Hadithi [n. fable, story] is a new hybrid birthed from the collaboration of two writers with heritage in the African diaspora.
It features seven short stories of ancestry, soul, continuity, discontinuity as well as steampunk, cyberfunk and a dieselfunk superhero story set in the '20s, together with a scholarly dialogue on the global state of black speculative fiction. Hadithi offers the kind of afrofuturistic diversity you might expect from a duality of curious writers unafraid to cross the borders of normalcy.
Both a treatise on Black SF and a collection of powerful stories by the two authors, this is a book you really must have! – Lavie Tidhar
"Hadithi is many wonderous things including a journey into black ancestry… This collection is political, blackness centred by black writers. They push beyond boundaries, their writing cannot be pinned down or simply indexed as otherworldly; they are restating their genre, rewriting history and the future."– BooksfromScotland
"This book is a combination of an enlightening essay and seven rewarding stories. The first part… highlights black speculative fiction as a new brand of writing that is well-crafted to subvert the expectations of open-minded and inquisitive readers… The beauty of Hadithi lies in the skilfully developed characters and their unique voices."– MeharaLit
"Eugen Bacon and Milton Davis come together for Hadithi & The State of Speculative Black Fiction to share a compelling addition to the commentaries and canon of black literature"– Aurealis
Essay - Abstract:
As speculative fiction authors are increasingly curious and experimental in a competitive publishing industry, crossing genres to subvert the reader's expectations, writers of colour are ever more claiming their right to tell their own stories in invented worlds with characters they can identify with. This new brand of writing is taking form in small press afrofuturistic dystopias, myths and epics delivered to a growing readership that is openmindedand inquisitive. But, until black speculative fiction is normalised, there's still a long way to go.
Still She Visits
YOU REMEMBER when you were eleven or twelve, hands fumbling with a folded cloth. The tingle of a sore nipple, the claws of muscle cramp. Each pang in your pelvis was a sword that hacked away your childhood.
Your mother waltzed into your grave-sized room. It was tiny enough to hold two coffins and a row of ghost feet. It always felt haunted. Mamm brought in her rage and suspicion in a growl that said, 'What mischief are you plotting?' even though the words were different: 'Tidy your room yet?' Furrows on her forehead, her no-nonsense gait... all now just a memory in fragments.
It was your little sister Mokgosi—her name means a call for help—who used her body to shield your secret from your mamm. Why it had to be a secret, you don't know, maybe it was to stop your mother from fraying your ears with threats about boys. How they took everything you gave, then broke you even though you were empty. How they sauntered whistling to a forever place, leaving you with mouths to feed, tiny mouths that couldn't tolerate hunger.
'Loosen, Mamm. Just ease.' Mokgosi's calming words stood in front of your stained pad and your mother, ever grouchy like a buffalo.
Mamm looked harder at your sister and your blocked self, still with rage and suspicion, but she left the room without a word, and that didn't happen all that often. You looked at Mokgosi. She looked at you. She gave you a clean pad and soaked your blood in salted cold water, washed the nasty cloth with her bare hands, because money, money, money. There was no money to take to a shop and buy tampons.
It was then that you understood your sibling bond, even though before that you were street dogs—the way you fought. This new love moved you through bad things, like when your mother left, not just your room, but this time for good.
It's an undying love that makes you see through the hollow in Mokgosi's eyes full of dusk, so you can unsee the guts like strings falling out of her mouth, her ears. Her silent aura telling you like a movie that she's dead, please be honest.
'Sorry, I...' You clang pots, bang doors in your apartment in East Melbourne. Thump-thwack-clang-bang. How can you be honest to such loss?
But still Mokgosi visits.
Antwon was late. He rushed out his Peachtree Street flat as he summoned a Rideout and the electric transport appeared moments later, scanning the young mixer for his ID and payment. Antwon jumped in and the door closed.
"King Center Art Gallery," he said. 'High priority.' "Insufficient credit," the car replied.
Antwon slammed his fist on the empty seat. "Scan for ride share options," he said.
The car hummed before answering.
"Ride share confirmed. Please buckle your seat belt and thank you for choosing Rideout for your transportation needs."
Antwon buckled up then leaned back into his seat, pissed. The latest song by Prince, Inc. filled the cabin as the Rideout lifted into aerial traffic. If his account was short that meant Antwon's payment didn't go through. That was the second time. There wouldn't be a third.
He tapped his band and the holoscreen hovered before his eyes.
"Damarius Taylor," he said.
The screen pulsed for a moment before Damarius appeared, a wide grin on his brown bearded face.
"There he is!" Damarius said. "Man, this shit is ice!"
Damarius took off his shirt, then extended his muscular arms. His tats illuminated then danced about his body. Antwon grinned. He did do good work. He tapped his band and the tats went dark. Damarius looked stunned.
"What the fuck?"
"Dee, where's my cred?"
Damarius was still staring at his torso.
"Your what? What the hell just happened?"
"Mufa where's my cred?" Antwon shouted.
Damarius glared at Antwon. "You shut me down? You
shut me down! Man, I paid your ass!"
"My account is short the same amount you owe. You
didn't pay me kaka."
"Quit fucking with me Twon," Damarius said. "I made the
trans while you were walking out the door!"
"I'm not arguing with you, bwoi." Antwon shut down the
comm. The Rideout rose to the fifth level then eased down on a condo plat. The door slipped open and an umber woman wearing a tight-fitting kente dress and matching headwrap entered the lift and sat beside him.
"Piedmont District," the woman said.
"Thank you for choosing Rideout," the lift responded. The door closed and the lift maneuvered into the swirling traffic.
"Nice outfit," Antwon said.
The woman turned to him and smiled.
"Thank you... oh my ancestors! Antwon Green!" The
woman squealed then clapped her hands. "I'm sharing a lift with Twon the Don!"
No matter how many times it happened Antwon was always flattered and somewhat embarrassed when people recognized him. The woman opened her purse and her phone emerged, rising over her head.
"Look y'all! I'm riding a lift with Twon the Don!"
Antwon waved. "Hello friends of the woman in the fiya dress."
"Kecia," the woman said. "My name is Kecia Thomas. I was at your Solstice set two years ago. It was my life!"
"I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was hot."
"So, what you doing for Carnival?" Kecia asked.
"Can't tell you," Antwon replied. "All I can say is that it will
"Better than Solstice?"
Antwon smiled. "Life ending."