Major film company options After the Flare and Nigerians in Space

I’m thrilled to announce that my novels After the Flare and Nigerians in Space were optioned by a major film company! This milestone is a huge vote of confidence in my writing, along with my 2018 Philip K. Dick Special Citation for After the Flare.

At the moment I can’t disclose too many details, but watch this space. The best way to help get my work onto the big screen is to buy my books, enjoy them, and tell your friends.

Thanks to everyone who has helped make this moment come to fruition — you know who you are.

After the Flare travels to Antarctica

After the Flare is in Antarctica! I was thrilled to learn that musician, science educator, and scuba diver Henry Kaiser has read the novel.

Henry’s note feels serendipitous, because I had seen a documentary by Werner Herzog called Encounters at the End of the World that featured him and his work with Weddell seals. Even weirder, at my event at the New America foundation in early November, I discussed Antarctica with Astrobiologist Lucianne Walkowicz — who herself was featured in a Werner Herzog documentary.

Henry’s work is diverse and inspiring. He has collaborated with leading musicians all over the world. To learn more about his extraordinary encounters with Weddell seals beneath the sea ice, you can watch his short talk here online over at Ink Talks.

All photos by Henry Kaiser

Book tour dates announced for After the Flare

It’s happening! My book tour kicks off at the Brooklyn Book Festival, with author NK Jemisin — who just won the Hugo Award for best science fiction novel for the second year running. You can also join me at official launch at Greenlight Books on October 3.

Tour Dates 

Brooklyn Book Festival

with NK Jemisin, Malka Older, and Eugene Lim

Sunday, September 17, Brooklyn, NY

Book Launch at Greenlight Books

in conversation with Yinka Adegoke, editor of Quartz Africa

Tuesday, October 3rd, Brooklyn, NY

Changing Hands Bookstore

with Joey Esrich, Center for Science and the Imagination

Thursday, October 19, Tempe, Arizona

Future Tense / New America

with Lucianne Walkowicz, Astrobiology Chair at the Library of Congress

Wednesday, November 8, 6pm, Washington, DC

Texas Book Festival

Saturday, November 4, Austin, TX

Yale University

November 28, New Haven, CT

More tour dates to come!

After the Flare gets starred review in Kirkus

I was psyched to receive a great positive review of After the Flare in Kirkus Reviews:

Olukotun manages these complex threads of story with a wily grace, weaving them into a surprising and briskly paced plot while also reveling in an abundance of inventive, vivid detail. In this version of Nigeria, a fascination with tribal identity exists alongside new technological devices that bring together animals and computer technology—geckolike phones, a malicious hacking spider—and a complicated monetary system that combines cowrie shells with block chains.

The book comes out in September. You can pre-order it here (Amazon) and here (Independent bookstore).

Future Perfect – takeaways from a fascinating event on sci-fi and policy

On Friday, I joined Data & Society’s Future Perfect conference, which aimed to explore “the use, significance, and discontents of speculative design, narrative, and world-building in technology, policy, and culture.”

This seemingly broad and ambitious agenda took shape through several fascinating presentations and conversations with writers, academics, critics, technologists, and academics.

For my part, I spoke about the apparent contradictions I encountered when writing my new novel After the Flare (Unnamed Press, September 2017) in a country where nomads and space technology co-exist. I also delved into how my work as a digital rights activist at Access Now informed the technology and questions I pose in the thriller, which is mostly set in the U.S. and Nigeria.

Here are some takeaways from the conference, in random order:

  • Ada Cable, a trans scholar, spotlighted several pioneering trans creators of games and narratives. She argued that trans people, by their experience, can break boundaries into new realms of thought and creativity, particularly with respect to the body. Nonetheless, she observed that trans people are often paid to explain their work to non-trans audiences, but are rarely paid to present to trans audiences. I think this criticism applies to African literature and Africa-based science fiction as well.
  • Joanna Radin presented a fascinating paper about how Michael Crichton’s influence on science and technology is under appreciated, not just within fiction but upon the development of science. I nodded throughout her talk as a Crichton fan — I wrote an extensive essay that was published in The New York Review of Science Fiction entitled How to Create Your Own Jurassic Park.
  • Farai Chideya discussed her explorations at Harvard and MIT Media Lab on how speculative fiction informs science policy in the Trump era.
  • Jillian Crandall analyzed the architectures of the video game Horizon Zero Dawn, featuring a matriarchal society thriving in a planet infested by A.I. robots. The game visually depicts a computer virus as a red, ropy infestation. (In After the Flare, I visualize a zero day attack through the use of a biomimetic machine.)
  • Alexander Huggins presented a very interesting analysis of the musician Brian Eno and Muzak, noting how music can shape our experience of physical environments. (Again, music plays a big role in After the Flare, with a lead character who is a vibroacoustic engineer.)
  • Ava Kofman gave a thoughtful analysis of the films Robocop and Minority Report, and explored how these seemingly dystopian films have actually inspired the Taser company in the design of its offices and also its stun-gun and wearable body camera technologies used by police.

There were many more compelling conversations and presentations, so this is just a small sampling. You can watch the video of the conference here. Kate Ray also posted this excellent Tweet that compiles the books, games, and movies discussed throughout the day. (Click through to Twitter to read the full list of recommendations, since she replied to her own Tweet to compile the list.)

Thanks to Data & Society, and particularly Ingrid Burrington (author of Networks of New York), who hosted and curated this enriching, diverse event.

Featured image by Mac Rebisz http://maciejrebisz.com/.