Afrofuturism Short Stories: Black Sci Fi Short Stories

Afrofuturism short stories often deal with African-American diaspora culture and themes in the context of science fiction, fantasy or speculative fiction. Common themes include identity, displacement, social justice, history, spirituality and the future of Black people. Elements in Afrofuturism include alternate or reimagined histories, racism, mysticism, challenging stereotypes and futuristic technology. The term “Afrofuturism” was coined in 1994 but some stories written before that also fit the category. See also:

Afrofuturism Short Stories

“Sister Lilith” by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

Sister Lilith and Adam are born at the same time. Their eyes are closed when they come out of the dirt, and they gradually open them to the brightness. They feel cold. A voice announces their names and tells them they’re together. Lilith relates what happened between her and Adam.

This story can be read in the sample of Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora. (17% in)

“The Comet” by W. E. B. Du Bois

Jim is a black man working as a messenger for a New York bank. Everyone is talking about a comet. The bank president sends Jim into the filthy and dangerous vaults to find two missing volumes of records. While he’s down there, there’s a great crash and the door slams shut.

This story can also be read in the above sample of Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora. (25% in)

“Chicago 1927” by Jewelle Gomez

Gilda has been going to a club every weekend to hear Lydia Redmond sing. She’d been able to arrange a meeting with her by planting the thought in the mind of the owner, Benny, who treats her like family. Although she’s eighty, she looks young. She was born on a plantation in Mississippi and received her gift from a woman named Bird, who taught her to exchange something for the blood she took. Gilda walks out into the night to feed.

This story can also be read in the above sample of Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora. (55% in)

“The Ones Who Stay and Fight” by N. K. Jemisin

It’s the Day of Good Birds in the city of Um-Helat, where everyone is happy. Decorations of feathers and wings are seen all over. The beliefs of the citizens vary, and all are honored. They speak many languages and have various backgrounds. They all care for each other. They know what needs to be done to make the world a better place, and they’re practical enough to do it.

This is the first story in the preview of How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? (25% into preview)

“The City Born Great” by N. K. Jemisin

A homeless, black man stands on a rooftop and yells—singing to the cityscape. As he leaves, he hears something basso-deep that feels both distant and intimate. He also hears a growl that could be police sirens. Later, he meets Paolo at a café, who buys him breakfast. Paolo is trying to explain something important about the city, but the man doesn’t care. A cop comes in but doesn’t seem to notice him. He takes off.

This is the second story in the above preview of How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? (50% into preview)

“Caramelle 1864” by Jewelle Gomez

The narrator and her father live on a New England farm. Their place is a rest stop for people fleeing slavery in the south. Years earlier, the father, Solomon fled slavery. He scans the road for the sign. They’re getting visitors tonight, whom they refer to as Cousins. They’ve heard lots of stories of what their guests have been through.

This story can be read in the preview of Black from the Future: A Collection of Black Speculative Fiction(12% in)

“The Night Has No Eyes” by Kivel Carson

The narrator gets a flat on the side of the road. They walk to a convenience store where four men are hanging out. The clerk needs a five dollar purchase to allow a phone call and needs ID for the purchase. While picking out some junk food, someone else enters the store. The narrator assumes the men have called someone to make the visit worse. Instead, there’s screaming.

“I Left My Heart in Skaftafell” by Victor LaValle

A Black man from America is traveling through Iceland alone. He came because he likes the cold, and to avoid marriage back home. Although the Icelanders like him well enough, he’s not paid too much attention. The Africans don’t acknowledge him at all. He notices a man-sized troll on the bus, who seems to be following him around.

This story can be found in Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond.

“Don’t Go There” by Tracy Cross

At bedtime, a little girl tells the babysitter not to go into the basement. Her dad keeps the door locked because monsters live down there. The girl wants her room checked out before she goes to sleep.

This story can be read in the preview of Midnight & Indigo: Twenty-Two Speculative Stories by Black Women Writers. (27% in)

I’ll keep adding Black sci-fi and Afrofuturism short stories as I find more.