South of the Mason-Dixon lurks a strange world of gods and monsters born of years of slavery, civil war, innocent blood, hate and strife. The daughter of a poor black sharecropper, Lee Wagstaff, joins a blues-singing swamp monster name Bayou on a southern odyssey through a mythic combination of depression era Mississippi, African mythology and American folklore in order to rescue her childhood friend and save her father's life.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
CBS fiction recommendations for American Indian Heritage month
the following speculative fiction books by writers of First Nations/Native American heritage
for American Indian Heritage Month:
THE WAY OF THORN AND THUNDER trilogy, Daniel Heath Justice
This trilogy speculatively re-imagines the Cherokee history of removal and relocation and redefines European fantastical tropes using Cherokee-centered imagery and worldviews.
GREEN GRASS, RUNNING WATER Thomas King
A funny, sad, gorgeous story that ties together a contemporary narrative about Indians living on Canada's prairies with slightly skewed creation myths and accounts of the historical horrors endured by First Nations people during the continent's European colonization.
THE BALLAD OF BILLY BADASS AND THE ROSE OF TURKESTAN, William Sanders
A wry love story that also incorporates critiques of nuclear testing and dumping on Native lands.
EAST OF THE SUN AND WEST OF FORT SMITH, William Sanders
A collection of short stories from Sanders' entire career. You can see some of his best here, including the alternate history "The Undiscovered," in which a shanghaied, shipwrecked Shakespeare is trapped in 16th Century Appalachia and must stage his plays among the Cherokee, and the near-future "When the World is All on Fire" when climate change and toxic waste have caused Indian reservations to become prime property again.
ALMANAC OF THE DEAD, Leslie Marmon Silko
Silko uses magical realism to chronicle numerous characters' journeys toward the prophetic, violent end of white dominance in the Americas.
TANTALIZE, Cynthia Leitich Smith
A departure from Smith's previous, realistic Indian YA stories, this YA novel jumps onto the vampire bandwagon, this time in a vampire-themed restaurant in Texas.
THE BONE WHISTLE, Eva Swan (Erzebet Yellowboy)
The Bone Whistle is about a woman who discovers her true heritage. She is the child of a wanaghi, one of the creatures of Native-American folklore.
THE NIGHT WANDERER, Drew Hayden Taylor
A gothic young adult vampire story.
THE LESSER BLESSED, Richard Van Camp
A coming-of-age story of a native Canadian boy obsessed with Iron Maiden. Has elements of magical realism.
BEARHEART: THE HEIRSHIP CHRONICLES, Gerald Vizenor
Perhaps the first Native American science fiction, this is a journey through a dystopian future United States destroyed by the collapse of the fuel supply.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Ex-pat Canadian Gord Sellar, living in Korea, has a series of blog posts about his explorations into science fiction in Korea:
A couple of webzines...have been supporting the publication of Korean authors and translators of SF, especially shorter SF, and in some cases seemingly paved the way for these people to secure book publication deals.
In this August 2008 article in Business Daily, Ng'ang'a ponders science fiction by African writers:
I wonder why science fiction has not taken root among African writers. During the early part of the 20th century, Africa was a popular setting for foreign science fiction writers. The continent has since lost its edge, as the unexplored home of exotic, strange and previously undiscovered creatures, to the outer space. A few Africans have since endeavoured to create African-inspired science fiction.
Labels: African science fiction
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The concept behind Think Ups is simple: the Neighborhoodies staff chooses one blogger, writer, artist, or all-around cool person a week, and asks them to come up with one pop culture-referencing t-shirt idea a day, for one week.
All proceeds from the io9 Think Ups line will go to the Carl Brandon Society, an amazing foundation whose mission is to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the production of and audience for speculative fiction. Join us by rockin' an awesome Think Up tee!
Visit Neighborhoodies to view & purchase io9's Think Up shirts.
Friday, November 07, 2008
This week, Publishers' Weekly posted the list of books it has judged the best of 2008. Among the works of the fantastic on the list by writers of colour are books by Amitav Ghosh, Jaime Hernandez, the CBS's own Nisi Shawl, and others.
Publishers' Weekly says:
Once again, we take the opportunity near year's end to review the year in books, highlighting the very best of what American publishing* had to offer in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, comics, religion, lifestyle and children's. There were the authors we expected to deliver, and they did.
Congratulations to everyone on the list. Some of the titles:
Sea of Poppies
Amitav Ghosh (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Diaspora, myth and a fascinating language mash-up propel the Rubik's cube of plots in Ghosh's picaresque epic. The cast is marvelous and the plot majestically serpentine, but the real hero is the English language, which has rarely felt so alive and vibrant.
Nisi Shawl (Aqueduct)
Shawl's exquisitely rendered debut collection weaves threads of folklore, religion, family and the search for a cohesive self through a panorama of race, magic and the body.
The Education of Hopey Glass
Jaime Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
Perpetual punk Hopey Glass must face the loss of her ambitions in yet another stunning book from Hernandez.
Yuichi Yokoyama (Picturebox)
A train journey becomes a madly energetic blueprint for an alternate reality in this abstract, experimental manga.
*It's not all American publishing. The non-SF/F graphic novel Skim, by Canadians Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki, was published by Groundwood Books, based in my home city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Look for more of Jillian Tamaki's work in Hiromi Goto's forthcoming fantasy novel Half World, a January 2009 release.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Nnedimma Okorafor and Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka
This is the second year that the biennial prize, first awarded by the Lumina Foundation in 2006, has been given. From 126 entries the judges chose three finalists: Beast of The Nation, by Uzodinma Iweala; The Weaving Looms, by Wale Okediran; and Zahrah The Windseeker, by Nnedimma Okorafor.
From the Foundation's website:
The Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa was established by The Lumina Foundation in 2005. It was conceived as a very prestigious prize in honour of Africa's first Nobel Laureate in literature to celebrate excellence in all its cerebral grace, its liberating qualities, the honour and recognition it brings to a myriad of people, of diverse cultures and languages. This prize honours people who have used their talents well enough to affect others positively. It honours Africa's great writers and causes their works to be appreciated. It celebrates excellent writing, promotes scholarship and makes books available and affordable by subsidizing the publication of books in the top list of the judges. This is a pan African prize, viewed also as Africa's NOBEL prize. It unifies Africans, celebrates Africa's great minds, brings home Africa's best intellectuals as judges, entertainers, great communicators and leaders in their own rights.
Primarily I'm obsessed with entertaining the reader. I really want to make sure they always get a rip roaring, fast read, b/c it's what I bloody well want more of as a reader myself! ... But underneath I try to pack in a lot of stuff under the surface.