Jonathan Dotse – Afrocyberpunk

In the mid 1980s I was devouring every piece of cyberpunk I could lay my hands on, reading William Gibson novels back to back for a few years in a row, so I felt a fizz of memory when – prompted by a Tweet from Hue & Cry/The Play Ethic’s Pat Kane - I stumbled on this little bit of prose from newbie blogger at Afrocyberpunk -  Jonathan Dotse, who’s working on a new cyberpunk novel set in Accra, Ghana.

It’s only a short piece, but so good I just wanted to share it in full.

Should be interesting to see how things develop for the talented Mr Dotse

Welcome to Africa.

You are not where you think you are. You are not on a safari, or an expedition, or a mission. Your footprint is not the first here, nor will it be the last. Africa is a tour with no guide and no schedule, a ride with no stops, no brakes, and no particular destination – there isn’t even a plan – so don’t bother booking a return trip; just go with the flow. If you are still looking for African science fiction, I advise you to put away your camera and open your eyes.

Africa is science fiction.

Not the science fiction of your grandfather or the Foundation of your Asimov, no. Africa lends herself to the dystopian gloom of failed states, the iron rule of corruption, cartels snaking cold fingers into the upper echelons of government, and high tech gangs of disillusioned youth. Follow her streets into dark melancholy and taste her despair, the bitter and the sweet simmering together to form her unique flavor. Follow the trails of waste spilling out from her gutters, follow them down to the banks of her industrial empires, her charred forests, and damp mines. You will not find your Jedi warriors here, but you might run into some street thugs or hackers, scammers, drug dealers, con men and women, street children, ritual murderers, street evangelists preaching hope and doom. The only Force here is hard currency, and it’s dark on both sides. Embrace her reality.

Africa is cyberpunk.

What wonders only Africa has seen since she gave us our crawling legs, released us from her nurturing arms to roam the wide outer world, soar up into the sky, the galaxies, and conquer the universe. She has always waited for us to return with our stories of voyages far and wide to add to her rich legacy. Bring her your stories. She will listen. Stand in the city streets or in the market, on the buses and trains, in the towns and villages, and broadcast your story out loud into the networks; fuel the pulse of life surging through the dense grid of veins all around you. Africa is waiting for you, because you are the future of African science fiction.

Welcome to Africa.

As an added bonus, some random Afrocyberpunk Googling for research led me to

Man…there’s a whole world of wonderfulness there…

HT to for Koranteng Ofosu-Amaah the Accra image.

3 Responses to “Jonathan Dotse – Afrocyberpunk”

  1. Chris May 7, 2010 at 9:29 AM #

    That sounds like the intro to a fantastic story – shame he’s describing some real situations!

    Speaking of cyberpunk – I’m absolutely fascinated by Kowloon Walled City, which was apparently the inspiration for the market scenes in Blade Runner. Shame it was all demolished… I’d love to have seen it for myself.

  2. Johnny Laird May 10, 2010 at 6:04 PM #

    Yeah..I was looking at some pics of HK over the weekend, and there are still some really Bladerunnerish vistas around the place.

    I’m glad that a little dialog has started on the Afrocyberpunk site – lots of comments on the first post there.


  1. The Afrocyberpunk Interview | johnnylaird - July 28, 2010

    [...] this year I blogged about a fresh young writer who was making waves as a writer in the cyberpunk genre. I’ve been keen to find out more about Jonathan Dotse and his Accra, Ghana-based work. Recently I [...]

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