Author Charlie Human has been internationally recognised as a standout voice in South African speculative fiction since the release last year of his debut title, Apocalypse Now Now, bringing a much-needed flavour of braaivleis and table-shaped mountains to the literary scene.
He’s a down to earth soul who finds it a real honour to be a part of the speculative fiction community as it gains momentum across the country.
“There are many voices and the chorus is growing, it’s exciting,” says Human. “I’m passionate about the potential in South Africa’s entertainment industries – books, films, video games, board games and apps – and I love supporting local projects. We have world-class storytellers and artists in this country who are now making it big internationally.”
The inspiration for Apocalypse Now Now came from public transport and tabloids, where real life can be far stranger than fiction.
“Local tabloids describe a bizarre underworld infested with tokoloshe sexual predators, demons in toilets and possessed drug addicts,” adds Human. “The South African public transport system requires stoic patience, a sense of humour and an appreciation for small everyday interactions that are hilarious, tragic and just plain weird.”
He believes that the power of artistic vision is that it has the potential to create a template for the future.
“Start creating things that you love now, just doing that will be a powerful inspiration for the next generation,” he says. “My current work in progress is an Afrofuturist sci-fi story that looks at heroes and mythmaking. Which of our heroes will the future mythologise and what will those myths look like?”
Human has already set a date for the sequel to Apocalypse Now Now, Kill Baxter, and it looks like he’s going to be a part of South Africa’s weird frontier for some time to come. — Tamsin Oxford