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Beukes, Lauren

Entry updated 20 November 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1976-    ) South African author, mostly of Urban Fantasy [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below], who began to publish work of genre interest with "Branded" in SL Magazine for 2004. Her first two novels – Moxyland (2008) and Zoo City (2010), which won the Arthur C Clarke Award – suggest en passant sf readings to underpin her narratives; these edgily Equipoisal sf elements have more or less singlehandedly brought Johannesburg into the modern world, as far as Northern Hemisphere readers of Fantastika are concerned. Though her work is not, all the same, comfortably definable as sf, the various permutations of the concept of the Zoo in the latter novel are suggestive, in particular the stigmatization of criminals (or misfits) when they are "animalled" through the spread of the "Zoo Plague", whose victims are infected with Acquired Aposymbiotic Familiarism – an sf designation, though without explanation – a process that bonds them with creatures who manifest their inner nature as a form of shaming: effectively, in the Alternate World Johannesburg of Zoo Story, they become exhibits.

In The Shining Girls (2013), a serial killer in 1931 finds a kind of Portal [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below], a house that carries him by Timeslip to various eras, though always in Chicago, allowing him to commit murders there with some impunity; Baseball is intimately involved. Afterland (2020), which is sf, depicts a Near Future world devastated by a Pandemic, a uniformly fatal form of prostate cancer deadly only to men which kills off 99% of the planet's males. A black market in semen, and other consequences, are actively unpacked. Bridge (2023) explores shimmerings in the appearance and reality of our seemingly solid world (see Perception) after routes into the Multiverse open up. [JC]

see also: Eastercon; Kitschies.

Lauren Beukes

born Johannesburg, South Africa: 5 June 1976


  • Moxyland (Auckland Park, South Africa: Jacana Media, 2008) [pb/Dale Halvorsen]
  • Zoo City (Auckland Park, South Africa: Jacana Media, 2010) [pb/Joey Hi-Fi]
  • The Shining Girls (London: HarperCollins, 2013) [hb/Kate Polin]
  • Broken Monsters (Cape Town, South Africa: Random House Struik/Umuzi, 2014) [hb/Joey Hi-Fi]
  • Afterland (London: Penguin Books, 2020) [hb/]
  • Bridge (London: Michael Joseph, 2023) [hb/Dorian Legret]



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