“O2 Arena,” an SF Novelette by Nigerian Phenom, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, up for the Hugo, Nebula, and BSFA Awards
Ekpeki’s hard-hitting novelette, “O2 Arena,” (Galaxy’s Edge magazine, issue 53) has the rare distinction of being nominated for the Hugo, Nebula & BSFA Awards
Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki is an African speculative writer and editor from Nigeria. He started writing science fiction while pursuing his law degree at the University of Lagos and his first short story, written in 2019, “The Witching Hour,” won the Nommo award, presented by The African Speculative Fiction Society.
His novella, “Ife-Iyoku, the Tale of Imadeyunuagbon,” was nominated for the Nommo award, The Theodore Sturgeon Award and the British Science Fiction Association Award between 2020 and 2021.
Ekpeki also co-edited (along with Zelda Knight) “Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction From Africa and the African Diaspora,” and “The Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction,” both of which were published to high critical acclaim and also nominated for a number of awards across the world.
“O2 Arena” is a groundbreaking, hard-hitting novelette Ekpeki wrote to honor all those who suffer from disabilities and chronic (often deadly) illnesses, particularly those who live in areas of the world where access to basic health care is a privilege reserved for the affluent or influential few.
In the future version of our world Ekpeki created, breathing itself has a cost, and people willingly fight to the death for a little extra oxygen. It provides brutally honest commentary on failing systems in our real world, in which governments or organizations have totally failed their populations. Whether it be basic health care, food, clean water—or indeed, oxygen—many people just struggle to survive. To pay for their next breath.
Lezli Robyn, the editor of Galaxy’s Edge magazine, says that she was totally blown away by the novelette when she read it, and “O2 Arena” made its first public appearance in the November 2021 issue of Galaxy’s Edge (#53).
As of this writing, this novelette has become one of these rare pieces of fiction to get nominations for all the top science fiction awards in both the Untied States and the United Kingdom. It is a finalist for a World Science Fiction Convention’s Hugo Award for Best Novelette, a Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association’s Nebula Award for Best Novelette, and a British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Shorter Fiction.
Galaxy’s Edge magazine is proud to offer a free copy of this story in various formats (ePub, Mobi and PDF) for free via the following link: