New Short Fiction for Afrofuturism Readers

In the early 2000s, I released some hip hop music called “Rise of the G33K5. It seemed like I was frequently asked what “G-3-3-K-5” stood for or what it meant. (It was just my way of saying I was a geek, an awkward outcast easily ignored but a hidden gem as well). Many who heard the material were happily pleased with the production and the melodies, but they did not know how to describe my music. At the time, I considered it to be a form of “alternative hip hop.” In hindsight, one could say it was a form of sci-fi fantasy or maybe even afrofuturism when compared to the likes of visionary Janelle Monae’s early works or even legendary musicians George Clinton and the Funkadelics. Recently, at a book fair, a customer observed that even our images in the children’s book Daddy, Where Do the animals on the Train Go? Book One possessed a hint of these speculative fiction genres.

Gee-whiz! I was doing my best to keep the art grounded and not too spectacular.

The transition did not happen quickly, but ever since I “put the mic down” (as we say in the hip hop culture) and used my pen and paper for writing and drawing stories, I find myself playing in this sandbox yet again. This time it’s on a bigger canvas (or terrain, whichever pun you prefer). “About Those Slaowf-Backs” is a part of “MUSE: A Story Sketch Collection,” a series of sci-fi fantasy micro-flash and flash fiction. These short narratives are for a mature audience and not for the faint of heart. I am speaking directly towards systems of oppression and its effects on the psyche of its receivers. At the same time, I do not wish to remain in dread. I think the beauty of our darkest times is that it gives us hard-earned lessons that we can use to better ourselves and helps us to appreciate the sunrise that much more. In this regard, it is my intention to show what life could be like for humanity and our ecological system through the lens of wonder and the fantastic. Specifically, “About Those Slaowf-Backs” is about a hard-working prison officer looking to earn some extra money after hours in a desolate land. He accepts a simple job assignment that turns into a life-altering mission.

“About Those Slaowf-Backs” is available for purchase at our online store. Let us know what you think after a read.

(Read more about afrofuturism at the Smithsonian Magazine’s article by Shauntay Robinson and explore some of the museum’s past exhibit here).

This article contains artwork from Microsoft Office’s Creative Commons library.

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