Nick Wood – February 2009

This month I'm listing recommended readings from the Carl Brandon Society: http://www.carlbrandon.org. The Society has recommended a variety of speculative fiction books written by writers of 'African descent' - I've started the anthology written by Nisi Shawl , called Filter House , which is engaging, interesting and varied in both the tone and content of its stories. I've just bought the Nalo Hopkinson book listed and have also thoroughly enjoyed the works of Carole McDonnell and Nnedi Okorafor, so it's a worthy list in a field that seems to enjoy copious lists of note.

As quoted: THE CARL BRANDON SOCIETY recommends these books of speculative fiction by writers of African descent for Black History Month 2009, with descriptions from our members:

  • Dark Matter: A Century Of Speculative Fiction From The African Diaspora by Sheree R. Thomas, ed.: It’s an important book because it shows that people of color were indeed represented in the speculative literature world back in the day, something I frankly didn’t realize until I read the book. I’m sure the book will do the same for many others.

  • Sly Mongoose by Tobias S. Buckell: Fourteen-year-old Timas lives in a domed city that floats above the acidic clouds of the Venus-like planet Chilo. To make a living Timas is lowered to the surface in an armored suit to scavenge what he can in the unbearable pressure of Chilo’s dangerous surface, where he’ll learn a secret that may offer hope to a planet about to be invaded.

  • Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler: A different take on the vampire novel.

  • The Good House by Tananarive Due: The story of a house, magic, and pure terror. I loved every scary moment of reading this book.

  • Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson: Caribbean folk in space, coming of age, magnificent aliens, how "reality" becomes folk tales. Magnificent.

  • The Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor: When fifteen-year old Ejii witnesses her father’s beheading, her world shatters. In an era of mind-blowing technology and seductive magic, Ejii embarks on a mystical journey to track down her father’s killer. With a newfound friend by her side, Ejii comes face to face with an earth turned inside out -- and with her own magical powers.

  • The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi: The first book by a talented new author. Set in England and Nigeria, this is the tale of magic gone wrong and twisted around an unsuspecting child.

  • Wind Follower by Carole McDonnell: Loic, the son of the wealthy headman of the Doreni clan, falls in love at first sight with Satha, the impoverished but proud daughter of his father’s old Theseni friend. Loic requests an immediate marriage, but for Satha, passion takes longer to ignite, and Loic’s father’s jealous third wife plots to destroy their happiness. The two must reaffirm their faith in each other and the Creator God to find their way through their troubles.

  • Song Of Solomon by Toni Morrison: A novel of southern-fried magical realism that rivals anything the Southern Hemisphere has produced.

  • Filter House by Nisi Shawl: A long-awaited collection of short stories by a Carl Brandon Society founder. Shawl’s roots in African American community of the Great Lakes area, and her commitment to using speculative fiction to decode power relationships and uncover magic come through loud and clear in this wonderful book.

Unquote.

Also, just to mention that my story Thirstlands was long-listed on the British Science Fiction Association's (BSFA) Award for Best SF of 2008 - it is indeed a long-list though. It didn't make the final short-list of four stories, but being nominated was a good enough experience. Next month I aim to give you an overview of what I've read myself and also just to alert other writers out there of the James Patrick Baen Memorial writing contest, where I hope to submit a story I'm writing at the moment. Why not give it a go too, if you have a 'hard sf' story inside you? See -
http://williamledbetter.com/contest Good Luck!

Nick Wood - Feb 2009.