Novelist Rivers Solomon’s first book “An Unkindness of Ghosts“ is one of the most remarkable afrofuturistic novels out there. The book explores the conjunction between structural racism and generation ships.
In this debut, Solomon takes the classic “generation ship“ trope in a new direction, and she does it very skillful and bold. Aster is a self-taught healer onboard the spaceship Matilda, which has been traveling in search of a new home planet for many generations. In the spaceship, there is no new higher developed culture or society, as we would expect.
Instead, humanity has fallen back on its worst history: while the upper decks are beautifully landscaped and populated entirely by white people, the lower decks are highly rationed and enslaved, and mostly populated by dark-skin inhabitants of the ship. Ruthless violence keeps them working for the upper-deckers, and a religious dictatorship enforces class and race order across levels.
Aster doesn’t have any plans to start a revolution, but when her friend Giselle points out a coded message in Aster’s dead mother’s diary, everything takes a big turn.
The world-building is detailed, envisioned and a quite familiar. “An Unkindness of Ghosts“ is the debut of a powerful new voice in science fiction and a must-read for fans of Afrofuturism.