In her latest work, “Remote Control,” author Nnedi Okorafor notes the 2020 pandemic in passing, referring to it as a moment in history that’s being recalled years later in a fictional future.

The award-winning author of the Binti trilogy, the Akata series and works such as “Lagoon” and “Who Fears Death,” Okorafor was finishing up edits on “Remote Control” during a COVID-19 lockdown.

“I had that thing that almost every science fiction writer who is writing something set in the future has to contend with,” says Okorafor by phone from Chicago, referring to how a frequent premise of science fiction — a pandemic — had become a reality. “This is not science fiction anymore; this is now. So any futures that we’re writing have to include this.”

Science fiction, its fans and readers might argue, has been calling our attention to problems that are on the horizon for a long time.

“That’s one of the functions of it,” says Okorafor, adding with a chuckle. “There are times where I’m just like, ‘Didn’t you all see this coming? You really didn’t see that coming?’ Come on, it’s been written about how many times.”

“It’s amazing how much they got right,” she says of pandemic fiction.

The prolific Okorafor, who refers to the category of African-centered science-fiction she writes as Africanfuturism, currently has a number of projects in the works. A Hulu adaptation of “Binti” was announced in January, and she’s also adapting Octavia Butler’s “Wild Seed” for Amazon Studios.

Meanwhile, the third book in Okorafor’s Akata series, which she wrote during the pandemic, is in the editing process ahead of its publication. “I didn’t expect to write it until about now,” she says. But when COVID-19 disrupted her traveling schedule, she needed to “use that energy” for something else. “I just used it for creating,” she says, “and now, I’ve created a lot in a short period of time because of not being able to travel.”

In “Remote Control,” published last month by Tor, a young girl in Ghana finds a green seed after a meteor shower. The discovery of the object, which becomes her prized possession, leads to a string of life-changing events as the child comes to realize that she has an immense power that will make her both feared and revered.

The character, who is known first as Fatima and then as Sankofa after her transformation, has been in Okorafor’s head for over six years.

“My characters talk to me,” Okorafor says. “Over the years, she’s spoken to me a lot and we’ve had a lot of conversations and she’s told me her story.”

In time, Sankofa’s story, which involves a quest, painful loss and the development of great power, revealed itself to the author.

“I’ve written many novels now, many stories, and because of that experience I’ve learned to kind of relax and let the characters be who they are and let the stories be what they will be,” says Okorafor. “By the time I got to writing her and her story, I knew to relax even with the things that made me uncomfortable, because there are a lot of things in this novella that are really uncomfortable and disturbing.”

Okorafor notes that even some of the smaller moments in the book were difficult. She recalls a scene when Fatima’s brother asks her to hold a wasp as he watches her reaction to pain. “That was tough to write and tough to not insert a parent coming there and telling him to stop it,” she says.

As the character transforms into Sankofa, she is sought out to help end the suffering of loved ones. “It could have easily gone the usual way, which is she could have become evil,” says Okorafor. “She could have become this evil creature that’s lurking the road. She could have found some way to kill herself. There are all kinds of ways it could have gone.”

Okorafor adds, “In this case, she learns how to embrace it, which was a really big thing for me, just learning how to embrace this thing that is yours, even if it’s this ugly thing on the surface.”

While “Remote Control” is a fast read, Okorafor packs in a lot of layers of meaning. “I think a lot about the ways that stories are consumed,” she says. “I’ve always been interested in the power of the spoken word and the power of the written word and how they play against each other.”

While speculating about the future does have its challenges, Okorafor is ready for them.

“It’s sending things in a different direction and I find that interesting,” she says. “It is additional work. It does feel like things are kind of slippery. It’s slipping between your fingers it’s hard to grasp, but I find that exciting.”