“A fearless novel that probes ideas of surveillance, misogyny and class. . . . Tsamaase brilliantly tackles ideas of motherhood and autonomy. The author seamlessly blends a body-hopping ghost story about revenge with a narrative about the importance of memory. It’s such an original first novel, and I’ll be reading whatever comes next.” —New York Times Book Review
This genre-bending Africanfuturist horror novel blends The Handmaid’s Tale with Get Out in an adrenaline-packed, cyberpunk body-hopping ghost story exploring motherhood, memory, and a woman’s right to her own body.
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?
★ “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.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ “Captivating and valiant. . . . With both chilling precision and anguished passion, Womb City depicts a toxic future of cyber-reincarnation and authoritarian omniscience.” —Foreword Reviews, starred review
“This Afrofuturist novel’s twisty plot has a lot to say about inequality — and complicity.” —Los Angeles Times
“Womb City pulsates with this gender-expansive feminist rage, propelling a narrative at breakneck speed—sometimes literally, for the characters—that leaves no one exempt from misogyny’s horrifying control.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
“This Africanfuturist horror novel brings cyberpunk vibes, dystopian vibes, and ghost stories together for a great and unique read.”—Book Riot
“Womb City is an Afrofuturist, cyberpunk, feminist, horror thrill ride and if that isn't enough... I can't help you.” —Book Culture
“Enjoyably terrifying.”—New Scientist
“Womb City is an introspective Africanfuturist horror for readers who love stories that take a swing at reductive views on gender and crime without hiding the awfulness those issues bring up.”—Lightspeed
“A piercing critique of patriarchal power . . .Womb City is a gripping read for anyone interested in bringing down systems of oppression.”—Ancillary Review of Books
“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
“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 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
“Womb City has it all: cyberpunk, Africanfuturism, and a determined, fierce protagonist. Unapologetically feminist in the best of ways, this book pushes the heroine to her limits and explores just how far she’ll go to bring down the entire corrupt system.” —N. E. Davenport, author of The Blood Trials
“Raw and unflinching, lyrical and bombastic, Tsamaase has written a masterful techno-thriller that eviscerates the genre while surpassing it.” —Cadwell Turnbull, award-winning author of No Gods, No Monsters
"A furious and vital read that finds in the human body a map of good, evil, and everything in between.” —Indra Das award-winning author of The Devourers