Continuing the groundbreaking tradition of the first volume AfroSFv2 is an anthology of five original SF novellas by African writers. The Last Pantheon Tade Thompson & Nick Wood An epic superhero face-off thousands of years in the making. "February 18, 1979 Sahara Desert, Africa My hands are deep in sand, and there is blood on the snow. He did not know why there was snow. He tried to rise, but it was not time. His breath came in ragged gasps, a death rattle? His ribs grated on each other when he inspired. His jaw felt heavy and swollen. More drops of blood on the snow, from his face. He tried to move his tongue, but it had grown snug inside his mouth and did not budge. He was on all fours. He could tell that now, but his right arm was crooked, maybe broken. The left arm held all the weight. Another warm dribble down his face. He pulled the left arm out of the snow and wiped it across his face. It came back smeared red. He tried again to stand, but it hurt, a pervasive pain that he had never experienced, his nerves screaming for respite. It seemed like he could feel the individual vertebrae in his backbone. What happened? What did I do? What did we do? Why is it snowing? He managed to stand. The horizon wobbled and turned, or he may have been turning. It was difficult to tell. Blood still streamed out of him, dripping on his chest and landing on the snow. He felt neither heat nor cold, but the crisp air helped to clear his head and stabilise his vision. There were depressions in the snow, footsteps, ending in a lump of a man about fifty yards away. Head bowed, arms by the side, kneeling. His enemy." Tade Thompson lives and works in the UK, though he is Yoruba. His most recent works include the novel Making Wolf and the story ‘Child, Funeral, Thief, Death’ in Apex Magazine. He is an occasional visual artist. Nick Wood is a Zambian born, South African naturalised clinical psychologist, with over a dozen short stories previously published in Interzone, Subterfuge, Infinity Plus, PostScripts, and Redstone Science Fiction, amongst others. Nick has also appeared in the first African anthology of science fiction, AfroSF – and now with this collaborative novella follow-up with Tade Thompson here in AfroSFv2. He also has a book pending with NewCon Press (2016), entitled Azanian Bridges, exploring a current but alternative South Africa, where apartheid survived. Nick has completed an MA in Creative Writing (SF & Fantasy) through Middlesex University, London and is currently training clinical psychologists and counsellors at the University of East London in England. He can be found: @nick45wood or nickwood.frogwrite.co.nz. Hell Freezes Over Mame Bougouma Diene Long after the last skyscraper has drowned who remains and how will they survive? "They still talk about the storms… The bleak landscape stretching behind had nothing on the thunderclouds looming ahead of Ari, and in another few minutes darkness would merge with darkness in a frenzy of hail and ball lightning. He recalled a vague saying about unstoppable forces and immovable objects. In his experience there was no such thing: everything moved eventually; everything could be shaken, torn off, and ripped to shreds. As for unstoppable forces, they stopped too, eventually, and when they did, they left nothing unmoved. He shook his head wondering who the idiot who had thought that up was, and how it had stuck. Different times, probably, and milder winds. Standing by his side, Adi, as if to prove a silent point, had not moved. In a few minutes it would not matter; in a few minutes the storm would start, and in a few months the winter. The waters called him, they called her, and they called all of them. Awake and in their sleep, the Fish were the waters. The Moles’ efforts had proven fruitful, or so they claimed. The tunnels of the Divine Undertaking were nearing completion, and the caves would offer a luxury undreamed of on the surface. But few dreamed anymore. Neural synapses would fire at night just as they always had, but you cannot dream if you do not have a past, and you cannot dream if you cannot bring the future to life—when tomorrow is another whirlwind, and the future an endless field of ice…such are not dreams, but fantasies in the void, and in the void there is despair." Mame Bougouma Diene is a French-Senegalese American humanitarian based in Paris with a fondness for progressive metal, tattoos, and policy analysis. He is published in Omenana, Brittle Paper, and Edilivres, and is in no position to win the Nobel Prize so he can write whatever the damn wants. The Flying Man of Stone Dilman Dila When ancient technology seems like magic legends live again in the midst of war and sides will be chosen. "He could not tell the colours of the trees. Rocks jutted out of the ground like pillars in the ruins of a prehistoric city, but he could not tell them from the flowers that grew wanton in the valley. Cold tears crawled down his face like maggots. His chest burned as though a fire bomb had dropped in it. He could not tell if it were wind whistling past his ears, or bullets. He could not hear his own footfalls, nor the sound of dead twigs breaking under his soles. The thunder of gunfire deafened him. He struggled to keep up with his father, Baba Chuma, who was nothing more than a shadow fleeing through the vague shapes that he thought were trees and rocks and flowers. They could have hidden in one of the many caves on the slope, but father believed they would be safer on the plateau, if the gunmen would not be bothered climbing a hundred feet to search for them. The slope became a rock less than twenty feet high. From a distance it looked like an armchair set atop a hill. Kera had climbed it a thousand times before, but now his hands were slick with sweat and he could not find footholds. His father had to help him up. Grass and thorny trees grew out of seemingly bare stone. About fifty meters ahead, at the opposite edge, a grey cliff soared into the sky, forming the back of the chair. Two stone protrusions jutted out of the cliff from each end, hanging above the short trees, giving the illusion of the arms of the chair. They called this plateau Kom pa’Yamo, the seat of spirits." Dilman Dila is a writer and filmmaker. He recently published a collection of short speculative stories, A Killing in the Sun. His works have been honored in many international and prestigious prizes. He is currently working on a scifi novel and feature film. He keeps an online journal of his life and works at dilmandila.com VIII Andrew Dakalira A space shuttle crash, the numeral eight, serial murders, what connects them all could end humanity. "Lake Malawi, Mangochi district, 2023 The lake was calm that day, perfect for hanging out by the beach. Not that it mattered. There was nobody within the group on the beach who was thinking of going for a swim. All eyes were on the sky, waiting, hoping the latest satellite tracking system was as good as the United States government said it was. Colonel James Banda and his troops had been at the site for nearly six hours. He had never seen a spaceship personally, and he was sure his men had not either. But these Americans have, the colonel thought, looking to his right. The two agents from the CIA were engaged in a serious conversation with their local embassy’s security chief, two scientists from NASA who had flown in that morning, and Lieutenant John Phiri of the Malawi Defence Force. The two scientists looked out of place with their lab coats, surrounded by scores of army men. “What’s the word, Lieutenant?” Colonel Banda asked even before his junior opened his mouth. “Any minute now, sir,” replied Lieutenant Phiri. “Tell me something, Lieutenant. Is the intel reliable? I have over two dozen men on this beach. I do not want the military picking up pieces of their dead bodies just because this spaceship crashed on the beach and not in the lake like they said it would.” “Well, the information is quite reliable, sir,” began the lieutenant. “According to the digital satellite trackers, the trajectory the spaceship has taken is going to end here, on this particular side of the lake. And their technology is quite good.” “If the technology was quite good, Lieutenant, they would know why this thing altered course in the middle of its mission and why the crew is not responding,” the colonel pointed out." Andrew Dakalira started writing in his teenage years. Some of his stories have been published by Brittle Paper, Fundza, the Africa Book Club website and africanwriter.com. His work also appeared in the first ever Africa Book Club anthology The Bundle of Joy and Other Stories from Africa. A three-time winner of the Africa Book Club monthly short reads competition, he lives in Malawi’s capital city, Lilongwe. An Indigo Song for Paradise Efe Tokunbo Okogu Change is coming to Paradise City and it won’t be pretty, but if this is paradise then heaven must be hell in need of a revolution. "1: You know the score Ecila My name is Ecila and I’m not from the city. Let me repeat that, I’m not from the city. I grew up in a village surrounded by wild fields in an abundant valley. I value the memories of those days like a bee treasures honey or TerraCorp loves money. I often spend my time remembering and daydreaming of the day when I finally return. Everyone will be there to welcome me. Especially Chi. Sweet Chi. But it’s been so many years since the storm hit the village and washed my happy little life away. I know it is folly, to waste my life away on such daydreams but it is my sweetest vice in this strange new world that feels older than the gods; this mechanical jungle full of beasts in the sleeves of men. The village was spared the brunt of the storm. No one died and there was little irreparable damage. But the next day, while surveying the aftermath from the top of Turtle hill, I saw a strange glint in the distance. It was only a couple of days away so after repairing the roof of my auntie’s house and helping my neighbours clean the wreckage from our village, I decided to go and explore. I went alone as I have done many a time. I arrived at the source of the glint, a large metallic structure unearthed by the storm which had clearly been far fiercer here than in my village. Fierce enough to excavate this strange leftover of some lost civilisation from within its tomb in the earth. Who knows how many aeons it had lain there under the earth, slowly dreaming in the soft womb of creation. It looked like a cracked dragon’s egg glinting in the morning sun. The dammed thing should have stayed buried. Or I should have been less curious, less adventurous. I was a man but I was young; little more than a boy. I had not yet made love to a woman but I was looking forward to that changing. Chi and I were… Not that it matters now. All that was years ago and worlds away." Efe Tokunbo Okogu is a Nigerian writer who was born in the UK on Dia de los Muertos. He now lives in Mexico where he is developing various projects in the areas of holistic health, body-mind activation, spiritual science studies, and multi-disciplinary artistic expression. His words have been heard live and published in various magazines, literary journals and anthologies in digital and print form. His novelette, Proposition 23 was nominated for the 2013 British Science Fiction Association awards, translated into Italian, and is available online. He believes that life is real SF and far stranger than anyone can conceive. Editor/Publisher: Ivor W. Hartmann Ivor W. Hartmann is a Zimbabwean writer, editor, publisher, and visual artist. Awarded The Golden Baobab Prize (2009), finalist for the Yvonne Vera Award (2011), selected for The 20 in Twenty: The Best Short Stories of South Africa’s Democracy (2014), and awarded third place in the Jalada Prize for Literature (2015). His works have appeared in many publications. He runs the StoryTime micro-press, publisher of the African Roar and AfroSF series of anthologies, and is on the advisory board of Writers International Network Zimbabwe. AfroSFv2 out in ebook and paperback at most major online retailers.