Internationalism, Surrealism, Futurism: The Novels of Deji Bryce Olokotun

We all have expectations when begin reading a story. There are boundaries within which we expect the narrative to unfold, and certain ground rules that seem like they should be in place. This doesn’t extend to the point of tropes: it’s more a case of where we can envision a story going. Narrative swerves, such as a thrilling narrative seemingly set in medieval France that turns itself into a space opera, or a drawing-room mystery that abruptly becomes a torrid paranormal romance, can stun readers when done well, but bewilder them if they’re not handled with the deftest of touches.

All of which brings us to the novels of Deji Bryce Olokotun, Nigerians in Space and its followup, After the Flare. Both offer a host of narrative perks: Olokotun writes with a genuinely international scope, and he’s as adept at charting out backroom espionage as he is bolder action setpieces ...