“It’s time to end the brain drain and move to brain gain. It’s time for a great mind of Nigeria to return home. You’re the mind we need, Doctor.”

Nigerians in Space

Deji Olukotun

1993. Houston. Dr. Wale Olufunmi, lunar rock geologist, has a life most Nigerian immigrants would kill for, but then most Nigerians aren’t Wale—a great scientific mind in exile with galactic ambitions. Then comes an outlandish order: steal a piece of the moon. With both personal and national glory at stake, Wale manages to pull off the near impossible, setting out on a journey back to Nigeria that leads anywhere but home. Compelled by Wale’s impulsive act, Nigerians traces arcs in time and space from Houston to Stockholm, from Cape Town to Bulawayo, picking up on the intersecting lives of a South African abalone smuggler, a freedom fighter’s young daughter, and Wale’s own ambitious son. Deji Olukotun’s debut novel defies categorization—a story of international intrigue that tackles deeper questions about exile, identity, and the need to answer an elusive question: what exactly is brain gain?

Praise for Nigerians in Space

"Fast-paced, well-written and packed with insight and humor. Olukotun is a very talented storyteller. "
Charles Yu, National Book Award 5-Under-35 winner and author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

"A deft mingling of satirical humor, Noirish twists…and a keen-eyed yet accessible take on cultural displacement in contemporary times. "
Olufemi Terry, winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing

"You can taste Cape Town, you can hear it in the dialogue, see its beauty in the descriptions. Deji Olukotun has my city's number: especially its nasty underbelly, the dangerous dealing of abalone poachers. "
Mike Nicol, author of the Revenge Trilogy

"Deji Olukotun's novel Nigerians in Space is an impressive debut, a literary thriller that also deftly explores themes of the African diaspora."
David Gutowski, Largehearted Boy

"A transnational mystery novel replete with assassins, abalone poaching and an international fashion model who exudes light from her skin."
Matt McGregor, Warscapes

"A crime thriller that is out of this world."
Samantha Lim, The Brooklyn Paper

"Nigerians in Space captures the cocksure attitude and dignified clip of the 1950s radio play, with more mischievous and macabre elements that reflect the frustration of anti-colonial and Pan-African politics."
Megan Eardley, Africa is a Country

"The book is a must read."
Dianah Ninsiima, Africa Book Club

"A madcap first novel that unravels like a spy thriller."
Mark Haskell Smith, Flavorwire

"At turns enthralling, funny and sometimes heart-rending -- a rollicking and smart book from a talented new voice."
Darren S. , Rare Books Expert at The Strand

"An exquisite blend of unpredictable twists and lightening-speed plot."
The Guardian,