Short science fiction stories about Lagos are to be published.
What will Nigeria’s commercial city be like a hundred years after the nation’s independence?
A nuclear powered state, a mango republic with bullet trains, invasions by amphibians, one of the largest economies in Africa with threats to secede from Nigeria and a city ravaged by climate change, yet existence is still blissful.
These are some of the predictions in the first science-fiction to be published in Nigeria, titled ‘Lagos 2060.’
The publishers, DADA Books, presented the anthology of short fictions set in Lagos by eight authors at the 2013 edition of Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF).
Engaging the audience at the book festival, three of the authors narrated their motivation for the first science fiction genre in Nigeria’s literarydom.
Fred Nwonwu’s – who prefers to be Mazi Nwonwu ”because I don’t know what Fred means” – ‘Annihilation’ promises to be a thrilling read as his story predicts an inversion of Lagos slums and highbrow area.
According to him, ”the high-brow Victoria Garden City and the likes on Lekki/Ajah axis will become slums dwellings by 2060, while today’s slum of Makoko and Ejigbo will be overpriced” as the rising sea levels sends the rich away across the mainland bridge.
”A landlord in Makoko sells a square metre of his house for 20,000 Nirand to the rich who were now displaced from the Atlantic city” Mazi said.
Reading from Mazi’s Annihilation reveals that Lagos will be a prominent economic city on the continent where the currency spent will be Nirand; a combination of Nigeria’s Naira and South Africa’s Rand.
”This story, I wrote in 2010 when Muammar Gaddafi was still alive and I believed in his Unites States of Africa dream, hence Nirand, the currency of two biggest economies in sub-Saharan Africa forms the continent’s currency” he replied when asked if Lagos will be the continent’s capital with such a currency.
The writer also takes a chance at the city’s politics whereby the grandson of Lagos’ most influential politician, Bola Tinubu, is the governor as the politics of ‘godfatherism’ is retained despite the myriad of changes the city has witnessed over decades.
Amphibian Attack by Muazeez Babalola features an amphibian invasion of Lagos by frogs created by a friend of the governor who wanted to sell some drugs. This Lagos in 2060 is powered by nuclear energy with nuclear plants situated in Epe and Ikorodu.
But a major disaster that occurred in 2057 turns Ikorodu into a wasteland with the explosion of its nuclear plant, which is ”blamed on human error as the cause of explosion was never determined.”
Mango Republic by Tech, a journalist, is about romance in a flooded Lagos city where beggars were banished and girls appear in body paints and tattoos than dresses.
The authors acknowledged the great challenge in writing their stories as they admit that the sophistication and fast development of today’s technology makes it more difficult to predict the future’s tech which is essential for a sci-fi.
Reading excerpts of her five-page long review of the anthology, art critic and writer, Derin Ajao, acknowledges that the city grapples with higher temperature and rising sea level, thereby getting Lagos ”wetter and hotter” as it is today.
Her review also reveals that the infamous Third Mainland Bridge is left in ruins and politicians still anoint their successors. Identity chips are embedded in residents’ arms as barriers are erected to other states to restrict migration, suggesting that the city is a state run by a big brother.
The fictional future of Lagos portrayed in these short stories will in no doubt make a great read but it also calls for caution for the government to pay more attention to today’s environmental concern in its elitist and mega city status drive.
Lagos 2060, published by DADA books, will go on sale in a few weeks and it is encouraging to have this genre of literature to help enhance the imagination of readers in Nigeria and Lagos which badly needs massive infrastructural and developmental planning, ahead of its projected emergence as the third most populous city in the world by 2050.