CFP: ALT 39 Speculative/Science Fiction

Guest Editors: Chimalum Nwankwo & Louisa Uchum Egbunike

Articles should not exceed 5,000 words, and should be submitted as a word document to Guest-Editor: Chimalum Nwankwo ( and Series Editor: Ernest N. Emenyonu ( on or before September 30, 2020. Books for review should be sent (2 copies) to the Book Reviews Editor, Obi Nwakanma, English Department, University of Central Florida, 4000 Central Florida Blvd, Orlando, FL 32816. Book reviews not exceeding 2000 words are also invited for the REVIEWS SECTION and should be submitted as a word document, on or before September 30, 2020 to:

Call For Papers

In ancient Greece, The hierophants of Apollo drank from the sacred spring of Colophon for the efficacy of their rituals. The water, supposedly came from the tears of the goddess who wept for Thebes. Vitruvius was a mystic, so was Pythagoras. There were no Universities where theories were spawned or spun for the clarities of science or the ontologies or epistemologies which drove what historians regard as the glory of Rome or Greece. It was a world of speculation and rational or empirical projection. The medieval darkness of the West relied extensively on lights from what one may call advanced speculations and inchoate rational projections, on proto-sciences like alchemy and Metempsychosis. Eighteenth century enlightenment epistemology powered the familiar advances which are generally taken for granted today. It is necessary to keep all that trajectory in sight or in mind while laboring to understand the African mind and its deeper foundational drivers. A lot of those drivers are quite visible in the complex architectures of a lot of modern African literatures. How can one read and fully appreciate Chinua Achebe without the Igbo pragmatism which defines the imaginative kinship with novels in Igbo language such as Pita Nwana’s Omenuko (1933) and Leopold Bell-Gam’s Ije Odumodu Jere (1963)?

And how can one fully appreciate Wole Soyinka’s complex and intriguing Yoruba Ogun-ism without affirming its kinship with D.O.Fagunwa’s classic novel (1938) in Yoruba language--Ogboji Ode ninu Igbo Irunmale (The Forest of a Thousand Daemons: A Hunter’s Saga)? The deep past of African world and its complex and mysterious foundations still register in burgeoning modern African Literary productions. It would be hard to believe that literary criticism has exhausted those strands in the makings of the magical design of Okiri’s The Famished Road, Syl-Cheney Coker’s The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunar or indeed, Achebe’s Arrow of God, Soyinka’s Madmen and Specialists and Gabriel Okara’s esoteric The Voice. But while we look back through the gamut of history, the present generation should also engage our critical lens and attention because their works too, bubble with intense mental adventurism. Writers including Nnedi Okorafor, Namwali Serpell, Tendai Huchu, Akwaeke Emezi, and Tomi Adeyemi are but a few examples. Recent discussions around the “rise of science-fiction and fantasy” in Africa have led to a push-back in which writers and scholars have suggested that science fiction/ fantasy is not a new phenomenon in African literature. The need to recalibrate ways of reading and categorizing literature has underpinned suggestions that African classics such as Amos Tutuola’s The Palmwine Drinkard (1952), Buchi Emecheta’s The Rape of Shavi (1983) and Kojo Laing’s Woman of the Aeroplanes (1988) are read as part of the continent’s tradition in writing speculative/science fiction. In recent years, debates have ensued about the appropriateness of the term ‘Afrofuturism’ in relation to African writing, given that it is a term which invokes a particular cultural aesthetic and tradition rooted in African speculative arts. One of the impulses for this special issue of ALT  is to explore the ways in which we approach the study of speculative works, thinking through our use of language, terminology and the genealogy of these works.

      For this special issue of ALT the Editor invites:

  • articles that examine contemporary works of speculative/science fiction
  • articles that offer re-readings of African classics
  • articles that invite discussions around appropriate terminology and language in the analysis of these works
  • articles that examine the trajectories or traditions in African writing centering on speculative/science fiction
  • articles that examine the deep past of the African world and its complex and mysterious
  • foundations as well as the functions, purposes or lineaments of imaginative construction and its expression whether as speculative or science fiction.
  • interviews with writers of African speculative/science fiction