top of page
Tsamaase, Tlotlo - Womb City cover with type 2023-03-27.jpg


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?

Goodreads Readers’ Most Anticipated Books | New Scientist Most Anticipated Books | LitHub Most Anticipated SFF Book of 2024 | Los Angeles Times 10 Books to Add to Your TBR | BookRiot Most Anticipated Book of the Month | Reactor Most Anticipated Book of the Month



"A fearless novel that probes ideas of surveillance, misogyny and class. . . . Tsamaase brilliantly tackles ideas of motherhood and autonomy." —New York Times Book Review

“From the first sentence, Womb City burns bright. When you think there isn't anywhere else to go, Tsamaase pulls you ever higher, head-spinning heights brought into focus by wire-taut tension and gorgeous prose. 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 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

"Daring, imaginative, and deeply human, Womb City jumps out of the gates and doesn't let up once. This genre-bending masterpiece interrogates questions of power, bodily autonomy, fate vs. free will, social control, family, and what it means to live in a surveillance state. 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

“A thrilling, high-octane futuristic novel . . . 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

“Masterful . . . Tsamaase has created a disturbing techno dystopia in a future Botswana that terrifies with its echoes of our own increasingly authoritarian cyber-policed world. 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

“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





2021 Lambda Literary Award finalist

2021 Nommo Award finalist

Featured on the Washington Post's 2020 Books: Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror list.


In an African city, a nameless young woman living in the wards slowly begins to lose her identity: her skin color is peeling off, people are becoming invisible, and the city plans to destroy the train where they bury their dead.

In the wards the dreamskin people walk the land to predict a citizen’s death. After the narrator is given a warning by her grandmother’s dreamskin, things begin to fall apart. Struggling to hold onto a fluctuating reality, she prescribes herself insomnia in a desperate attempt to save her family. 




"A surrealist masterpiece."

Lavie Tidhar, author of Osama.

"Motswana author Tsamaase debuts with a lyrical and incisive allegory about personal identity and cultural loss set in an unnamed, phantasmagoric African city.  Through magnetic prose, dream logic, and lush imagery, Tsamaase delivers a fierce political message. Suffused with both love and righteous anger, this atmospheric anticolonialist battle cry is a tour de force."

Publishers Weekly (starred review).

"Tsamaase's words feel like the touch of the dreamskin -- painfully real and true. What does it mean to fight for what's important even as all you know and hold dear slips away? To fight for love in the face of erasure? This had me turning the pages in tense horror, but it also rings of hope. A rich and rewarding read."

Julio Rios,  Hugo Award winning editor + a writer, narrator, and podcaster.

"The Silence of the Wilting Skin by Tlotlo Tsamaase is an anticolonialist fantasy/dreamscape novel about the importance of family, love and one woman’s fight to preserve her identity and her culture."

The Lesbian Review.

"This novella is...a read that will get under your—ah—skin. It’s an itchy read—one that, for all its narrative imprecision, can leave imprints upon the flesh as good as if an otherworldly spectre had touched you there. In doing so, it curses you to experience a deeper awareness of the traumatic disintegration of narrative agency that exists in ever so many parts of our hurting world."

 M.L. Clark on Strange Horizons.

"In this bewildering truth and artful metaphor that Tsamaase has constructed, I found each page to be gorgeously written and often profound. This is a novella that wraps in velvet a raft of loss and outrage that must be recognized."

Locus Magazine.


bottom of page