Chinelo Onwualu and I started Omenana magazine in 2014 to give writers of speculative fiction from Africa and the African diaspora a platform run by people who understand the world they are coming from.
When we started, we didn't know the platform would become what it became and we remain immensely grateful for the writers who send their stories to us.
We have published people from across the continent and beyond. For a magazine that started life as a conversation between two people that share a love for the speculative, that's something we are proud of.
The magazine continues to hold immense promise for growth, one that we hope to tap into and expand our reach and perhaps influence.
We've always wanted Omenana to be a physical entity, a book, or a magazine. The kind you hold and feel the texture of the leaves and the tingly scent of fresh paper and ink.
Even when designing the downloadable e-magazine, we took care of dimensions and content placement, such that today, you can take a pdf of Omenana to the press and get a perfectly designed hard copy.
Another dream was to have a yearly anthology of selected stories from the four editions we had planned for each year.
There is that thing that is said about dreams – as long as you keep having them, they will eventually come to fruition. Well, this belief in dreams coming true perhaps (which I just made up) truthfully refers to our dream to have an Omenana anthology, which came true enough for you to be holding it in your hands today as an ebook.
The stories in this anthology are as diverse as their authors are and should give anyone just discovering the richness of Africa's speculative fiction community a fine idea of what we have to offer.
Omenana till infinity!
"Omenana magazine stands as one of the foundation platforms for African SF and this anthology is a fantastic cross-section of the excellent works they have published."– Ivor W. Hartmann
Your name is Asake and you can tell that you are being taken south because the wind is in your face and the clayey redness of the soil is slowly becoming a yellow sandiness. The soil is all you see. Everything else is a blur.
You scream for help in desperate, high-pitched shrieks but it seems there is no one willing to save you. Desperation claws at your belly like unanswered hunger.
You remember that you had only stopped walking briefly, pausing as you navigated your way back from your mother's farm at the place where the Imu and Buse pathways met. You'd paused to make the seemingly mundane choice of which route to take when a powerful arm suddenly wrapped itself around your torso, hoisted you onto a sturdy shoulder and began to run. A moment was all it took.
Screaming even louder, you consider that you did not really need to go to the farm today, or any other day for that matter. There was no need for the daughter of the great hunter Ajiboyede, the niece of the Baale of Olubuse, to go to the farms - your family has never lacked anything. Your father's lands begin along the banks of river Elebiesu and run all the way down to Olubuse's limits where great big trees stand like soldiers guarding your uncle's territory. But you went anyway because you like to work with your hands, you enjoy the feel of soil beneath your feet and you relish the sight of verdant life around you. You decided to go to the farm today because the quiet beauty of the rising sun at dawn had spread over the sky, cloudless and taut like a drum skin and called to you. You went seeking nature's touch.
Now, you are being carried along a snaking pathway carved into the reeds that stand beside the river like a loyal spouse - a path that takes you far away from home. You writhe and wrestle and fight with all the might you can muster but it is futile. The hands that have you are iron and do not loosen their grip. You remember the stories that sad visitors from nearby villages would sometimes tell of children who had been kidnapped and sold to strange men from faraway lands, and you wonder if this is what is happening to you. Just then the wind carries the unmistakable briny tang of the ocean air to your nose.
You scream louder.