Ato Essandoh Performs Young Nigerian Writer’s Sci-Fi Story for Charity

Solomon Uhiara’s “The Extermination Device of the Blacksmith” connects “our ancient technological practices with modern advancements.” Hearing the Django Unchained actor’s audio performance is “thrilling,” he said.
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Solomon Uhiara, a young Nigeria-based writer, has his short story performed by Ato Essandoh.

Solomon Uhiara, a young Nigeria-based writer, has his short story performed by Ato Essandoh.

The Ghanaian American actor Ato Essandoh did a 12-minute audio performance of a new short story by the Nigerian writer Solomon Uhiara. “The Extermination Device of the Blacksmith” is a work of speculative fiction. It was written during last year’s lockdown and submitted to Dark Matter Magazine’s inaugural issue.

“The story is set in several places in Nigeria,” Uhiara, who studied Bio Resources Engineering and is fascinated by machines, told Open Country Mag. “Places like my hometown in Umuahia and places like the abandoned modern rail line in the city of Port Harcourt, where I live. I wanted to connect our ancient technological practices with some modern advancements, and even go a step further and make it futuristic.”

It is, he said, “written in such a way that the end remains uncertain, but I couldn’t resist pointing out hopeful and optimistic scenarios, where healing is possible, where evil is overcome with the goodness in science, where the possibility of a better future remains in our hands.”

Ato Essandoh. From atoessandoh.com.
Ato Essandoh. From atoessandoh.com.

The idea for a performance came from Ato Essandoh, who read the story and liked it. A co-founder of the writing and performance group The Defiant Ones, Essandoh has starred in notable films like Blood Diamond (2012) and Django Unchained (2012). In his performance, he brings narrative poise amidst the scintillating background music.

“I recall seeing Ato Essandoh in so many movies while growing up,” Uhiara said. “The feeling of having one’s story performed by a movie star like him is thrilling, and a valid sign that in science fiction lies an ocean of possibilities. His performance deepened my belief that my voice matters. He and the Dark Matter team fed the story more oxygen with that amazing production.”

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Solomon Uhiara’s work has appeared in Africanwriter.com, Eyetothetelescope.com, Starline, and Polutexni. His climate fiction story, “Soot Shield,” is forthcoming in the first anthology of The World’s Revolution. His short sci-fi story, “A Complete Case Study Based on Alzheimer’s,” is forthcoming in Dark Matter. He is an Associate Member of the SFWA.

Purchase the audio for $1 here. All proceeds from the sale goes to Black Girls Code, a tech hub for girls aged 7-17. Listen to a sample below:

Emmanuel Esomnofu
Emmanuel Esomnofu is a staff writer at Open Country Mag. He is a culture journalist and has written extensively on Nigerian music and on several moving parts of popular culture. His writing appears online in Native Mag, Okay Africa, Kalahari Review, Praxis Magazine, and elsewhere. He was published in print in The Muse, the oldest student journal in West Africa. In December 2020, he worked on "Fuji: A Opera" as a copywriter, creating informative and exciting stories from Fuji's rich history.

4 thoughts on “Ato Essandoh Performs Young Nigerian Writer’s Sci-Fi Story for Charity”

  1. This is awesome. Solomon Uhiara is a magnificent writer. His style is very unique in the African space. Thanks to Ato Essandoh for bringing such a talent to lamb light.
    I can’t wait to see a movie in line with this script.

  2. Engr. Wilson Alabo

    Solomon Uhiara is a passionate writer, he has done several write-ups both locally and internationally. Sure he will do great stories in the future.

    Engr. Wilson Alabo

  3. Mbaegbu Somtochukwu Franklin

    This is just brilliant.
    My ears have never been so blessed.
    I can’t imagine the effort and focus it took to put this down in words.

    Solomon Uhiara has outdone himself with this piece.

  4. Onyedikachi Uhiara

    Wow!!!! This is amazing. What a story. Am so thrilled that such an Amazing story is written by a Nigerian. This means that Solomon Uhiara is futuristic indeed. If you keep it up, I won’t be surprised seeing you write stories for Hollywood. I will also plead that this story should be acted as a movie. I would like to see it. Keep it up Solomon Uhiara.

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