Find me at the #KeepitOn Summit at RightsCon (March 29-31)

For the past few years, I’ve been helping lead a fight against internet shutdowns — when governments intentionally disrupt the internet. The #KeepitOn campaign features over 100 organizations from more than 50 countries who are pushing back against this phenomenon. I’ll be chairing the #KeepitOn Summit at my organization Access Now’s annual conference, RightsCon. This year we’ll have 1300 people from 90+ countries attending. Hope to see you there.

Here’s an excerpt:

The #KeepItOn Summit at RightsCon Brussels (March 29-31) — the first dedicated convening in the world to explore internet shutdowns — is a special 3-day track that aims to produce real-world outcomes. The internet community already has made great strides in pushing back against internet shutdowns through the #KeepItOn campaign. The United Nations Human Rights Council unequivocally condemned internet shutdowns in June 2016. The multistakeholder organization Global Network Initiative — which includes companies such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft — has also spoken out against the practice. The GSMA, one of the largest technology associations in the world, issued strict guidelines, and two major economic studies by Deloitte and the Brookings Institution have shed light on the terrible cost of disruptions to societies. But there is much more to be done, and we invite you to contribute.

Speaking at New America with NASA, Virgin Galactic on March 8

I’ll be speaking at the New America foundation about efforts to go to Mars, competition, and science fiction. There will be several extraordinary guests, including the CEO of Virgin Galactic, George Whitesides, and the former Lead Scientist at NASA.

In April this year, my essay on equity in space exploration will appear in a joint NASA / Slate: Future Tense book. More on that soon.

Click here to read more and RSVP

New! Pre-order my novel After the Flare

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I’m thrilled to announce that my new novel, After the Flare, is available for pre-Order on Amazon from Unnamed Press.

Order it on Amazon | Order it on Indiebound

From the cover:

A catastrophic solar flare reshapes our world order as we know it – in an instant, electricity grids are crippled, followed by devastating cyberattacks that paralyze all communication. Kwesi Bracket is an industrial engineer who works for NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab, running space-walk simulations for astronauts. When the flare hits, his life quickly disintegrates – he loses his job and his wife leaves him, forcing him to take care of his daughter by himself. Meanwhile, America slowly descends into chaos as people turn inward to protect themselves.

Bracket soon discovers that Nigeria operates the only functioning space program in the world, which is recruiting scientists to launch a daring rescue mission to save a famous astronaut stranded aboard the International Space Station. With Europe, Asia, and the U.S. knocked off-line, and thousands of dead satellites about to plummet to Earth, Bracket heads to Kano in Northeastern Nigeria. But what he finds there is anything but normal. In the aftermath of the flare, the country has been flooded with advanced biohacking technologies, and the scramble for space supremacy has attracted dangerous peoples from all over Africa. What’s more: the militant Islamic group Boko Haram is slowly encroaching on the spaceport, leaving a trail of destruction, while a group of nomads has discovered an ancient technology more powerful than anything he’s ever imagined.

With the clock ticking down, Bracket – helped by a brilliant scientist from India and an eccentric lunar geologist – must confront the looming threats to the spaceport in order to launch a harrowing rescue mission into space. In this sequel to Nigerians in Space, Deji Bryce Olukotun poses deep questions about technology, international ambition, identity, and space exploration in the 21st century.

Pre-orders make a huge impact on sales and reviews. By buying After the Flare in advance, you’re voting for a different kind of literature and sci-fi — one that I hope you’ll find entertaining and challenging.

Order it on Amazon | Order it on Indiebound

The changing faces of science fiction: notes from my event with PEN America

Thanks to PEN America for hosting a thought-provoking event at KGB Bar. Over the course of two hours, I joined Maria Dahvana Headley (the Magonia trilogy) and Haris Durrani (Technologies of the Self) for a fascinating discussion about science fiction and fantasy.

We discussed African, Queer, and Muslim perspectives on writing, including what excites us and terrifies us as authors. I especially enjoyed their thoughts on world-building, which as a writer is one of the most enjoyable and difficult aspects of crafting a speculative fiction story. You’ll be able to find the rich catalog of stories we referenced during our discussion on the event page at Pen.org. And I recommend you check out Maria and Haris’s stories. They’re good.

Lead photo credit by Bayo Olukotun

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photo credit: PEN America