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Nnedi Okorafor and Lauren Beukes on Damien Walter’s List of Best Young Speculative Fiction Novelists

In light of Granta choosing their Best of Young British Novelists 2013, Damien Walter has picked his top young speculative fiction novelists in a column for The Guardian.

Who Fears DeathThe Shining GirlsZoo City (SA edition)

Lauren Beukes gets the first mention in Walter’s column for Zoo City and The Shining Girls and Nigerian-American Nnedi Okorafor is also included for Who Fears Death. They join an impressive group of writers including China Miéville and Chuck Wendig.

The relationship between the literary and speculative fiction genres is like the episode of original Star Trek where Captain Kirk is teleported in to an evil, parallel dimension. Both genres have their own star authors, publishers, and of course literary accolades. (Which genre requires that you assassinate your rivals to advance is for you to decide.) Granta’s lists of 20 novelists under 40 – American, Spanish-language, Brazilian and most famously the British contingent – being renewed for 2013 this week – have become an institution in literary fiction. SF has no direct equivalent, but if it did, who might be on it?

Two things connect the 20 writers on this list. The first is a fascination with the weird and fantastic. The second is their love and affection for the pulp roots of SF. One or two may be just a smidgeon over 40, but will no doubt be among the writers shaping speculative fiction for decades to come. And I have looked beyond Britain where I can to find the most interesting voices in what is increasingly an international SF genre.

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Images courtesy Nnedi and Kagablog


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