungbowa (Orbit US/Orbit UK, 2021)
  • FAR FROM THE LIGHT OF HEAVEN by Tade Thompson (Orbit Books 2021)
  • THE MADHOUSE by T J Benson (Masobe Books 2021)
  • THE LIBRARY OF THE DEAD by T. L. Huchu (Tor Books 2021)

NOVELLA SHORTLIST

  • THE FUTURE GOD OF LOVE by Dilman Dila (Luna Press, February 2021)
  • NOT SEEING IS A FLOWER by Erhu Kome (Eraserhead Press, 2021)
  • AN EXPLORATION OF NICHOLE OTIENO’S EARLY FILMOGRAPHY (1232-1246) by Kola Heyward-Rotimi (Strange Horizons September 2021)
  • REMOTE CONTROL by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor/Forge, Tordotcom, 2021)
  • THE ABOMINATION by Nuzo Onoh (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, September-October 2021)

SHORT STORY SHORTLIST

GRAPHIC NOVEL SHORTLIST

  • THE iJOURNAL — Awele Emili
  • IYANU: CHILD OF WONDER VOL 2 — Roye Okupe, Godwin Akpan (YouNeek Studios/Dark Horse Comic)

Pixel Scroll 4/5/22 Now That’s A Pixel I’ve Not Scrolled In A Long Time. A Long Time

(1) BEARING IT ALL. John Scalzi gives his fans a gift in “A New Story For You: Grizzly Bear Conflict Manager” at Whatever.

Whenever I go on book tour, I like to write up a short story to read at the events; a thank you, as it were, to the people who show up, who get to hear me read something no one else has gotten to yet. …

… This year, the short story I wrote (which I performed first on the 2022 edition of the JoCo Cruise) is called “Grizzly Bear Conflict Manager,” and it comes with a backstory, which is, there’s an actual job with the US National Park Service called a Grizzly Bear Conflict Manager. This job was pointed out to me by a friend who works with the park service; they were going to go into detail about the job actually entailed, but I stopped them before they could do so. “No, no,” I said. “I want to write a story about this job, and I do not want it sullied by mere facts.”

Thus, this story is a fanciful interpretation of what I imagine a Grizzly Bear Conflict Manager does, which I am almost entirely certain has nothing to do with what someone with this job actually does…

(2) PRECIOUS MOMENTS. Andy Serkis returns as Gollum in the new audiobook of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

Award-winning actor Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit) returns to Middle-earth this September in the brand new unabridged audiobook of J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings. In this scene, he reprises his role as Gollum.

 (3) DO KNOW MUCH ABOUT HISTORY. Scott Oden talks about “The Landscape of Historical Fiction, Circa Now”.

…Certain topics are perennial. The Tudors, for example, seem always in fashion. So, too, the Romans. The latter are split into two camps: the pulpier sword-and-sandal novels of war and great deeds, emperors and kings, and the “quieter” histories that also bear some resemblance to romance novels. Scottish books are still holding steady, with their shirtless Highlanders and fiery gingers. Civil War novels have all but vanished, and there are a few Revolutionary era out there. I’ve seen more set in medieval India that I’d previously noticed.

Discordant to me, the Sixties have edged into historical fiction. The 1960s. The decade of my birth. This reminds me I’m slowly fossilizing ….

(4) WRAP ARTIST. At CrimeReads, Lisa Tuttle says “Forget Frankenstein. It’s Time To Read The Mummy!”, about a little known early science fiction novel from 1827.

FRANKENSTEIN, published in 1818, established Mary Shelley’s monster as a permanent icon of horror, and is considered by many to be the first true science fiction novel. Yet The Mummy! A Tale of the Twenty-Second Century, published nine years later, has a much stronger claim to that position. It was also the first work of fiction to feature an Egyptian mummy restored to life, but it was too far ahead of its time to become the foundational text for the later wave of horror featuring vengeful mummies.

Despite some Gothic flourishes, The Mummy! is not strictly a tale of horror. It does not deal in ancient curses or dark magic, and if at first the mummy of Cheops appears as a grim, imposing figure with flashing eyes and an eerie laugh, striking terror into the hearts of all who see him, he turns out to be a strangely helpful Machiavellian operator as he swiftly involves himself in political machinations following the death of Queen Claudia in twenty-second century London….

(5) IF YOU WANT OGRES. The Hugo Book Club Blog reviews Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Ogres in “Monstrously Wealthy”. Maybe you’d like to read it, too? They have three copies to give away. Here’s what you need to do.

(6) Q&A WITH NOMMO NOMINEES. The BSFA interviews past nominees for the Nommo Awards: Innocent Chizaram Ilo; Tlotlo Tsamaase; Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki; Tochi Onyebuchi; NIkhil Singh; Stephen Embleton.

(7) THAT OLD GANG OF MINE. “Star Trek: Picard to Reunite Next Generation Cast for Season 3”Variety tells who’ll be aboard.

Star Trek: The Next Generation” stars LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Jonathan Frakes, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis and Brent Spiner will join Patrick Stewart for the third and final season of the Paramount Plus series “Star Trek: Picard.”

Spiner has played several characters on “Picard” in Season 1 and 2 (which is currently streaming), including his original role of the android Data; Frakes and Sirtis appeared in one memorable episode of “Picard” in Season 1 as William T. Riker and Deanna Troi. And Whoopi Goldberg reprised her role as Guinan in the Season 2 premiere. But this will be the first time the main “TNG” cast — including Burton as Geordi La Forge, Dorn as Worf, and McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher — has performed on screen together since the 2002 feature film “Star Trek: Nemesis.”

(8) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

1974 [Item by Cat Eldridge.] Forty-six years ago, the Golden Voyage of Sinbad premiered in the United States on this day. It was based as these things are somewhat loosely upon on Sinbad the Sailor from One Thousand and One Nights, better known as the Arabian Nights

It was directed by Gordon Hessler, previously known for his long association with the Alfred Hitchcock Presents series. It was scripted by him from a story by himself and Ray Harryhausen who of course did the special effects here. Harryhausen and Charles Schneer, whose career was spent mostly working with Hartyhausen, produced it. 

It has a cast of John Phillip Law, Tom Baker, Takis Emmanuel, Caroline Munro, Douglas Wilmer and Martin Shaw. Munro was given the female lead, though they had to hew to a G rating here. And it is said that Baker’s performance in this film was what landed him the role of the Fourth Doctor, because the show’s producer, Barry Letts, was impressed with his performance here.

So how was the reception at the time for it? 

Well, Time magazine (remember them?) rather liked it though Baker they did not: “The movie is short on talk, except for the windbag wizard (Tom Baker) who plays the villain, and long on action, quite the proper proportion for entertainments like this. Sinbad is light, silly fun, and kids will probably appreciate both the skillful technique of the fantasy and the fact that the film makers have had the good sense not to include a single—yecchh!—kissing scene.” 

And Variety was likewise impressed: “As with producer Charles H. Schneer’s Jason and the Argonauts, Ray Harryhausen encores as coproducer and special effects collaborator. Among his creations: an animated ship’s figurehead, a grotesque centaur, a many-armed religious idol and swordplay adversary, and a couple of small bat-like creatures performing intelligence duty for the black artsy heavy of the piece. Good enough conjuring tricks to impress the kids.  Neither story nor running time are belabored under Gordon Hessler’s capable direction. And the play-acting is up to snuff for this kind of throwback, in which John Phillip Law impersonates Sinbad with appealing understatement.”

Currently it holds decent though not outstanding sixty-four percent rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes. You can purchase or rent it pretty much anywhere.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born April 5, 1909 Albert Broccoli. American film producer responsible for all the Bond films up to Licence to Kill, either by himself or in conjunction with others. He also was the producer of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and executive produced The Gamma People which is in the public domain, so you can see it here. (Died 1996.)
  • Born April 5, 1916 Bernard Baily. A comics writer, editor and publisher. Best remembered as co-creator of The Spectre and Hourman. For DC Comics precursor National Comics, Baily co-created and drew the adventure feature “Tex Thomson” in Action Comics #1 (June 1938), the landmark comic book that introduced Superman. In 1943, he founded his own studio. Among the artists who started out in the industry there were Frank Frazetta, Carmine Infantino and Gil Kane. (Died 1996.)
  • Born April 5, 1917 Robert Bloch. His Wiki page says he’s best known as the writer of Psycho, but I’ll guarantee that only film geeks and many of y’all know that. I know him best as the writer of the Trek “Wolf in the Fold” episode, one of three Trek episodes he did. His Night of the Ripper novel is highly recommended. And I know “That Hellbound Train” which won him first Hugo at Detention is the piece by him that I’ve read the most. He received a special committee award at L.A. Con II, where they were honored him for fifty years as SF professional. Impressive indeed. And yes, he’s a member of First Fandom as he should be. (Died 1994.)
  • Born April 5, 1926 Roger Corman, 96. Ahhhh, popcorn films! (See popcorn literature for what I mean.) Monster from the Ocean Floor in the early Fifties was his first such film and Death Race: Beyond Anarchy was his final film just a few years back. He’s a man who even produced a film called, errr, Munchies. A Worldcon guest of honor in 1996. A very, very long career. 
  • Born April 5, 1933 Frank Gorshin. To my amazement, I’ve not written him up before! He of course played The Riddler eleven times on The Batman counting the film. And he appeared on Star Trek  playing Bele in “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”, though I’ll be damn if I remember which of the two he was. He had one-offs on The MunstersWonder WomanBuck Rogers in the 25th Century (well a two-parter there), MonstersAre You Afraid of the DarkThe Ren & Stimpy Show (voice role), Black Scorpion and coming full circle finally voicing Professor Hugo Strange on The Batman. One of the figure companies is doing a one-sixth scale figure of his Riddler this Autumn. (Died 2005.)
  • Born April 5, 1950 Anthony Horowitz, 72. He wrote five episodes of Robin of Sherwood, and he was both creator and writer of Crime Traveller. He’s also written both Bond and Holmes novels. If you can find a copy, Richard Carpenter’s Robin of Sherwood: The Hooded Man is a very nice fleshing out of that series in literary form.
  • Born April 5, 1950 A.C. Crispin. She wrote several Trek and Star Wars novelizations and created her series called Starbridge which was heavily influenced by Trek. She also co-wrote several Witch World novels, Gryphon’s Eyrie and Songsmith, with Andre Norton. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Price of Freedom was her last novel prior to her death from bladder cancer while in hospice care. (Died 2013.)
  • Born April 5, 1965 Deborah Harkness, 57. She’s the author of the All Souls Trilogy, which consists of A Discovery of Witches and its sequels Shadow of Night and The Book of Life. I listened to the Jennifer Ikeda-narrated audiobooks which are an amazing experience. Highly recommended as Harkness tells a remarkable story here with lots of Library-related material. I’m not even fond ’tall of vampires in any form and hers actually are both appealing and make sense. I’ve not seen the series made from the novels.

(10) SPOT ON. Cora Buhlert has posted another Fanzine Spotlight for “Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations” by Joachim Boaz.

Tell us about your site or zine.

Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations maps the varied landscape of SF produced during the turbulence of the post-WWII to the mid-1980s world. I am fascinated by the ways authors responded to the advent of nuclear weapons, the rise of 50s suburbia and commercialism, the Civil Rights movement, the Counterculture and radical student politics, the Vietnam War, and the 1970s political backlash. I chart what’s produced in a specific time and territory to understand the people who dwelled at that moment—their dreams for the future, their fears of the present, and all the manifestations of estrangement and elation generated by a rapidly transforming world. Science fiction is a fantastic way to get at the zeitgeist of an era.

I am particularly receptive to New Wave science fiction of the late 60s and early 70s that attempted to tackle our oblique interiors via radical structure/politics, non-standard characters and perspectives, and experimental prose. Sometimes it’s beautiful. Sometimes it doesn’t work. But it’s all fascinating.

(11) 2021 HUGO SWAG. Also, congratulations to Cora Buhlert who is celebrating the arrival of her DisCon III Hugo finalist goodies.

(12) UP YOUR LIBRARY I WILL PROP. The “Yoda Illusion Bookend” seems like an entertaining idea.

(13) CUT-AND-PAST. The 2014 trailer for graduate film student Ricky Kennedy’s feature length film “The History of Time Travel” is news to me!

(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Honest Trailers:  Ghost Rider 1 and 2,” the Screen Junkies say the two Ghost Rider movies “Feel like going on a 48-hour Coke bender with Nick Cage. They’re a bad idea, but still pretty fun.”  The two films are “loud, fun, and barely make sense. They’re dumb, but comic books are dumb.”

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Chris Barkley, Cora Buhlert, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bill.]

Pixel Scroll 2/12/22 To Scroll The Invisible Pixel

(1) TAKE SANFORD’S SFF MAGAZINE SURVEY. Jason Sanford is running a new survey about how people view SFF genre magazines, described in his twitter thread about the survey. Sanford originally did a survey at the end of 2019 about people’s views on SFF magazines (also shared on File770). “I’d planned to release those results in the first quarter of 2020 but the COVID pandemic intervened. But having those pre-pandemic survey results allows me to run an identical copy of the survey right now and see if people’s views of SFF magazines changed over the last two years.”

Here’s the survey link at Google Docs

(2) AURORA AWARDS TIMELINE. Members of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association have until midnight tonight (Eastern time) to add genre works to the Aurora Awards eligibility list that were done by Canadians in 2021.

On Saturday, February 19, they will open up the nomination forms so CSFFA members can select up to five different works in each of the categories to be on this year’s final Aurora Award ballot.  Nominations will be open for five weeks – closing on March 26 at 11:59 pm Eastern.  

(3) PROFIT IN ITS OWN LAND. The Guardian finds that entering public domain takes an unexpected toll on popular classics: “The Great Gapsby? How modern editions of classics lost the plot”.

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” It is one of the most memorable literary payoffs in history, the end of F Scott Fitzgerald’s defining novel of the 20th centuryThe Great Gatsby.

Yet this famous ending will be lost to many readers thanks to the proliferation of substandard editions, one of which loses the last three pages and instead finishes tantalisingly halfway through a paragraph.

…In his study, to be published next month in the F Scott Fitzgerald Review, West contrasts the focus on accuracy of Fitzgerald’s publisher, Scribner, with today’s “textual instability incarnate”.

He pored over 34 new print editions released in the past year, from established and independent publishers and some that list neither the place nor publisher, although there are further digital ones: “Six are competently done, but the rest are rather careless, done just to pick up a slice of the yearly sales. While it was still in copyright, Scribner’s sold about half a million copies a year, which is remarkable for a backlist title.”

To his dismay, 17 editions dropped Fitzgerald’s dedication to his wife, Zelda: “Her name has been erased – a serious problem … because she was Fitzgerald’s muse. She was partly the inspiration for Daisy Buchanan.”

(4) A LONG GOODBYE. Jesse Walker shares a few quick thoughts about a new anthology in “Dangerous Visions and New Worlds” in Reason.

…The best thing about Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950–1985, an uneven but often incisive anthology of essays from PM Press, is that it covers the New Wave moment without limiting itself to the New Wave movement. The most talented New Wave writers are covered here—there are essays on J.G. Ballard, Octavia Butler, Barry Malzberg, and others—but so are TV tie-ins and porny paperbacks, showing how such ideas seeped through society…

(5) NOMMO SHORTLISTED WRITERS Q&A. The British Science Fiction Association and the Nommos Awards will hold a virtual event in March – date to be announced.

Last year the BSFA has funded 5 Nommo shortlisted writers  to virtually attend Worldcon, Discon 3. This March (date to be confirmed) we are holding a Q&A panel, based on the questions submitted by our readers. We are looking forward to receiving your questions on our facebook and twitter, or on a special email for the event: bsfa.nommo@gmail.com

Here is the list of participants in our Q&A.

Nana Akosua Hanson and Francis Y Brown (AnimaxFYB Studios)

Winners of the 2021 Nommo Award for best comic writer and best comic artist. All ten chapters of the winning comic are available here.

Nihkil Singh

Short-listed for the 2017 Illube Nommo Award for Taty went West and for 2021 Ilube Nommo Award for Club Ded.

His story ‘Malware Park’ is available here.

Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki

The winner of the 2019 Nommo Award for Best Short Story and the 2021 Nommo Award for best novella for Ife-Iyoku: The Tale of Imadeyunuagbon, available in Dominion An Anthology of Speculative Fiction From Africa and the African Diaspora, edited by Zelda Knight and Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki. ‘The Witching Hour’ won the Nommo award for best short story in 2019. Here is another story of his, ‘The Mannequin Challenge

Stephen Embleton

His novel Soul Searching was shortlisted for the 2021 Ilube-Nommo Award.  We offer our readers a chance to read an extract from it. His speculative fiction available to read online includes “Land of Light” – Imagine Africa 500 speculative fiction anthology (2015) 

Tlotlo Tsamaase

shared the 2021 Nommo Award with Innocent Chizaram Ilo.

Her winning story ‘Behind Our Irises’ was part of Brittle Paper’s anthology Africanfuturism edited by Wole Talabi is available to read here. Her most recent fiction is “Dreamports” and “District to Cervix – The Time  Before We Were Born” 

Tochi Onyebuchi

won the 2018 Ilube-Nommo Award for his novel Beasts Made of Night

His novella Riot Baby was shortlisted for this year’s Nommo Award, and won in its category the Fiyah Award. A free excerpt is available here. His novel Goliath is expected in January of this year.  A free excerpt is available here.

(6) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

1999 [Item by Cat Eldridge] Twenty-three years ago, the film remake of the My Favorite Martian series premiered. It was directed by Donald Petrie as written by Sherri Stoner and Deanna Oliver, both had been writers on the Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs.

It has a good cast including Jeff Daniels, Christopher Lloyd, Elizabeth Hurley, Daryl Hannah, Wallace Shawn, Christine, Ebersole and Wayne Knight.  Ray Walston even showed up as Armitan/Neenert, a long ago-stranded Martian who has been masquerading as a government operative for years.

Some critics did like it, some didn’t.  As Robert Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times put it “The movie is clever in its visuals, labored in its audios, and noisy enough to entertain kids up to a certain age. What age? Low double digits.”  But Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times stated “Walston displays a crisp wit and blithe sense of whimsy otherwise lacking in this loser.”

What it didn’t make is money. On a budget of sixty-five million, it only made thirty-seven million. And it only gets a thirty percent rating at Rotten Tomatoes among audience reviewers.

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born February 12, 1920 Louis Russell Chauvenet. Member of First Fandom, and a founder of the Boston’s Stranger Club which ran the first Boskones.  He’s credited with coining the term “fanzine” and may have also coined “prozine” as well. He published a number of zines from the later Thirties to the early Sixties. (Died 2003.)
  • Born February 12, 1929 Donald Kingsbury, 93. He’s written three novels (Courtship RiteThe Moon Goddess and the Son and Psychohistorical Crisis) that could be akin to the Asimov’s Foundation novels. Clute at EOSF says that the Asimov estate explicitly refused him permission to set Psychohistorical Crisis in the Foundation universe.  Now there’s a story there, isn’t there? 
  • Born February 12, 1933 Juanita Ruth Coulson, 89. She’s best known for her Children of the Stars series. She was a longtime co-editor of the Yandro fanzine with her husband, Buck, and she’s a filker of quite some renown. Yandro won the Best Fanzine Hugo at Loncon II in 1965. 
  • Born February 12, 1942 Terry Bisson, 80. I’m very fond of “Bears Discover Fire” which won a Hugo at Chicon V. And yes, it won a Nebula and a Sturgeon as well.  Some may like his novels but I’m really in love with his short fiction which why I’m recommending three collection he’s done, Bears Discover Fire and Other Stories, In the Upper Room and Other Likely Stories and TVA Baby and Other Stories.
  • Born February 12, 1945 Maud Adams, 77. Best remembered for being two different Bond girls, first for being in The Man with the Golden Gun where she was Andrea Anders, and as the title character in Octopussy. She shows up a few years later uncredited in a third Bond film, A View to Kill, as A Woman in Fisherman’s Wharf Crowd. 
  • Born February 12, 1945 Gareth Daniel Thomas. His best-known genre role was as of Roj Blake on Blake’s 7 for the first two series of that British show. He also had a minor role in Quatermass and the Pit, and had one-offs in The AvengersStar MaidensHammer House of Horror, The Adventures Of Sherlock HolmesTales of the UnexpectedRandall & Hopkirk (Deceased) and Torchwood. (Died 2016.)
  • Born February 12, 1954 Stu Shiffman. To quote Mike in his post, he was “The renowned fan artist, who generously shared his talents in fanzines, apas and convention publications, received the Best Fan Artist Hugo Award in 1990 and the Rotsler Award in 2010.” You can read Mikes’ gracious full post on him here. (Died 2014.)
  • Born February 12, 1960 Laura Miller, 62. Author of an essay whose title tickles me to the end: “It’s Philip Dick’s World, We Only Live In It“. Originally appearing in the New York Times, 24 November 2002, it was reprinted in PKD Otaku, #9 which you can download here.

(8) COMICS SECTION.

(9) WHO DREW? First Fandom Experience shows its detective chops and connections as they seek out the creator of this Thirties-vintage “Mysterious Early Fan Art”.

… Regarding the style of the piece, we believe it’s directly inspired by the work of Frank R. Paul — most specifically, this piece from Amazing Stories Quarterly, v1n1, Winter 1928, illustrating “The Moon of Doom” by Earl L. Bell….

(10) THAT’S NOT GIBBERISH, THAT’S SFF. Got to love this. Phil Jamesson “reading the first page of any sci-fi novel”. [Via Boing Boing.]

(11) BAKULA TO THE FUTURE. Will Scott Bakula be involved? Movieweb rounds up “Everything We Know About the Quantum Leap Reboot”.

…In Quantum Leap’s case, details of the new series are still sketchy, but it is believed that the premise will make the new series a continuation rather than a full reboot. Set in the same universe as the original, the new series will feature a new team of scientists resurrecting the Quantum Leap project, and attempting to find out what happened to Sam, whose fate was famously left up in the air by the original’s ambiguous finale….

(12) JWST TAKES SELFIE. “NASA beams back unexpected selfie of the Webb telescope from 1 million miles away” – see the image at Mashable.

We thought we’d never see the giant James Webb Space Telescope ever again.

The space observatory has traveled to its distant cosmic outpost, nearly a million miles from Earth. It doesn’t carry any surveillance cameras dedicated to monitoring the instrument as it traveled through space and unfurled. They were too complicated, and risky, to add.

But NASA still found a way to take a (somewhat coarse and eerie) selfie.

The space agency used an auxiliary lens on its powerful Near-Infrared Camera, or NIRCam, which will peer at some of the earliest stars and galaxies that formed in the universe, over 13.5 billion years ago.

“This special lens is meant for engineering, not science, and allows NIRCam to capture an ‘inward-looking’ image of the primary mirror,” NASA tweeted. “This image helps us to check that the telescope is aligned with the science instruments.”…

(13) YOUR NOTHING IN THE WAY STATION. This Budweiser Super Bowl commercial uses a lot of sf-style effects. But if that’s not enough reason to view it, you can get a head start by skipping it now!

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Rob Thornton, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]

2021 Nommo Awards

The 2021 winners of the African Speculative Fiction Society’s Nommo Awards were announced today in a ceremony held at DisCon III.

NOVEL

  • Akwaeke Emezi — The Death Of Vivek Oji

NOVELLA

  • Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki — Ife-Ikyoku: The Tale Of Imadeyunuagbon 

SHORT STORY

[Tie]

  • Innocent Chizaram Ilo — Rat And Finch Are Friends
  • Tlotlo Tsamaase — Behind Our Irises

GRAPHIC NOVEL

  • Moongirls — Nana Akosua Hanson (writer) AnimaxFYB Studios (art) – Ghana Drama Queens Collective

The event was hosted by DisCon’s Special Guest, Sheree Renée Thomas. She announced this year’s Ilube Nommo Award for best novel, which went to The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi.

In her opening speech, Sheree Renée Thomas said, “As newer audiences embrace storytelling from around the world, there is an excitement and openness to exploring rich tales that speak to the diverse cultural heritage that is born from not only Africa’s broad and diverse diaspora, but from the continent of Africa itself.”

Nana Akosua made an impassioned speech on behalf of the Drama Queens collective, “This year has been a particularly hard year for the Ghanaian Queer and Trans community. But I’d like to use this platform to say Hate will never win. All of the struggle will be worth it.”

In accepting her award for best short story. Tlotlo Tsmaase thanked the African online magazine Brittle Paper and the editor of its Africanfuturism anthology, Wole Talabi.  Innocent Chizaram Ilo thanked his editors at Strange Horizons.

For Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, the Nommo Awards are “…about self acceptance really, or acceptance from your own. One of the core purposes of awards is providing recognition or validation to writers at certain points in their careers. But writers from certain backgrounds, demographics, regions are unable to participate as fully in international activities and awards as much as they would need to due to financial barriers, economic, cultural, social and other such constraints. Now that’s where bodies like the Nommo step in.”

The other presenters were authors Suyi Davies Okungbowa and Tochi Onyebuchi, each a winner of a previous Nommo for best novel and Iquo Diana Abasi, editor of the African SFF magazine Omenana. The announcements were followed by readings from the winning works.

The African Speculative Fiction Society, composed of professional and semiprofessional African writers, editors, publishers, graphic artists and film makers, was founded in 2016.

The Nommos were presented for the first time in 2017. The awards are named for twins from Dogon cosmology who take a variety of forms, including appearing on land as fish, walking on their tails.

[Includes quotes from a DisCon III press release.]

Nommo Awards to be Presented at DisCon III; Sheree Reneé Thomas Will Host Ceremony

The Nommo Awards are Africa’s leading science fiction and fantasy awards. For the first time in their five-year history, the Nommos ceremony will be held at the World Science Fiction Convention, as File 770 reported in October. This year’s Worldcon is being held in Washington D.C. from December 15 to 19.

DisCon III announced today that the Master of Ceremonies for the Nommos will be Sheree Reneé Thomas, a special guest of DisCon III and a co-presenter of the Hugo Awards. 

Sheree Renée Thomas

She says, “As a reader and a writer who loved the genre, I hoped to see a time when the work of Black writers would be widely embraced in the field, a time when discussions about our perceived absence or invisibility could begin to be put to rest. It’s an honor to present the exciting Nommo Awards this year at our very first WorldCon, and I hope that this will be a fun tradition that will carry on in the years ahead.”

Previously the Nommos ceremony was held every year at the Ake Books and Culture Festival in Nigeria.  But the time had come for a change, says Geoff Ryman, the Awards administrator. 

“Almost every major SFF magazine has now published work by African writers.  It just seemed the right time to move the awards onto the international stage to highlight the work there. Being at a WorldCon also means we can have such a star-studded team of presenters.” 

In addition to Sheree Reneé Thomas, the presenters include Suyi Davies Okungbowa, who won the 2020 Ilube Nommo Award for his novel David Mogo, GodhunterIquo Diana Abasi, editor of Africa’s leading SFF magazine Omenana, and Tochi Onyebuchi, who won the Ilube Nommo in 2018 and this year won the Ignyte Award for his novella Riot Baby.

They and many other African writers will participate in a stream of panels focussing on African SFF.  Says Thomas, “The programming stream which the Nommos are part is not only historic but promises to be dynamic and well-rounded.”

The Nommo Awards are nominated every year by the roughly 200 African Speculative Fiction Society members, who are all published authors or comics artists.  The membership then votes for the winners out of shortlists in four categories: comics or graphic novels, short stories, novellas, and novels.

This year the nominees include previous winner Akwaeke Emezi for her novel The Death of Vivek Oji, Tochi Onyebuchi for his novella Riot Baby, filmmaker and award-winning author Dilman Dila also in the novella category, T. L. Huchu, another previous Nommo winner and Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki winner of this year’s Otherwise Award and co-editor of the much-honored anthology Dominion.

A complete list of the nominated works is on the ASFS website. The 2021 Nommo shortlist follows the jump.

Continue reading

Nommo Awards to be Announced at DisCon III

The African Speculative Fiction Society’s 2021 Nommo Awards Ceremony will be held this December at DisCon III, the World Science Fiction Convention.

The ASFS is the organization of African writers, artists, editors, and publishers in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and related genres.

The organization says the virtual component of the convention “means greater numbers of African writers can be part of the convention, to take part in panels, give readings and attend events of interest to them all online. Holding the Awards ceremony as part of the convention’s diversity streams will help bring African writing and comics to the attention of the international SFF fan, writing, editing and publishing communities.”

ASFS member voting on the 2021 Nommo Awards shortlist closed August 30.

2021 Nommo Awards Shortlist

The African Speculative Fiction Society has released the 2021 shortlist for the Nommo Awards for African Speculative Fiction.

The African Speculative Fiction Society, composed of professional and semiprofessional African writers, editors, publishers, graphic artists and film makers, was founded in 2016.

The Nommos were presented for the first time in 2017. The awards are named for twins from Dogon cosmology who take a variety of forms, including appearing on land as fish, walking on their tails.

All works are speculative fiction, were published between January 1, 2019 – December 31 2020, and are by Africans as defined by the ASFS and Nommo Awards Guidelines

ASFS members will vote on the shortlist until August 31, and the winners will be announced at an online ceremony sometime this autumn.

NOVEL

  • Akwaeke Emezi — THE DEATH OF VIVEK OJI
  • Nikhil Singh — CLUB DED 
  • Stephen Embleton — SOUL SEARCHING 

NOVELLA

  • David A. Atta — GUARDIANS: THE AWAKENING
  • Dilman Dila — A FLEDGLING ABIBA 
  • Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald — IFE-IKYOKU: THE TALE OF IMADEYUNUAGBON 
  • Tlotlo Tsamaase – THE SILENCE OF THE WILTING SKIN
  • Tochi Onyebuchi – RIOT BABY

SHORT STORY

  • Innocent Chizaram Ilo — RAT AND FINCH ARE FRIENDS
  • T L Huchu — CORIALIS
  • Tiah Marie Beautement — THE BEND OF WATER
  • Tlotlo Tsamaase — BEHIND OUR IRISES
  • Tobi Ogundiran — THE GOATKEEPER’S HARVEST

GRAPHIC NOVEL

  • ALEX — Anna Mbale (writer) and Mwiche Songolo (artist) – Black Hut Comics
  • BLACK SHEEP — Mwiche Songolo (writer & artist) – Black Hut Comics
  • MEANWHILE… — Quinto Collab (various writers & artists), MaThoko’s Books, an imprint of GALA Queer Archive
  • MOONGIRLS — Nana Akosua Hanson (writer) AnimaxFYB Studios (art) – Ghana Drama Queens Collective
  • NEW MEN — Murewa Ayodele (writer) and Dotun Akande (artist) – Collectible Comics.
  • TITAN — Mazuba Chimbeza (writer & artist) – Black Hut Comics.

2021 Nommo Nominations Longlist

The African Speculative Fiction Society has released the 2021 longlist for the Nommo Awards for African Speculative Fiction.

The African Speculative Fiction Society, composed of professional and semiprofessional African writers, editors, publishers, graphic artists and film makers, was founded in 2016.

The Nommos were presented for the first time in 2017. The awards are named for twins from Dogon cosmology who take a variety of forms, including appearing on land as fish, walking on their tails.

The long lists consist of all titles in their respective categories that were nominated by members of the ASFS. All works are speculative fiction, were published between January 1, 2019 – December 31 2020, and are thought to be by Africans as defined by the ASFS and Nommo Awards Guidelines. Some of these works were nominated once, some just missed the shortlist.  The ASFS lists them in full to draw attention to all the works members felt worthy of consideration.

A short list of about five works in each category will be announced in mid May and ASFS members will then vote.  The winners will be announced at an online ceremony some time this autumn.

2021 NOVEL LONGLIST

  • Abi Daré — THE GIRL WITH THE LOUDING VOICE 
  • Akwaeke Emezi — THE DEATH OF VIVEK OJI
  • Ben Okri — FREEDOM ARTIST 
  • Cat Hellisen — KING OF THE HOLLOW DARK
  • Eugen Bacon — CLAIMING T-MO 
  • Ilze Hugo — THE DOWN DAYS
  • Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi — THE FIRST WOMAN
  • Lauren Beukes — AFTERLAND 
  • Ngugi wa Thiong’o — THE PERFECT NINE 
  • Nick Wood — WATER MUST FALL
  • Nikhil Singh — CLUB DED 
  • Stephen Embleton — SOUL SEARCHING 
  • Tade Thompson — THE ROSEWATER REDEMPTION 
  • Tochi Onyebuchi — REBEL SISTERS 
  • Yolande Horak — A TRIAL OF SPARKS AND KINDLING

2021 NOVELLA LONGLIST

  • Caldon Mull — FERRYMAN
  • Dare Segun Falowo — CONVERGENCE IN CHORUS ARCHITECTURE
  • Dilman Dila — A FLEDGLING ABIBA 
  • Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald — IFE-IKYOKU: THE TALE OF IMADEYUNUAGBON 
  • Eugen Bacon — IVORY’S STORY
  • Lauren Beukes — UNGIRLS
  • Mame Bougouma Diene – THE SATELLITE CHARMER
  • Moraa Gitaa – THE KIGANGO ORACLE
  • Tlotlo Tsamaase – THE SILENCE OF THE WILTING SKIN
  • Tochi Onyebuchi – RIOT BABY

2021 SHORT STORY LONGLIST

  • Adelehin Ijasan   — THE NOT-SO-SECRET LIVES OF NIGERIAN POLITICIANS
  • Aline-Mwezi Niyonsenga — THAT WHICH SMELLS BAD
  • Alvin Kathembe — THE GAME
  • Chinelo Onwualu — WHAT THE DEAD MAN SAID
  • Chinelo Onwualu — A LOVE SONG FOR HERKINAL AS COMPOSED BY ASHKERNAS AMID THE RUINS OF NEW HAVEN
  • Chinwe Marycynthia Okafor — THE CHRONICAL OF ANAOMA
  • Colin Cloud Dance — SPACE BAKIDE RIDE
  • Dare Segun Falowo — NGOZI UGEGBE NWA
  • Derek Lubangakene — FORT KWAME
  • Derek Lubangakene — THE CULT OF REMINISCENCE
  • Dilman Dila — RED_BATI
  • Dilman Dila — YAT MADIT
  • Eugen Bacon — A VISIT IN WHITE CHAPEL
  • Eugen Bacon — THE ONE WHO SEES
  • Eugen Bacon — THE ROAD TO WOOP WOOP
  • Eugen Bacon — STILL SHE VISITS
  • Innocent Chizaram Ilo — RAT AND FINCH ARE FRIENDS
  • John Barigye — THE RED EARTH
  • Mame Bougouma Diene — LEKKI LEKKI
  • Mandisi Nkomo — DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF CAPITALISM AND SLAVERY
  • Mazi Nwonwu — RAINMAKER
  • Moustapha Mbacké Diop — A CURSE AT MIDNIGHT
  • ‘Pemi Aguda — THINGS BOYS DO
  • ‘Pemi Aguda — MANIFEST
  • Odida Nyabundi — CLANFALL: DEATH OF KINGS
  • Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki — THE MANNEQUIN CHALLENGE
  • Olamide Olanrewaju — BLUELAND
  • Omar William Sow — IBRAHIM AND THE GREEN FISHING NET
  • Osahon Ize-Iyamu — TO LOOK FORWARD
  • Rafeeat Aliyu — WHERE THE RAIN MOTHERS ARE
  • Rafeeat Aliyu — THE DAEMON KING OF ENGLAND
  • Rafeeat Aliyu — FRUIT OF THE CALABASH
  • Rivers Solomon — BLOOD IS ANOTHER WORD FOR HUNGER
  • Sofia Samatar — FAIRY TALES FOR ROBOTS
  • Somto O. Ihezue — WHERE YOU GO
  • Tade Thompson — ORLANDA
  • Tariro Ndoro — THE CURE
  • T L Huchu — EGOLI
  • T L Huchu — CORIALIS
  • Tiah Marie Beautement — THE BEND OF WATER
  • Tlotlo Tsamaase — THOUGHTBOX
  • Tlotlo Tsamaase — RIVER OF NIGHT
  • Tlotlo Tsamaase — BEHIND OUR IRISES
  • Tobi Ogundiran — DRUMMER BOY IN A WORLD
  • Tobi Ogundiran — GUARDIAN OF THE GODS
  • Tobi Ogundiran — THE GOATKEEPER’S HARVEST
  • Shanice Ndlovu — A WATER HEART
  • Shingai Njeri Kagunda — AND THIS IS HOW TO STAY
  • Wole Talabi — TENDS TO ZERO
  • Yvette Lisa Ndlovu — RED CLOTH WHITE GIRAFFE
  • Yvonne Nezianya — THE WONDERS OF SPIRITS

2021 GRAPHIC NOVEL LONGLIST

  • ALEX — Anna Mbale (writer) and Mwiche Songolo (artist) – Black Hut Comics
  • BLACK SHEEP — Mwiche Songolo (writer & artist) – Black Hut Comics
  • MEANWHILE… — Quinto Collab (various writers & artists), MaThoko’s Books, an imprint of GALA Queer Archive
  • MOONGIRLS — Nana Akosua Hanson (writer) AnimaxFYB Studios (art) – Ghana Drama Queens Collective
  • NEW MEN — Murewa Ayodele (writer) and Dotun Akande (artist) – Collectible Comics.
  • TITAN — Mazuba Chimbeza (writer & artist) – Black Hut Comics.

2020 Nommo Awards for Speculative Fiction by Africans

The announcement of the winners for the African Speculative Fiction Society’s 2020 Nommo Awards, which had been rescheduled out of respect for the people injured in the recent protests in Lagos and other Nigerian cities, went ahead in a virtual ceremony on October 25 with awards being presented by Tade Thompson, past winner of the Ilube Nommo Award and the Clarke Award, Chinelo Onwualu, co-founder Omenana Magazine, Mame Bougouma Diene, author and ASFS officer, and Setor Fiadzigbey, co-winner of the 2018 Nommo Award for best comic. 

The 2020 Ilube Nommo Award for Best Novel

  • David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

Voting narrowly gave the victory that work over The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell.

The 2020 Nommo Award for Novella

  • Incompleteness Theories by Wole Talabi

This is his second Nommo Award.  The novella comes from Talabi’s single-author collection Incomplete Solutions.

The 2020 Nommo Award for Short Story

[Tie]

  • “Tiny Bravery” by Ada Nnadi
  • “Sin Eater” by Chikodili Emelumadu

Both stories were published by the Nigeria-based online journal Omenana.

 The 2020 Nommo Award for Graphic Novel/Comic

  • DANFO by Morakinyo Araoye, and Steven Akinyemi (authors) Ogim Ekpezu (artist)  (TAG Comics)

The Nommo Awards were established in 2016.  The roughly 200 published authors and artists who are members of the African Speculative Fiction Society first nominate and then vote for the winners.  The Awards recognize work in the four categories by African creators across multiple genres including fantasy, interstitial fiction, science fiction, spiritual fiction, Afrofuturism, Africanfuturism and horror.

The Ilube Nommo Awards are named after Tom Ilube, CBE who sponsors the prize money for all four awards.  This year additional funding was received via Africa Storybundle from Apex Publications and Shadreck Chikoti.

For a full listing of the short lists and winners of previous Nommos visit the ASFS website

2020 Nommo Awards Delayed

The African Speculative Fiction Society has postponed announcing the winners of the 2020 Nommo Awards for Speculative Fiction by Africans due to the recent violence in Nigeria. The awards were scheduled to be presented October 22 at The Ake Arts & Book Festival held annually in that country, and even though the event has been taken online this year due to the pandemic, the organizers felt it would be inappropriate to proceed with the normal opening ceremonies where the awards are given.  

Geoff Ryman relayed the decision on the ASFS Facebook group page:

The world has stood back in horror (or at least it should have done) at recent events in Nigeria. Out of respect for the people who’ve died, and to revise the Festival so that it deals with pressing issues, there will be no opening ceremony this evening at the Ake Festival, and thus no announcement of the winners of the 2020 Nommo awards. Some events dealing with the pressing issues will go ahead. Please check the Ake Festival website. This must have been a huge decision for the organisers, especially given all the thought and work that went into making Ake a Covid-aware online event. Thoughts to Lola Shoneyin and her staff. More news about when and where the Ake winners will be announced to follow

Taking the place of the Festival’s opening ceremonies are panel discussions such as this one:

A New York Times op-ed says the Nigerian protests began earlier this month in response to a video of police brutality:

On Oct. 3, a video surfaced online that appeared to show the point-blank killing of a Nigerian citizen by officers of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, commonly known as SARS. In the days since the video’s emergence, people across the country, young and some old, have taken to the streets to protest police brutality and call for SARS’s disbandment.

Demonstrations have continued since then, with many deaths. Yesterday’s AP News’s story told about a pair of confrontations that added to the count: “Nigerian forces killed 12 peaceful protesters, Amnesty says”.

Amnesty International said in a report Wednesday that Nigeria’s security forces fired upon two large gatherings of peaceful protesters Tuesday night, killing 12 people calling for an end to police brutality.

At least 56 people have died during two weeks of widespread demonstrations against police violence, including 38 on Tuesday, the group said. The Nigerian government did not immediately comment about Amnesty International’s allegations.

The #EndSARS protests began amid calls for Nigeria’s government to close the police Special Anti-Robbery Squad, known as SARS, but has become a much wider demand for better governance in Nigeria.

Despite the growing violence, the Nigerian protesters defied a curfew and faced off with security forces Wednesday as gunfire rang out and fires burned in Lagos, a day after shots were fired into a crowd of demonstrators singing the country’s national anthem.

The security forces opened fire without warning on the protesters Tuesday night at the Lekki toll plaza, Amnesty said in its report, citing eyewitnesses, video footage and hospital reports.

… President Muhammadu Buhari — who has said little about the protests engulfing his country — did not mention the Lekki shootings in a statement Wednesday but issued a call for calm and vowed police reforms.

Buhari’s statement said the dissolution of the SARS unit “is the first step in a set of reform policies that will deliver a police system accountable to the Nigerian people.”

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday that the right of Nigerians “to protest peacefully needs to be guaranteed.”

He said “police brutality needs to stop, and those responsible for acts of such dramatic violence are made accountable.”

The Ake Arts & Book Festival is tweeting comments from writers and musicians about the crisis — several dozen messages can be read at the link.