"A fearless novel that probes ideas of surveillance, misogyny and class. . . . Tsamaase brilliantly tackles ideas of motherhood and autonomy." —New York Times Book Review
This genre-bending Afrofuturist horror novel blends The Handmaid’s Tale and The School for Good Mothers with Get Out in an adrenaline-packed, cyberpunk body-hopping ghost story exploring motherhood, memory, and a woman’s right to her own body.
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“This propulsive and brilliant page-turner is a searing indictment of the world in which we live, and I’m so glad it exists. Move aside Philip K. Dick and George Orwell—Tsamaase is the new visionary of our time.” —Marisa Crane, author of I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself
Nelah seems to have it all: fame, wealth, and a long-awaited daughter growing in a government lab. But, trapped in a loveless marriage to a policeman who uses a microchip to monitor her every move, Nelah’s perfect life is precarious. After a drug-fueled evening culminates in an eerie car accident, Nelah commits a desperate crime and buries the body, daring to hope that she can keep one last secret.
The truth claws its way into Nelah’s life from the grave.
As the ghost of her victim viciously hunts down the people Nelah holds dear, she is thrust into a race against the clock: in order to save any of her remaining loved ones, Nelah must unravel the political conspiracy her victim was on the verge of exposing—or risk losing everyone.
Set in a cruel futuristic surveillance state where bodies are a government-issued resource, this harrowing story is a twisty, nail-biting commentary on power, monstrosity, and bodily autonomy. In sickeningly evocative prose, Womb City interrogates how patriarchy pits women against each other as unwitting collaborators in their own oppression. In this devastatingly timely debut novel, acclaimed short fiction writer Tlotlo Tsamaase brings a searing intelligence and Botswana’s cultural sensibility to the question: just how far must a woman go to bring the whole system crashing down?
“A fierce, furious, and fearless debut that has its finger on the pulse—no, the gushing wound—of our world's most invasive cruelties.” —Daniel Kraus, New York Times bestselling co-author of The Shape of Water
“Masterful . . . Tsamaase has created a disturbing techno dystopia in a future Botswana that terrifies with its echoes of our own increasingly authoritarian cyber-policed world. This beautifully written work haunts and upends expectations with its resurrected ghosts and gods and ancestors of Motswana cosmology. What an accomplished debut!” —T. L. Huchu, Caine Prize finalist and author of The Library of the Dead
“This Afrofuturist novel’s twisty plot has a lot to say about inequality — and complicity.” —Los Angeles Times
Tsamaase debuts with a mind-bending and potent blend of Afrofuturist science fiction and horror. In a dystopian near future surveillance state, the bodies of minor criminals are "recycled" to allow old souls to reincarnate. Because of their past infractions, however, these former criminal bodies are microchipped, linking them to an AI server that monitors their every move. Nelah Bogosi-Ntsu is a body hopper, the third occupant in an infertile body that she was finally transferred into after her consciousness waited 15 years between life spans. Her husband is a police officer who has access to her memories through her microchip and monitors her every move. Even so, Nelah finds ways to hide the affair she's having with another man. When one of her trysts ends in an accidental death at her hands, Nelah's life spirals out of control as she goes to desperate lengths to hide the killing and save the life of her yet-to-be-born daughter who's growing in one of the city's Wombcubators. The body horror and sci-fi elements work together beautifully, melding into a thrilling and thought-provoking page-turner. Tsamaase is a writer to watch.