Nick Wood – May/June 2012

I have a new story, ‘Case notes of a witchdoctor‘, which should eventually be published online this year at The World SF Blog:

I have also updated my SF in SA series with number 16, co-written with Sarah Lotz and Tanya Barben, involving both a review of South African speculative fiction in 2011 and a peek ahead into 2012, which is now a year steadily rolling onwards…

I have read some good books in these past few months, despite pressing and ongoing pain from chronic health problems, including a beautiful and layered rendition of place and person in Henrietta Rose-Innes’ Nineveh. (A section from Louis Greenberg’s review of Nineveh is included in SF in SA 16). The book is set in a seemingly familiar Cape Town, where a ‘painless pest relocator’ is called in to assist a pest-threatened new luxury, gated development in the wetlands behind Noordhoek beach.

Rose-Innes shows through lush prose and a cleverly woven emerging background of family drama, why gates will always fail in the end. The world is indeed too messy, too porous, the elements of the world and our fellow creatures will crawl, swim, jump through even the smallest of spaces. So too will people – including our families. There is no sterile refuge, we are indeed all intertwined, in one deep and primeval way. Sections of the book are told with sharp, almost surreal imagery, reminding me of some of JG Ballard’s work, particularly ‘The Drowned World.’

Nineveh is indeed a very rich and resonant read then, which siphoned off my pain for a good few hours! You can buy it on Kindle here:

As for my illness, I have been booked off for a while to try and recuperate, having begun interviews with other men who have this or a similar condition. I am looking at how they have carved out their spaces of survival. I hope to eventually publish these ‘survival stories’ in venues where other men who might be struggling with this illness can access and perhaps gain hope and knowledge in how to cope with this. I also aim to write another article slanted more towards the medical profession, who have a varied and rather mixed record, when it comes to helping people manage chronic conditions. For this research, I acknowledge valuable grant support from Prostate Action and my own University (Hertfordshire) to help me pursue this project:

In the interim though, I focus on survival and the tricky art of ‘getting better’ with a condition that is poorly serviced by modern medicine. To new knowledge, ongoing survival…

…and, until July.

Nick Wood

May/June 2012