Finalist for the A British Science Fiction Association Award

When a massive object crashes into the ocean off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria’ s most populous and legendary city, three people wandering along Bar Beach (Adaora, the marine biologist- Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa- Agu, the troubled soldier) find themselves running a race against time to save the country they love and the world itself… from itself.

Lagoon expertly juggles multiple points of view and crisscrossing narratives with prose that is at once propulsive and poetic, combining everything from superhero comics to Nigerian mythology to tie together a story about a city consuming itself.

At its heart a story about humanity at the crossroads between the past, present, and future, Lagoon touches on political and philosophical issues in the rich tradition of the very best science fiction, and ultimately asks us to consider the things that bind us together – and the things that make us human.

A star falls from the sky. A woman rises from the sea. The world will never be the same.

Read the Prologue and Chapters 1 and 2 here

Listen to the Prologue here


A British Science Fiction Association Award (Best Novel)- finalist

Red Tentacle Award (Best Novel)-finalist

SFX Award (Best Novel)- finalist

Tiptree Award- finalist

The David Gemmell Legend Award- nominee


“LAGOON is a thing of magic and beauty. It grips you, right from the opening lines, and sucks you into the deep waters of its mystery. The different currents of Okorafor’s creation cross, clash and splash curiosity: ‘What next?’ you breathe with expectation, thirsting for more. Nnedi Okorafor is a master storyteller.”
-Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, author of WIZARD OF THE CROW
Okorafor’s aliens weave polyphonic beauty out of chaos.
The Sunday Guardian (New Delhi, India)
Okorafor’s impressive inventiveness never flags
Locus Magazine, Gary Wolfe
This sets the tone for what’s to come: spiky, evocative, with a slightly manic gleam in its eye, Okorafor’s narrative approaches its subject from unexpected angles. …All human life is here, in other words, in its endless variety and strangeness.
-SFX Magazine
“Okorafor has a good sense to shake up convention. Alien species come to Lagos in the hopes of becoming Nigerian citizens because they find the country, with its fervent Christianity, Igbo masquerades, oil economy, 419 scammers, and brave gay rights activists, energizing and attractive.”
-The Washington Post, Alyssa Rosenberg
Chaotic, enthralling, and moving fluidly from character voices to oral-style narration to gut-punchingly beautiful prose, Lagoon is almost less a novel than an experience: Of free-diving, of night-flying, of being cocooned in a spider’s web.
-NPR, Amal El-Mohtar
Lagoon, Nnedi Okorafor’s latest novel, is a swirling writhing cross section of life in Lagos, Nigeria as aliens make contact for the first time ever. It doesn’t go smoothly — a fact which allows Okorafor to bring to life a fascinating view of Lagos in all its contradictions.
The prose is tight, the dialogue sharp and there’s a satirical streak weaving through it (Nnedi brilliantly lampoons governmental corruption and inertia, for example). A cracking and often surprising story, terrific social commentary and great fun to read.
-Book Page
Lagoon is both socio-politically and environmentally aware, without ever letting go of the strong mythological narratives that form the core of Nigerian culture. Okorafor may be looking to the future for the city she loves, but she knows its strength lies in its ancient soul.
Dawn Newspaper (Pakistan)
Okorafor’s skillful mingling of hard science-fiction with African fantasy creates an unusual and uplifting story.
The Morning Star (UK)
Lagoon delivers a compelling narrative, characters with interesting pasts, presents and futures and intriguing alien technology and motivations…Its an epic story told in a measure, focused way, that coolly resists the temptation to sprawl.
Above all, the novel is a love letter to Lagos, even if Okorafor’s idiosyncratic method of expressing her love involves unleashing the destructive chaos of an alien invasion on the city.
-T. S. Miller, Strange Horizons
-Interzone Magazine
Lagoon is the most original novel (African or not) I have read in some time.
-Bontle Senne, Sunday Times (South Africa)
It’s like a party at China Mieville’s house.
Patriotic and ambiguous, all-embracing and proudly independent, with a sense that any single viewpoint might be as fictional as aliens turning up: Lagoon offers a clever swerve from science fiction’s usual tracks.
-Stuart Kelly, The Literary Review
The fragmentary, multivoice narrative makes for an exacting but rewarding read, unique not only in its setting and sensibility but in its take on the well-worn staple of first contact.
The Guardian (UK)
Okorafor is one of the most creative, formally experimental SF/F writers working today, and here she takes plenty of risks… The blending of myth, social commentary, innovative storytelling, satirical bite, and pulp energy is unique, exciting, and very welcome. Reading it is like meeting an entire city, then watching it grow fins and swim away.
-Barnes & Noble SciFi and Fantasy Blog
Lagoon establishes Okorafor as the inheritor of the mantle of Wole Soyinka, the celebrated Nigerian novelist whose themes center on the infinite beauty and destructive politics of his beloved country.
– The LA Review of Books
Books like these are some of the most dangerous that constant readers can encounter; they inevitably set the bar so high that very few, if any, books will ever reach that level after you’ve encountered them…This isn’t just science fiction doing what science fiction does best. This is speculative fiction living up to all of it’s rampant, unbridled potential, completely shattering the status quo and showing us something new, something different, something interesting, and ultimately? Something unforgettable.
– Drunken Dragon Reviews
Lagoon is a fantastic, brisk novel that carries with it an entirely different tone and feel than that of any other first-contact novel that I’ve ever read.
-Lightspeed Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy
Full of dynamic, breathing characters built on a sentiment that rises above the bumps and bruises the country takes coming to terms with aliens in their waters, it is a prosaic, motherly, transcendent novel that really stands out in 2014.
Nnedi Okorafor’s third adult novel Lagoon is a high-minded sci-fi fantasy drama that replaces singular/univocality with the power of polyvocality: the practice that many points-of-view and ideas can coexist to shape and drive a narrative. Sure, our bookshelves and the academic canon celebrate the traditional gawds of polyvocality, Toni Morrison and William Faulkner, but Nnedi rides a giant wave all her own.
– Lunch Ticket