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4 Sci-Fi Books Written by People of Color

by  | July 22

Science fiction books by people of color are becoming less and less rare. The most popular books in the sci-fi and fantasy genre are usually written by—you guessed it—a white person. As a person of color, if you’ve ever found that you love sci-fi novels but can’t relate to the characters or don’t see yourself being represented in any of them, check out the following four books. They’re written by people of color and the stories reflect their authorship as well.

Mind of My Mind

Mind of My Mind

by Octavia E. Butler

Octavia Butler is who some may call the mother of the science fiction subgenre Afrofuturism, which depicts a future in which black people and their culture are at the center, and technology is usually a big part of it too. Parable of the Sower is one of Butler’s most popular books, but I wanted to highlight her Patternist series, which expands the main characters’ journey from Africa to America all the way to the near future. In this series, a master race with superhuman abilities fight their immortal creator in order to free themselves from his grasp. Mind of My Mind is the sequel to Patternmaster and the second novel in the series. If you’re a sci-fi fan and have yet to read Octavia Butler, what are you waiting for?

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The Grace of Kings

The Grace of Kings

by Ken Liu

You might recognize Ken Liu by his Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy award–winning short story “The Paper Menagerie,” from his The Paper Menagerie short story collection. But his debut novel The Grace of Kings is the first book in an epic fantasy series, and you’re going to want to get your hands on this sweeping “silkpunk” as well. Now if you’re wondering what silkpunk is, Liu describes it as “a new aesthetic inspired by East Asian antiquity. Like steampunk, silkpunk is a genre that straddles the boundary between science fiction and fantasy.” This book is about two men who rebel together against tyranny, becoming best friends after a series of adventures fighting conscripted armies, silk-draped airships, and shape-shifting gods. Only to later become rivals as they find themselves on opposite sides, with very different ideas about how the world should be run and the meaning of justice.

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The Book of Phoenix

The Book of Phoenix

by Nnedi Okorafor

This is the prequel to Okorafor’s supernatural fantasy novel set in post-apocalyptic Africa, Who Fears Death. But I wanted to focus on this prequel because not only does it have a badass superhuman heroine, but it’s also set in a world that is extremely technologically advanced. The protagonist Phoenix was grown and raised among other genetic experiments in a New York City building. Her journey begins when she starts to question her home and who she really is. If you love books by Octavia Butler (and you will once you’ve read her sci-fi), you’ll definitely be interested in Okorafor’s works too.

Also I really love the UK-edition cover! Isn't it awesome?

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Trail of Lightning

Trail of Lightning

by Rebecca Roanhorse

If you’re looking for a new sci-fi book from people of color because you’ve already read the ones above on this list, then Trail of Lightning is the one to pick up. Just published in June, Trail of Lightning is the first book in Roanhorse’s The Sixth World series. This is an apocalyptic urban fantasy mixed with science fiction. Think Mad Max: Fury Road but with indigenous people as the main characters. Oh, and also with monsters. It’s a fun one from beginning to end!

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Anabel Jimenez is the marketing assistant at Gallery Books. You can also find her on Instagram as @inthebookcorner where she posts about her current reads and tons of book hauls. She loves to read a little bit of everything but leans towards literary fiction. When she’s not working, reading, or posting photos she loves to visit coffee shops and brunch spots around New York City. She’s also addicted to watching too much Netflix.