I have recently read The Denials of Kow Ten (1998) by Jenny Robson, a South African Young Adult (YA) writer. Jenny has written an interesting take on the future, harnessing ideas from – amongst other sources – Ayn Rand. The novella is "brave" too, in the sense that the ending is less than upbeat, reflecting the uncertainty of the future for all of us. The story also uses a classic tactic, describing future worlds by corrupting place names that have presumably changed over time. (The book that for me consistently and brilliantly harnesses the idea of a future general corruption/change in language, is Russell Hoban's (1980) Riddley Walker, which also uses a younger protagonist.)
A great source of information on YA science fiction writing is Farah Mendlesohn's (UK) website The Inter-Galactic Playground: http://www.farah-sf.blogspot.com Another excellent source of information on YA writing is Sharyn November (US) at: http://www.sharyn.org/children.html For a South African perspective, there is: http://www.childlit.org.za
Thirdly, I have a colleague who will be providing a perspective on Afrikaans literature; which is also African literature.
With regard to future reading, I have ordered and plan to read Carole McDonnell's Windfollower when it arrives. Carole has an interesting blog at: http://darkparables.blogspot.com I also hope to read my (signed!) copy of Adam Robert's Gradisil, of which the Locus reviewer Nick Gevers said: "a potential harbinger of greatness."
I also hope to update the website in the next few weeks with an article on a sf/fantasy classic The Ship That Sailed To Mars by William Timlin, an architect who worked in Kimberley, South Africa in the early part of the twentieth century. The article is being written by the head of the special collections department from the academic library at the University of Cape Town. Also planned to follow is an article by a colleague on Afrikaans fiction.
Nick Wood – June/July 2007.