science fiction

The Official NOC #CrossLines Reading List

This has been up since May and I had no idea my book was on such a great list. Seriously, the company I’m keeping is far above my station. It also happens to be a kick-ass list for fiction by and about people of colour.

My only quibble is the link to my book leads to someone else’s book instead of mine. You can find mine here, or you can just click the link right here on my blog. You know, if you still care and all, seeing as this was posted in May and we’re in November. But some of you have Christmas presents to get right? Well, here’s a list full of good options. Go have fun with it!

thenerdsofcolor

This past weekend in Washington DC, the Smithsonian’s historic Arts & Industries building was home to the most important gathering of artists you have ever seen. The CrossLines pop-up culture lab on intersectionality brought together over 40 artists and scholars to explore race, gender, class, sexuality, religion, disability, etc.

I was fortunate enough to be invited and helped organize a Reading Lounge and live podcasts — while artist Matt Huynh painted a mural in real time the entire weekend. One of the questions I got asked the most was about the books we included, so after the jump you can find a complete list of books we had in the Lounge!

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NaNoWriMo And Piracity, Arrgh!

It’s been a while. Hope you guys behaved yourselves while I was gone.

Just a bit of news for those wondering what’s been happening since I last dropped by. I signed up for NaNoWriMo for only the second time in my life because I love deadlines and I really want to get this second book done. I’m hoping that being all public will make me push through to the end. Since this is the sequel to LEX TALIONIS, the sooner I have it in the can, the better. I totally got sidetracked by another book, but now that’s finished, time to refocus and try for the long haul.

I’ll be posting a synopsis, and excerpts as I go, to make sure I keep the writing juices flowing. I’d be delighted if anyone here reached out to me on the site and we hooked up as writing buddies for November. I’m MarenaCrewMember on the site, and if you read the excerpts, you’ll figure out what that means pretty quickly lol.

Another thing I’m involved in is an anthology called Piracity that’s been launched on Kickstarter. It’s being produced by Hugo Award winner Cheryl Morgan, in conjunction with Jo Hall and Roz Clarke. If it gets enough backers, you’ll have pirate stories of all genres from writers based in the UK and the Caribbean, and even further afield once funding is successful. Writers already attached include Karen Lord, Gareth L. Powell, Jonathan L. Howard, Stephanie Saulter, and yours truly. You can find out more about the project, including plans for more writers, by visiting the Kickstarter site.

Better yet, there’s currently a contest for the project where you dress like a pirate–or post a picture of a time you dressed like a pirate–and hashtag it #Piracity, and Cheryl and I get to award prizes to the best dressed. The contest ends soon, so enter as soon as you can.

I’ve already finished one story for the anthology, so be sure to back us if you can, or it will go to waste. And who wants to waste a good dragon pirate story, huh? Who?

dragon

I also have another story in case the first doesn’t pass muster, but that one’s set in space and features the Madinah warriors mentioned in LEX TALIONIS and–oh yeah–Shalon herself. It’s set between LEX TALIONIS and the sequel, IACTA ALEA EST, and yes, there’s space piracy.

So good luck at the start of a new NaNoWriMo and I hope I see you over on the site real soon. And be sure to drop by the Piracity Kickstarter and share the love. Because I really, really want to see what the other writers come up with and trust me, so do you.

Until then, stay thirsty, my friends.

A Few Good Women…

Earlier this year, Barnes and Noble did a great article featuring 7 speculative fiction books that feature strong female characters.

Is it exhaustive? By no means. But it has a nice mix of modern and classic and also had the good sense to include the queen of Caribbean speculative fiction, Nalo Hopkinson. Seriously, if you haven’t read ‘Midnight Robber’ you’ve…well, you’ve robbed yourself of something truly special.

See what I did there?

Pun Manatee animated GIF

Have fun with the list. I have it on good authority all the books are great, even the ones I haven’t read.

What are your favourite scifi or fantasy books with strong female leads? Sound off in the comments below. And if you buy and read (or already read) any of these, be sure to let me know what you think.

Stay thirsty, my friends!

SciFi From Around The World

There’s a cool article in the Guardian today for anyone looking for links so they can start reading scifi that isn’t default American/English.

Scifi from all corners of the globe has always been around, but recently some of those works have been hitting the mainstream, culminating in this year’s Hugo Awards, where the Chinese novel, The Three-Body Problem, walked away with Best Novel. There are so many stunning, unique, fascinating and entertaining stories out there now, coming from completely new and original points of view.

There are also writers, like myself, who take the old myths and legends, stir them up with beloved scifi troupes and try to find a story that’s fresh and unexpected in it.

The same thing is happening in Fantasy, and across spec fic. It’s been a long time coming, but we have spec fic in the Western world that’s beginning to show a little of the huge market that’s out there.

I think that’s cause for celebration, don’t you?

Dancing reaction gifs

Okay, maybe not quite like that…

Best part of this article for me is that a former OWW member, Aliette de Bodard, is mentioned. Hurrah for my writing workshop! For those of us who have been there forever, hurrah for the Zoo and the good old OWW! It’s amazing how many truly great writers have left the OWW and gone on to great things: CC Finlay, Elizabeth Bear, Aliette de Bodard, Jim Butcher, Rae Carson, Fran Wilde, N.K. Jemisin…the list goes on and on.

The great thing about these writers is they’re all doing their part to push against the boundaries and turn spec fic on it’s head in the best way possible. By giving a voice in the mainstream to those who had no place there before.

Congratulations to all you guys for being part of a revolution! This is only the beginning, because we have a lot more stories left to share and new writers all around the world popping up and joining the club every day. Welcome everyone, and congrats. Keep it coming!

Have a great weekend and stay thirsty, my friends.

14 Writers Who Rock

And who happen to be women.

Clapping reaction gifs

Huffington Post has an article about women who write scifi and fantasy and stand head and shoulders above all others. It’s not an exhaustive list, by any means, but it is a good place to start if you want to add to your list of great women writers.

I’m extremely pleased to see Nalo Hopkinson on the list. Her ‘Midnight Robber’ blew my mind when I first read it in school and I couldn’t understand, then or now, why it wasn’t required reading in our English classes. I haven’t been in a school in ages, so I’m hoping that has changed, but even if it hasn’t, here’s hoping it does eventually.

I have heard of Sophia Samatar, but my reading list is so far behind, it pains me to even look at it. At the moment, I’m reading Nnedi’s Who Fears Death and enjoying it, so at least there’s that.

Let me know who on the list is your favourite and why in the comment section.

Catch you on the flip-side!

Excerpt: IACTA ALEA EST – Mr. Gae Is Expecting You

A little bit of Shalon from the sequel to LEX TALIONIS, to keep you company as you go into the weekend.

Framed in that archway, directly across from the lift, stood a hovercar, its dark blue curves iridescent as a beetle’s wing.  Shalon strolled over to it, careful to keep her body as relaxed as possible.  She was almost to it when the back door on her side faded, letting out the smell of fresh car polish on a breath of cool air.  She recognized the form seated next to the opposite door, and climbed in without hesitation. 

The seat beneath her felt butter soft.  When the door solidified again, complete silence descended. A yellow light came on, illuminating the beige interior and the tinted panel in front of her that extended from floor to ceiling.  Shalon noted the not unexpected fact that there was no way to open the doors from the inside. 

“I didn’t expect such luxury,” she said to Luc, leaning back and wondering why the car had not moved yet.  She shifted so that her right side was turned toward him and kept her hands within easy reach of her gun-belt.  Remember, he isn’t Orgalian any longer.   

“Mr. Gae wished you to be comfortable.”  In one easy movement, Luc’s hand dipped into his sleeve and reappeared holding a small dark gun that Shalon recognized as far more deadly than its size would indicate.  “Perhaps you could start by removing your gun-belt.”  

Did you really expect anything less?  Shalon sighed.  “I’m very attached to these.  What if I just promised not to shoot Mr. Gae?” 

“They will be safe in my possession until I return them, should that become necessary.” 

Shalon arched an eyebrow.  “Not a betting man?” 

Luc did not reply, he just held the tiny gun in a very steady hand.  Salon slid the belt off and handed it over.  “Anything else?” 

“No need.”  Luc tapped at the door and a compartment eased open next to him.  He dropped the gun-belt in.  “You were scanned as you entered the vehicle.” 

Of course.  She watched as Luc returned the gun to his robe.  “So now what do we do?” 

He leaned forward and knocked once at the panel.  Shalon felt the smooth tilt of the vehicle rising and turning. “Now,” he replied, “we go to see Mr. Gae.” 

interesting animated GIF

Stay thirsty, my friends!

We Live In A Weird And Wonderful Universe

Once again, we’ve identified a new species of fish that seems to have been created just to give us nightmares.

Scary New Fish Discovered in Ocean Depths

This gorgeous George is apparently a ceratioid anglerfish. That funny looking glow-stick on its head is used to lure fish looking for nightclub to dance the night away into its jaws instead.

The diversity of life on this planet alone is just mind-boggling to me. It’s one of my favourite things about world-building in my novels, by the way. Using the explosion of life on Earth to inspire creatures and aliens in my stories. I figure, as weird as this world and its inhabitants are, you can never go to far in imagining worlds that are even stranger.

So the next time you’re thinking about where you want to set your story, challenge yourself. Look up the bacteria, flora and fauna that populate our world. Branch off of that and take it to the next level. Go crazy. Get inspired.

And then get to writing. ‘Cause that’s the best part.

Yes reaction gifs

Stay thirsty, my friends!

You Haven’t Seen Snowpiercer Yet? Say It Ain’t So!

Because that movie rocks. It literally rocks. When did you last see a movie that uses horror to highlight social injustice in an entertaining and thoughtful way?

South Korean and Australian cinema, particularly the thrillers and horrors, have become my new favourite source for good movies. When I saw the trailer for Snowpiercer I knew I was going to see it. I even posted it on here as one of my must-see trailers. But the movie itself turned out to be far better than I expected. It was one of the best I saw last year. I reminded me of some of the other great South Korean movies I’ve seen, like ‘The Host’, and those I plan to see, like ‘Mother’.

I started thinking about the movie again today because I came upon this article which mentions the scientific concept used to such great effect in Snowpiercer. It nicely breaks down the premise and it’s possible effects. Which is damn scary, frankly. Especially since China is doing this already.

Was also explaining 3D printing to my Dad on the way to work this morning. He was fascinated by it, and totally got how much the method would strengthen certain constructs, like spaceship parts.

Some days I’m just struck by how much future-world we’re living in. Mostly, it’s not the one we expected. But I think that’s because growing up alongside technology makes it seem much more mundane than it really is. I love that about life, actually. In my writing, I like trying to capture how tech is just no big deal to the world now, while at the same time being pretty amazing. I mean, think about trying to explain the stuff we use today to someone born 100 years ago. Insane, right? In one hundred years, the advances we’ve made have been incredible in some areas. Sadly, once you step out of the arena of technology, we still have a lot of stuff to work on. Right, Emma Watson?

But yeah, this is a strange and wonderful future we live in. Hope we make the right choices so we can advance together from here. Some days, I’m not sure we will. Other days, I think it will all work itself out somehow.

Either way, I think we’re all in for a wild ride.

And much like the residents of Snowpiercer, we’d better make sure we’re on a train we can all live with.

An Announcement for the Trinis

Hey! I’ve been a bit too tired this week to blog, but I thought I’d just make a little announcement.

LEX TALIONIS is currently available for sale at RIK Bookstores Limited in Trinidad. I’m in my local bookstores!

Nailed it amazed excited reaction gifs

 

I know right? Crazy!

Anyway, if you’re a Trini, or you plan to be in Trinidad any time soon, please feel free to head on down to your local RIK and pick up a copy of my science fiction mystery, LEX TALIONIS. It’s already sold out in some locations, but there are still copies to be had at Trincity, Price Plaza, Gulf City and Port-of-Spain.

If you go to a location and there aren’t any copies, please let the staff know you want a copy so that they will order more. I’d appreciate that simple act because it will help support a local author (me!) by making it more likely that RIK will bring in another shipment. Also, if you really want your copy now, you can ask the staff to tell you where copies are available so that you can purchase the book at another branch.

Thanks in advance for all the support, and if you do buy a copy, be sure to let me know in the comments. Who knows? I might just make arrangements to autograph it for you! Just drop me a line in the comments.