restricted access The Great Change and the Great Book: Nnedi Okorafor’s Postcolonial, Post-Apocalyptic Africa and the Promise of Black Speculative Fiction

In the introduction to her edited anthology So Long Been Dreaming (2004), Nalo Hopkinson argues that postcolonial voices must engage with speculative fiction. While the genre has a long and deeply problematic history of depicting conquest and colonialism as glorious enterprises, Hopkinson rather suggests that speculative fiction can offer unique and invaluable opportunities for representing the colonial, postcolonial, and neocolonial conditions. Accordingly, says Hopkinson, postcolonial writers must “take the meme of colonizing the natives, and, from the experience of the colonizee, critique it, pervert it, fuck with it” (9). In her novels The Shadow Speaker (2007) and Who Fears Death (2010), Nnedi Okorafor does just this. Her imagined post-apocalyptic Africa allows her to explore the idea of a truly postcolonial Africa, free from neocolonial bonds. This essay critically examines Okorafor’s new conception of postcolonialism as enabled by the form of speculative fiction, and it explores how her imagined Africa contests our understanding of what “postcolonial” means.