Apex Book of World SF 2 contributor Ivor Hartmann has edited the first anthology of speculative fiction by African writers, AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers. It covers writers from both Africa and the African diaspora. It will be released in December 2012 in an ebook edition first and later a print edition, published by StoryTime. It also includes stories from Apex Book of World SF 2 contributors Tade Thompson and Nnedi Okorafor.
- ‘Moom!’ Nnedi Okorafor
- ‘Home Affairs’ Sarah Lotz
- ‘Five Sets of Hands’ Cristy Zinn
- ‘New Mzansi’ Ashley Jacobs
- ‘Azania’ Nick Wood
- ‘Notes from Gethsemane’ Tade Thompson
- ‘Planet X’ Sally Partridge
- ‘The Gift of Touch’ Chinelo Onwualu
- ‘The Foreigner’ Uko Bendi Udo
- ‘Angel Song’ Dave-Brendon Burgh
- ‘The Rare Earth’ Biram Mboob
- ‘Terms & Conditions Apply’ Sally-Ann Murray
- ‘Heresy’ Mandisi Nkomo
- ‘Closing Time’ Liam Kruger
- ‘Masquerade Stories’ Chiagozie Fred Nwonwu
- ‘The Trial’ Joan De La Haye
- ‘Brandy City’ Mia Arderne
- ‘Ofe!’ Rafeeat Aliyu
- ‘Claws and Savages’ Martin Stokes
- ‘To Gaze at the Sun’ Clifton Gachagua
- ‘Proposition 23’ (Novelette) Efe Okogu
The Carl Brandon Society has announced that Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord and Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor are the 2010 Carl Brandon Awards winners. Redemption in Indigo won the Carl Brandon Parallax Award, given to works of speculative fiction created by a self-identified person of color, and Who Fears Death was awarded the Carl Brandon Kindred Award, given to any work of speculative fiction dealing with issues of race and ethnicity. Each award winner will receive a $1000 cash prize. The awards will be presented at Worldcon in Chicago, August 30 – September 3, 2012. Carl Brandon Awards nominations are openthrough September 5, 2012 for works written in 2011.
Congratulations to WSB contributor Karen Lord, and Apex Book of World SF 2 contributor Nnedi Okorafor!
The Nebula Awards, given out by the Science Fiction Writers of America, have announced their shortlist for the year, recognising Ken Liu (novella and short story), Aliette de Bodard (short story) and Nnedi Okorafor (YA novel).
ETA: Cheryl Morgan points out Tom Crosshill (nominated for short story) is from Latvia. We’ll see if we can’t catch him for an interview later in the month!
A full list of nominees is here.
de Bodard is a contributor to the first Apex Book of World SF; Okorafor to The Apex Book of World SF 2. Liu has been active not only as a writer but a translator of short SF from the Chinese – we ran his translation of Ma Boyong’s The City of Silence recently.
Lovecrat was a racist. That should come as no surprise to anyone who has read about him. He was also a knot of contradictions (not only because he married a Jewish woman after railing against Jewish people), which is no excuse, it’s just fact. I won’t even bother with the product-of-his-time thing because he was, and yeah. Lovecraft’s fears about everything (and boy, he had a number of fears) were channeled into his stories, so that it becomes pretty obvious that he didn’t like people who looked like me (“Red Hook” anyone?).
But just because Lovecraft was one way it doesn’t mean we have to be the same way. This is the mantra behind Innsmouth Free Press, where we’ve had a multi-cultural issue(Ekaterina Sedia, Charles R. Saunders and others contributed to it) and now two anthologies (Historical Lovecrat and Future Lovecraft) with writers from more than a dozen countries, some of them translated into English. The latest anthology, for example, has contributors from places like Nigeria, the Philippines and Germany. And the stories and poems are not about polite gentlemen from New England. “Tloque Nahuaque,” translated from the Spanish by me and penned by Nelly Geraldine Garcia-Rosas, puts the Higgs boson debate in a decidedly Mexican context (Tloque Nahuaque refers to a Prehispanic deity).
When Paula R. Stiles and I read slush, we still find a lot of stories that try to emulate Lovecraft by placing the tales in New England, with upper-crust white men as protagonists. During our Historical Lovecraft submissions period we got a big wave of the Victorian white gentleman, which caused me to blog about this and request more stories that veered from that narrow location and era because, hell, who wants to read an anthology called Historical Lovecraft and find out all we are representing is Boston 1880 to 1910? Instead, we managed to obtain some colonial Mexico and a bit of Egypt, among other things.
So what I don’t want to see with this debate is minority writers saying “shucks, I’ll never write a Lovecraft story because he was a racist asshole.” Because Lovecraft does raise interesting points and you can construct a refreshing dialogue by taking his settings, characters, idea or the like, and adapting them to your needs. If we don’t go there and start creating our own stories upon those Lovecraftian shores, nobody else will. – read the full post, with comments.
Nnedi Okorafor Joins World SF Travel Fund Board
Award winning Nigerian-American author Nnedi Okorafor joins the board of the World SF Travel Fund. Lavie Tidhar will step down from the board but will remain in his capacity as administrator.
Okorafor joins Lauren Beukes, Aliette de Bodard, Ekaterina Sedia and Cheryl Morgan. The board is tasked with selecting and approving future candidates to be granted assistance from the fund.
The World SF Travel Fund has been set up to enable one international person involved in science fiction, fantasy or horror to travel to a major genre event. The first recipient of the grant is Charles A. Tan, from the Philippines, who will travel to the World Fantasy Convention 2011 in San Diego.
The Fund has set up a Peerbackers Project with the hope of raising $6000, enabling two years of running. Over $4000 have already been raised.
For inquiries and further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Nnedi Okorafor is interviewed by Sentinel Nigeria, by Unoma Azuah:
UA: Do you find it ironic that Nigerians especially at home have not quite caught up with engaging the fantasy genre considering the fact that the African cosmology is all about the flight of imagination. We’re all about the mystical. For instance in Africa, ancestors – the dead mingle with the living, there is the belief in reincarnation, persons can transform into reptiles or animals, etc.
Nnedi: The fantastic and mystical have always been part of Nigerian writing because it is part of Nigerian cultures. However, openly proclaiming a story to be fantasy is something that is rarely done. For example, Ben Okri’s work is fantasy but instead people avoid this label by calling it “magical realism.” I think some still feel that “fantasy” can never stand up to works of realism by great authors like Chinua Achebe or Buchi Emecheta or even with recent phenomenon writers. Also, I suspect that there can be religious barriers sometimes. Those African cosmologies you mention are indeed there in the background, but sometimes Islam and Christianity block their uninhibited full expression. – continue reading.
Samuel Montgomery-Blinn interviews Nnedi Okorafor for the SFWA Blog. Here’s an excerpt:
Sexism and racism, particularly ethnicism, play a part in much of your fiction, and your fiction has been recognized and awarded for its treatment of these themes and issues. Do these themes come from placing your characters in a realistic world where such struggles exist, or do the themes come first, and the characters are those which fit what you are trying to say?
My characters always come first. You can’t have a plot if you don’t know who is going to move through it. Onyesonwu came to me way before her story did. The first scene I wrote was the first scene of the novel. No outline, no nothing. Just Onyesonwu at her father’s burial and some madness happens. The themes and issues came organically as I wove her story. I had no clue that I would write this type of novel until I wrote it.
As far as the realism, that is something you’ll always find in what I write. In Who Fears Death, the Golden Rule of sorcerers is to, “let the eagle and the hawk perch” That’s a central belief in Igbo (Nigerian) traditional spirituality and I deeply believe in it. The phrase can mean, “live and let live.”Or it can mean, “Let all spiritualities/religions coexist” It can mean, “Let the mundane world exist with the spiritual realm.”Realism and fantasy coexist in my world and in my stories.
The Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) have just announced the nominated works for their annual Nebula Awards. French author, and Apex Book of World SF contributor Aliette de Bodard is nominated for Best Novelette, with “The Jaguar House, in Shadow”, from Asimov’s, while the forthcoming Apex Book of World SF 2 Indian contributor Shweta Narayan is also nominated for Best Novelette, with “Pishaach” from the Beastly Bride anthology. And Apex Book of World SF 2 contributor, Nigerian-American writer Nnedi Okorafor, is nominated for her novel Who Fears Death.
The Apex Book of World SF 2 will be published later this year.
In addition, huge congratulations are due to our publishers, Apex Book Company, for having two stories on the ballot this year: Lebanese-Canadian writer Amal El-Mohtar‘s “The Green Book” (published at Apex Online) is up for Best Short Story, alongside Jennifer Peland‘s “Ghosts of New York” (published in Apex anthology Dark Faith).
This is probably the most diverse short-list in the award’s recent history – congratulations to all the nominees and to the SFWA!
Over at Amazon’s blog, Omnivoracious, Matthew Cheney interviews Nnedi Okorafor. Here’s an excerpt:
Amazon.com: Sure, that makes a lot of sense. Now, to completely change topics, I’d like to talk about a particular section of the book. The Red People live in the eye of a perpetual storm — it’s an extraordinary image, and it conveys a lot about both the attraction and peril of a group sealing themselves off from the world. How did the concept of the Red People occur to you?
Okorafor: Honestly, I don’t know. I do know that once in Nigeria — no twice, at two different times — I saw a woman walking down the road who was African looking but her skin was just…red. I don’t know if these two women had rubbed palm oil on their skin or something but their brown skin had this very strong tint of red. Both women were really beautiful. Over the years, I’ve thought about these two random women a lot. I’ve asked relatives and Nigerian friends if they’ve ever seen such women, the only person who had was my sister Ifeoma (who was there when we saw the first red woman). When something fascinates me it almost always makes it into my stories.
As for the culture of the Red People, that just came as I was writing. That’s one of those writer things where the story blows in from some other place and you just write it down. Even the giant sandstorm they live within, I don’t know where that came from (though I do have a fascination with violent winds- tornadoes, hurricanes, sandstorms, etc) but once it was there, the metaphor made so much sense to me.
Nevertheless, I believe that much of the Red People’s culture came from some of my own views. I believe our society has too many labels that are rigid and cause problems for families. I feel like we focus more on fitting labels than cultivating and nurturing love. And I also believe that those who are different, those who are “other” often have to hide, “contain” and separate themselves in order to survive.
In my novel, Who Fears Death, there is a scene where some girls are…cut. In this future world, the mythos behind the practice has been forgotten but a girl is still expected to have the cliterectomy done. If it is not done, then the girl is not considered marriageable. Still, no girl is forced. It is her choice to have it done. ;-). Clean medical tools are used and the girls receive proper medical care afterwards. In other words, in this African future, girls do not die from this practice as they do today. The scene strips the practice down to exactly what it is.
Back in the early stages of this novel, I workshopped this scene in my novel writing class during my PhD program. My class was all white, from what I recall. After reading it, two women became particularly upset with me. During the critque, I sat there quiet as they accused me of defending female genital cutting. I guess they wanted me to demonize the culture and shout “Barbaric! Barbaric people! Look at what they are doing to their girls and women!” Over the years, the circumcision scene in Who Fears Death has not changed much. So now here I am being accused of the opposite, publically disrespecting traditional African culture.