(Two of the texts we read in acquiring stories for our The Weird antho–now coming out in 2011. Yes, that’s right–Jazz and Palm Wine is an antho of fiction from African nation writers, mostly non-genre, that has a spaceship on the cover! The Japanese antho is an awesome collection from the University of Hawaii Press–their books are highly recommended.)
I need a week off of the internet. Writing fiction is deeply immersive, and the computer and smart phone are fragmenting me too much. So, I’m out of reach of modern tech for a week (if you need urgently to reach me, do so through Ann or the contact form on this site).
Some great stuff is happening that I’ll talk about more when I get back, like Shared Worlds getting an Amazon grant. I’m also really happy about things like the second Apex Book of World SF and discovering this Muslim Steampunk site. Growing up on tales of the exploits of Saladin against the crusaders—which naturally dovetailed while living in Fiji with a disdain for the missionary impulse and our family’s own rebellion against fundamentalist forebears—I got a sudden surge of excitement at the idea of writers using such a rich heritage as a way to come at Steampunk from a radically different direction. It also brought back great memories of reading John Julius Norwich’s books on Byzantium, which do a great job of placing the crusades in the context of Saladin, the effect on the Byzantines, etc.
Mixed in with all of this, too, has been a feeling of being blessed to be writing at a time when there are so many new writers, international/multicultural, engaging with and working in non-realistic modes of fiction. This is all very welcome new energy and new emphasis—-and it, along with what seems like a nascent resurgence of interest in non-traditional narratives from a variety of sources, is a source of rejuvenation for me after a very tough 18 months of deadlines and hard slogs on various projects.
So, now I’m gone for a week…In the meantime, I’d like to know about your most surprising read. Which is to say, in a good way. What book just amazed you and you just weren’t expecting it. As with my prior post, somebody’ll have a box of books shipped to them. (And that person from the last one is: Laura Clemmons.)