For Black History Month and beyond, we aim to #AmplifyBlackStories by increasing visibility for Black authors of excellence in all genres. Check out this list of must-read Sci-Fi and Fantasy books by Black authors who have created and imagined new worlds and futures.


Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

The epic novel, an African Game of Thrones, from the Man Booker Prize-winning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings. In the stunning first novel in Marlon James’s Dark Star trilogy, myth, fantasy, and history come together to explore what happens when a mercenary is hired to find a missing child.

Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: “He has a nose,” people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.

As Tracker follows the boy’s scent—from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers—he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?

Drawing from African history and mythology and his own rich imagination, Marlon James has written a novel unlike anything that’s come before it: a saga of breathtaking adventure that’s also an ambitious, involving read. Defying categorization and full of unforgettable characters, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is both surprising and profound as it explores the fundamentals of truth, the limits of power, and our need to understand them both.

Available in Hardcover, eBook, Audio, and Large Print Editions.

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The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson

A young woman living in a rigid, puritanical society discovers dark powers within herself in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut.

In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.

But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.

Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.

Available in Hardcover, eBook, and Audio Editions.

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The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

An outsider who can travel between worlds discovers a secret that threatens the very fabric of the multiverse in this stunning debut, a powerful examination of identity, privilege, and belonging.

Multiverse travel is finally possible, but there’s just one catch: No one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive. Enter Cara, whose parallel selves happen to be exceptionally good at dying—from disease, turf wars, or vendettas they couldn’t outrun. Cara’s life has been cut short on 372 worlds in total.

On this dystopian Earth, however, Cara has survived. Identified as an outlier and therefore a perfect candidate for multiverse travel, Cara is plucked from the dirt of the wastelands. Now what once made her marginalized has finally become an unexpected source of power. She has a nice apartment on the lower levels of the wealthy and walled-off Wiley City. She works—and shamelessly flirts—with her enticing yet aloof handler, Dell, as the two women collect off-world data for the Eldridge Institute. She even occasionally leaves the city to visit her family in the wastes, though she struggles to feel at home in either place. So long as she can keep her head down and avoid trouble, Cara is on a sure path to citizenship and security.

But trouble finds Cara when one of her eight remaining doppelgängers dies under mysterious circumstances, plunging her into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and her future in ways she could have never imagined—and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world but the entire multiverse.

Available in Hardcover, eBook, and Audio Editions.

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The Changeling by Victor LaValle

“[This] haunting tale weaves a mesmerizing web around fatherhood, racism, horrific anxieties and even To Kill a Mockingbird. And the backdrop for this rich phantasmagoria? The boroughs of New York.”—The New York Times

When Apollo Kagwa’s father disappeared, he left his son a box of books and strange recurring dreams. Now Apollo is a father himself—and as he and his wife, Emma, settle into their new lives as parents, exhaustion and anxiety start to take their toll. Apollo’s old dreams return and Emma begins acting odd. At first Emma seems to be exhibiting signs of postpartum depression. But before Apollo can do anything to help, Emma commits a horrific act and vanishes. Thus begins Apollo’s quest to find a wife and child who are nothing like he’d imagined. His odyssey takes him to a forgotten island, a graveyard full of secrets, a forest where immigrant legends still live, and finally back to a place he thought he had lost forever.

Available in Trade Paperback, eBook, and Audio Editions.

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Listen to a Clip from the Audiobook.


Octavia E. Butler: Kindred, Fledgling, Collected Stories by Octavia

The definitive edition of the complete works of the “grand dame” of American science fiction begins with this volume gathering two novels and her collected stories.

An original and eerily prophetic writer, Octavia E. Butler used the conventions of science fiction to explore the dangerous legacy of racism in America in harrowingly personal terms. She broke new ground with books that featured complex Black female protagonists—“I wrote myself in,” she would later recall—establishing herself as one of thepioneers of the Afrofuturist aesthetic. In 1995 she became the first science fiction writer to receive a MacArthur Fellowship, in recognition of her achievement in creating new aspirations for the genre and for American literature.

This first volume in the Library of America edition of Butler’s collected works opens with her masterpiece, Kindred, one of the landmark American novels of the last half century. Its heroine, Dana, a Black woman, is pulled back and forth between the present and the pre–Civil War past, where she finds herself enslaved on the plantation of a white ancestor whose life she must save to preserve her own. In Fledgling, an amnesiac discovers that she is a vampire, with a difference: she is a new, experimental birth with brown skin, giving her the fearful ability to go out in sunlight. Rounding out the volume are eight short stories and five essays—including two never before collected, plus a newly researched chronology of Butler’s life and career and helpful explanatory notes prepared by scholar Gerry Canavan. Butler’s friend, the writer and editor Nisi Shawl, provides an introduction.

Available in Hardcover.


For Teens and Young Adults:

Minecraft: The Crash: An Official Minecraft Novel by Tracey Baptiste

This official Minecraft novel is an action-packed thriller! When a new virtual-reality version of the game brings her dreams—and doubts—to life, one player must face her fears.

Bianca has never been good at following the plan. She’s more of an act-now, deal-with-the-consequences-later kind of person. But consequences can’t be put off forever, as Bianca learns when she and her best friend, Lonnie, are in a terrible car crash.

Waking up in the hospital, almost paralyzed by her injuries, Bianca is faced with questions she’s not equipped to answer. She chooses instead to try a new virtual-reality version of Minecraft that responds to her every wish, giving her control over a world at the very moment she thought she’d lost it. As she explores this new realm, she encounters a mute, glitching avatar she believes to be Lonnie. Bianca teams up with Esme and Anton, two kids who are also playing on the hospital server, to save her friend.

But the road to recovery isn’t without its own dangers. The kids are swarmed by mobs seemingly generated by their fears and insecurities, and now Bianca must deal with the uncertainties that have been plaguing her: Is Lonnie really in the game? And can Bianca help him return to reality?

Available in Hardcover, Trade Paperback, eBook, and Audio Editions.

Click to Read an Excerpt.

Click for a Teacher’s Guide.

Listen to a Clip from the Audiobook.


The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

In this world, girls are outcasts by blood and warriors by choice. Get ready for battle.

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity—and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki—near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be—not even Deka herself.

Available in Hardcover, eBook, and Audio Editions.

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Listen to a Clip from the Audiobook.


Rebel Sisters by Tochi Onyebuchi

In the epic, action-packed sequel to the novel War Girls, the battles are over, but the fight for justice has just begun.

It’s been five years since the Biafran War ended. Ify is now nineteen and living where she’s always dreamed–the Space Colonies. She is a respected, high-ranking medical officer and has dedicated her life to helping refugees like herself rebuild in the Colonies.

Back in the still devastated Nigeria, Uzo, a young synth, is helping an aid worker, Xifeng, recover images and details of the war held in the technology of destroyed androids. Uzo, Xifeng, and the rest of their team are working to preserve memories of the many lives lost, despite the government’s best efforts to eradicate any signs that the war ever happened.

Though they are working toward common goals of helping those who suffered, Ify and Uzo are worlds apart. But when a mysterious virus breaks out among the children in the Space Colonies, their paths collide. Ify makes it her mission to figure out what’s causing the deadly disease. And doing so means going back to the homeland she thought she’d left behind forever.

Available in Hardcover, eBook, and Audio Editions.

Click to Read an Excerpt.

Listen to a Clip from the Audiobook.


Check Out More Books That #AmplifyBlackStories in:

Women’s History
Historical Fiction


 

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