The weather is so hot, so why not travel to another dimension? Summer is the perfect time to pick up an epic sci-fi novel and discover its strange inhabitants, places and stories. Splinter in the Sky, the debut novel from 22-year-old Kemi Ashing-Giwa, is about a tea specialist turned assassin who embarks on an epic quest to rescue her siblings after they're kidnapped by imperial agents.

"In the course of trying to rescue them, she realizes that saving her siblings and taking down the Empire that's responsible for their people suffering in the first place, are one and the same thing," she tells EBONY. Like many debut authors, Ashing-Giwa has been inspired by great Black female sci-fi writers before her. Here are three she thinks you should be reading this summer.

Octavia E. Butler

A multiple recipient of the Hugo and Nebula awards, Butler is the voice behind famous reads such as Parable of the Sower and Kindred. Butler was the science-fiction writer to receive a MacArthur Fellowship. "Fun fact: she grew up very close to where I did in Pasadena," Ashing-Giwa says.

Octavia E. Butler (Beacon Press, 2003)

Price: $10

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Rivers Solomon

An author of speculative and literary fiction, Solomon has received the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses' Firecracker Award in Fiction for their work. "Rivers writes really nuanced and really emotionally rich science fiction," shares Ashing-Giwa.

the deep cover
The Deep
Rivers Solomon (Saga Press, 2020)

Price: $10

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N. K. Jemisin

The New York Times bestselling author explores themes of cultural conflict and oppression in her sci-fi fantasy novels. "She's won three Hugo Awards for her work in a row which had never been done by any science fiction or fantasy author ever before," Ashing-Giwa declares.

broken earth triology cover
The Broken Earth Trilogy: The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, The Stone Sky
N. K. Jemisin (Orbit, 2015)

Price: $28

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