In this blog update, I report on new added material to the SF in SA section (Section 13 - November 2011) as well as a few other items of news. Firstly, Section 13 is about a 'South African' Black-Super Hero, seemingly based in Soweto in the turbulent mid 1970's, who was known as Mighty Man. I have picked up a couple of issues of this comic over the years of collecting comics in South Africa in the eighties and nineties and contributed this researched article to an old comic-swap friend from Cape Town, George Van Der Riet. George has developed a nostalgic blog looking at old South African comics, which is well worth a visit, if you like comics: http://southafricancomicbooks.blogspot.com/ (The article was also commented on at SA Books Live).
Secondly, my new short story, Case Notes of a Witchdoctor was shortlisted for the Aeon 2011 International Awards. There is one more round allowed for submissions - deadline the end of this month, November - and then the short list is reduced to an even shorter list of six stories for the impressive panel of judges. So please, if you have a story you think is speculative fiction, why not submit? My story, Bridges, a Runner-Up in the 2009 Award, was published in Albedo One 40 a couple of months ago.
Bridges has just received a decent review at SF Crowsnest (November 2011). "Bridges by Nick Wood may be the best thing in this issue. It is set in an alternative South African present where apartheid is still in force. A psychiatrist has built an empathy box and longs to connect himself to a black patient with whom he is not making much progress. Ethical dilemmas and the sense of a menacing authority are deftly conveyed and I liked the background material about Obama and Osama meeting with the Russians to negotiate that power's withdrawal from Afghanistan. The fact that the author is a clinical psychologist indubitably helped with the authenticity of this story."
I am also pleased I have a couple of stories due to appear in South Africa. Of Hearts and Monkeys is due to appear over the next few months in Something Wicked Magazine and Lunar Voices (on the Solar Wind) will be featured at some stage in Jungle Jim Magazine. Try and get hold of these good home-grown South African magazines, which both publish excellent overseas and local fiction. Till next time…
Nick Wood - October-December 2011