In The News

2017 Awards Eligibility

I’ve never done this before, so I’ll just jump right into it.

Hi, my writing name is R.S.A. Garcia and I have a story eligible for awards this year.

You can read ‘The Bois’ for free at this link.

Really nice people said some really nice things about the story here and here.

There’s a great list of everything published by black authors in 2017 here, which I’m on.

I’m also on the recommended reading list for the Nebulas.

I would love it if you read my story. If you’re a voting member for speculative fiction writing awards and you like it, please consider voting for it.

Thanks for stopping by!

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I’m On the Nebula Awards Recommended Reading List!

The title says it all!

I’m so shocked and SO SO HAPPY!

You can click on this link to see my name up in lights with all the other writers, a lot of whom I admire and can’t believe I’m keeping company with!

I’m recommended reading!

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Me!

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No idea how it happened, but I’m taking it!

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(P.S. apologies for all the exclamation points and gifs, but yeah…you know how it is… ūüôā

 

 

 

 

 

Shaken, Not Stirred

Yesterday I was curled up in a chair, ignoring my finicky WiFi and playing Farm Heroes on my phone – which has it’s own internet – when I got momentarily dizzy and thought I felt my armchair shake.

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Turns out I was right. Around 11am, we did in fact experience an earthquake. A 5.7 to be exact. Nowhere near enough for most Trinis to notice. I was sitting down, and I always feel them anyway, but my bush-men, who were outside trimming the yard, felt nothing.

I find it odd that in Trinidad we have had up to a 6.7 and had only cracks to a few houses in some parts of the island. Most of the times, if it’s less than 6.0, we might not feel it, and there’s never any damage. This when anything over a 5.5 can cause damage in most other countries. I wonder if it’s because other countries are more densely populated and, therefore, there are more buildings to be damaged.

Which is not to say we’re nonchalant about earthquakes. Quite the opposite. Trinis HATE when the Earth shakes. It panics us the way rain panics Bajans.

What we’re nonchalant about is hurricanes.

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Yep. We’re that crazy.

We live in a hurricane belt but remain convinced that since we haven’t been directly hit since before they started keeping records, we’re pretty much safe from storms. Part of that is due to the fact that the Northern Range of mountains tends to push storms north of us. The rest, if you ask anyone, is because, ‘God is ah Trini’.

Considering the way the weather has changed in my region over the last ten years, I really hope so. Because as another disaster slips past us without taking us down, I breathe a sign of relief while simultaneously thinking, how long can we stay lucky?

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And looking around at the devastation wrought in the Caribbean this year alone, I hope it’s a really, really long time.

 

New Caribbean Beat Magazine Interview!

Hope you’ve all been behaving yourself while I’m away, putting the final scenes in my latest book.

Remember I mentioned some good things were coming up for me soon? Well, one of them just dropped.

Caribbean Beat magazine, the free in-flight magazine for Caribbean Airlines–one of the largest carriers in the Caribbean–interviewed me a while back. The interview is in the new March/April issue. This one is important to me because it’s a special article about the rise of speculative fiction in the Caribbean and several authors were interviewed. I got to keep company (again!) with Nalo Hopkinson, Tobias Buckell and Karen Lord.

How lucky does one girl get, right?

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You can read the interview here.

Hope you enjoy the article. Feel free to let me know what you think by leaving a comment, or contacting me via the ‘Say Hello’ form on this website.

Stay thirsty, my friends, and see you soon!

A Film Festival And A Dance Battle

Found this great roundup of the recently concluded Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival (ttff).

Great to see the films being appreciated, but even better to hear sound critical advice. Yes, our film-makers need to come from a more critical place, especially when making documentaries. We are presenting positive overviews right now, but I suspect as the industry matures, creators will worry less about offending sensibilities and start doing more to reflect the realities of the Caribbean experience, and start conversations we need to have before we chart our future.

I also came across this amazing dance battle on Twitter yesterday, filmed at the Montreal Swing Riot by Alain Wong. Street dancers faced¬†off against vintage/swing dancers and the results were magical. It’s a bit long, but you won’t regret watching the whole thing.

Keep dancing your cares away, my friends!

Is There Anybody Out There…?

So scientists may have found a giant object in space, which could only have been built by another civilization.

I mean, can you believe¬†it? In this lifetime? That we may have finally found something–someone–completely alien to us?

Sure, it could also be a spectacular cloud of dust, but who the hell really wants THAT to be true?

A Dyson sphere…a real Dyson sphere…

It’s news that ran up my spine and around my brain. Sure, if it is the ultimate–another species and an advanced one at that–it could good news or bad news for us. But frankly I’ll take it just to see humanity discover that it’s not alone before I close my eyes and leave this rock for good.

I mean…can you IMAGINE?!

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A Talk And An Award

* Edit:  It appears I got my history a bit wrong. Marlon James is the first Jamaican to win the Man Booker. However, the first Caribbean national to win it appears to have been V.S. Naipaul. It just so happens he was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago! 

Yesterday I had a great time giving an informal talk about speculative fiction and what it takes to be a writer to the 6th Form students at St. Augustine Secondary School. I also read a bit from one of my current shorts, Wire and Blood.

The school was newly built, the library really nice–just like the librarians–and best of all, it was air-conditioned!

This was my first class of teenagers. I’ve given talks with teenagers present before, and even younger children, but not an entire class of them. I was delighted to meet a room full of intelligent, open, enthusiastic young men and women who needed no prompting to ask questions or react to what I was saying. In short, they were a great audience that gave me lots of energy, and I hope I was able to give them some insight and inspiration.

Here’s me accepting their wonderful tokens at the end of the talk. I made out like a bandit with stuff that included a new book and writing materials. I hope the librarian remembers to tell them how much I appreciated it!

St. Augustine Secondary Talk

On another note, I just read that the Man Booker Prize has been won today by a Caribbean national for the first time! Jamaican writer Marlon James bested the competition with A Brief History of Seven Killings. I’ve been hearing about how wonderful this book is since the Bocas Lit Festival put him on the short list for the OCM Bocas Lit Prize.

Scratch that–I heard about this book long before that, through an article in Caribbean Beat Magazine just before it debuted. It’s in my very large to be read pile, I’m sad to say, but I’m delighted that the Caribbean has another great author to celebrate, and a young one too. Jamaica to the World!

Congratulations, Marlon! Thanks for raising we nose!

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Stay thirsty, my friends!

The New York Times Is Loving Our Food!

Here we go in the New York Times again!

This lovely little article about a Trinbagonian family cooking and living in New York has definitely captured the essence of us.

We are no faded copy of any¬†‘mother’ country. Trinidad and Tobago is a blend of races and foods uniquely its own, and like all other places, we like food the way we like it.¬†Our curry is not like India’s, but¬†in a really good way according to most visitors. Many Trinis will tell you stories of traveling abroad and missing roti, especially if they’re an East Indian family. I spent two weeks in Barbados once and almost cried when I was able to come home and eat doubles lol. I love travel and I love to try new foods (another Trinbagonian trait), but after a while, you just want a good souse or plum chow and you can’t get that the same way anywhere else but home.

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Speaking for the islands though, when it comes to Caribbean food, there are ideas people have about us that are mostly wrong, so two hints. One, we wash most¬†meats with vinegar and/or lime and water to cut the gamey taste (a lot less with pork¬†though). Two, we don’t really roll savory foods in coconut flakes. We use coconut milk in everything, and put flakes in dessert, but coconut shrimp is NOT Caribbean.

What’s your favourite cuisine and what do other countries¬†get wrong about it?

Growing A Penis At Twelve

Yes, you read that right. In the Dominican Republic, there is a small town where many men first present as girls when they are born, and grow a penis later, during the onset of puberty.

The absolutely fascinating article above explains it has to do with a deficiency in a certain enzyme that affects the conversion of testosterone in the womb.

What’s truly amazing is that because of this discovery, the pharmaceutical company, Merck, was able to develop a drug that has been successful in treating issues like benign enlargement of the prostate.

It never ceases to surprise me how much we still have to learn about ourselves. Often, the frontiers outside take up most of our attention. We marvel at space, at the oceans, at the animal kingdom. But we fool ourselves that we know and understand our own bodies, for the most part, when this is so not the case.

We even have a habit of ignoring information that doesn’t fit into society’s common understanding of human development and biology. For example, research has has turned up the fact that our sex chromosomes can be a bit sloppy when sharing genetic information. That can lead to a situation where someone can develop¬†as a¬†male, but be genetically female.¬†And as it turns out, sex determination varies widely in humans and across the plant and animal world. Even more shocking, our entire understanding of the X and Y chromosomes and the part they play in gender determination is wrong. This article touches on some of the misinformation that has been spreading in¬†science classes¬†for generations.¬†Yet I’ve seen none of this on the weekend news, or in the pages of newspapers.

That’s mind-boggling when you consider the implications for gender and the way humans develop. This article¬†explains most of the new research and its ground-breaking discovers. For one, there’s the fact that mothers sometimes trade genetic material with the boys they carry in the womb and retain them, essentially testing male after birth. And science has proven there is not just male and female–there is a literal sex spectrum.¬†Gender is, biologically, far more varied than we ever thought or taught.

Since I happen to be building a world where gender and magic are interrelated, all of this¬†has inspired me hugely. Each new day brings new frontiers in our understanding of ourselves. I can’t help thinking it’s a great time to be a speculative fiction writer.

The sky is nowhere near the limit.

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The New York Times Mentioned Trinidad and Tobago!

It was no big deal though. Just a bit in their travel section about the new hiking trails we opened, but at least we were in their headline.

Still, we tiny nations so seldom get into the news I was quite proud to see us listed there.

Now, if only we could get this kind of recognition for Carnival. That’s when tourists would really enjoy us. Just ask Nikki.

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Have a good weekend and remember to have one on me guys!