By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act May 9, 2011 at 3:29AM
Check out (above) the first piece of concept art for the upcoming film adaptation of Nnedi Okorafor's third novel, Who Fears Death, which is set in an alternate, post-apocalyptic Saharan Africa, published just this year (for a larger, more detailed look at the image click HERE).
Recall my post in October 2010, announcing that rights to the book had been optioned by producer Kisha Cameron-Dingle, the program director for Focus Features’ Africa First Film Program – a program we’ve covered a bit on this blog - for Wanuri Kahiu (likely now most famous for her Kenyan sci-fi short film Pumzi) to direct.
The full synopsis reads: In a post-apocalyptic Africa, the world has changed in many ways, yet in one region genocide between tribes still bloodies the land. After years of enslaving the Okeke people, the Nuru tribe has decided to follow the Great Book and exterminate the Okeke tribe for good. An Okeke woman who has survived the annihilation of her village and a terrible rape by an enemy gen-eral wanders into the desert hoping to die. Instead, she gives birth to an angry baby girl with hair and skin the color of sand. Gripped by the certainty that her daughter is different—special—she names her child Onyesonwu, which means ―Who Fears Death? in an ancient tongue.
The scene in the above piece of concept art for the film adaptation - which was created by Kenyan Yvonne Muinde (whose past credits include work on Avatar, and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith) - "depicts Onyesonwu and her companions' first encounter with The Red People. The sandstorm parts and the next phase of the journey begins," according to Okorafor.
I read the book very recently, and I'm planning to post one of my book-to-film write-ups, so watch out for that some time soon.
For those interested in reading it before the film is made, click HERE to purchase a copy of your own. It’s about $16.50 hardcover; and there’s an audiobook version for those who’d rather listen to someone else read the book, for about $13 (click HERE for that).
If you’ve never read any of her work, if only for comparison, the name that often comes up in write-ups about Nnedi’s novels is Octavia Butler, if only because they both write in similar genres (speculative fiction – fantasy, sci-fi, etc), they’re both black and female, and both weave African-ness into their fantastical tales. Nnedi does list Butler as an influence.
Stay tuned for more news on the film adaptation of Who Fears Death... and again, for a larger, more detailed look at the image click HERE.