Gary Whitta is an award-winning screenwriter who wrote The Book of Eli and worked on the first Star Wars standalone film. So when he had an idea for a dark historical fantasy story he wrote a book. Why? We ask him that, about successfully crowdfunding his novel, and much more on this episode!
Oh, and yes. We ask him about Star Wars too.
Recently we were introduced to author Nalo Hopkinson, who was kind enough to answer some questions for us here on the blog. Two of her books, The Salt Roads and short story collection Skin Folk, are being published as e-books for the first time through Open Road Media. Editor Betsy Mitchell tells us, "I had the pleasure of introducing Nalo's wondrously imaginative work to the world when her Brown Girl in the Ring won the Warner Aspect First Novel Contest. It's a delight to be able to bring out the first-ever ebook editions of The Salt Roads and Skin Folk.”
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview, Nalo! When did you start writing?
NH: You're most welcome. Thanks for asking me. I believe I began writing in my mid-30s. But I'd been an avid reader since I was three years old. Author Samuel R. Delany has said that one learns more about how to write by reading a lot and internalizing models for good writing. I agree. I always have a book or seven on the go. I also watch a lot of fantasy and science fiction media, and read comics, graphic novels, and literary criticism in science fiction and fantasy.
Was fantasy always a genre you were interested in writing in? Who were some early favorites for you?
NH: Yes, fantasy and science fiction about equally. Early favourites (I'm Jamaican-Canadian; I use British spelling conventions) include Samuel R. Delany, Ursula K. Le Guin, Theodore Sturgeon, Terri Windling, Emma Bull.
Tell us about your book, The Salt Roads! What are some of the themes you explore? How would you classify the novel?
NH: In some ways, it's a time travel novel. It's written in four voices in three different times and locations and one timeless place. In some ways, it's the coming-of-age story of an Afro-Caribbean goddess. An exploration of the challenges faced by mixed race Black women throughout history. An honouring of women and men who do sex work, whether by choice or through lack of it. A thank you to the queers and transfolk of colour who fought for freedom during Stonewall. A praise song to Black people's survival despite, oh, everything.
It's really refreshing to hear about something outside the box of typical fantasy. Do you feel like genre fiction is beginning to move away from the Eurocentric, male point of view?
NH: I don't. And it needn't. I lurves me some Neil Gaiman, some China Mieville, some Ian Macdonald. Orson Scott Card should by all means keep writing fiction about smart, misunderstood white boys. He writes them well. (Though I fervently wish he would stop writing irrational and inaccurate hate screeds against queer folk. It's both bad science and a poor way to profess love for one's neighbour.) I don't want fewer white, male voices in the genre. I do want more centrisms, greater inclusion, a larger world view. Fantasy and science fiction are full of good stories. I want more.
Another book of yours coming out on ebook via Open Road is Skin Folk. What are some of your personal favorite short stories from this collection?
NH: You know how many parents don't like to tell you which is their favourite amongst their children? That's how I feel about my stories.
Hah, fair enough! What are you working on these days?
NH: Working on a new novel that my agent is currently shopping around. Collaborating on a short story with Nisi Shawl. If all goes well, it'll appear in a tribute anthology for Samuel R. Delany. Making Black mermaids, boudoir and fantasy dolls in various media: stuffed and painted fabric; plaster; and fabric design. Trying to perfect my skills at macaron-making and baking gluten-free bread. Teaching Creative Writing at the University of California Riverside, which has perhaps the most lovable student body in the world.
Where can people follow you online?
When you rule the world of powder mages you can do what you want. Brian McClellan wields his powder for good. In addition to delivering us the complete Powder Mage trilogy with the third book The Autumn Republic, Brian is going to bring us a second trilogy in the same universe, all while growing his own spaghetti sauce and keeping bees. Impressive. Most impressive.
We welcome back the amazing Myke Cole to talk about how he finds time to write great books, fight crime, and decorate his apartment with even more books. We also pressure him into a startling revelation about unicorns. And of course, talk to him about his new book, Gemini Cell: A Shadow Ops Novel which is out now!
Author and robotics engineer Daniel H. Wilson chats with us about his new story/app called Mayday: Deep Space about a person trapped on a ship full of monsters. Only you can help him survive! But of course we have to ask Daniel when the robots will rise up and kill us all.
The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions—until its divine protectors were killed. Now Bulikov has become just another colonial outpost of the world’s new geopolitical power, but the surreal landscape of the city itself—first shaped, now shattered, by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it—stands as a constant, haunting reminder of its former supremacy.
Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov’s oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country’s most accomplished spies, dispatched to catch a murderer. But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem—and that Bulikov’s cruel reign may not yet be over.
We also take questions from you, the audience, and ask him what the heck was going on with the video below:
We time travel and wrap up The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Next time we'll kick off Stories of Your Life and others by Ted Chiang
And check out our new STORE!
WHAT ARE WE DRINKING?
Louie: Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice (Orbit) took the top prize of Best Novel. No surprise there. I believe Veronica called this result, months ago. What do you think about the other winners? How many of the nominees have you read?
Best Related Work: We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative by Kameron Hurley (A Dribble of Ink) and Best Fanzine: A Dribble of Ink edited by Aidan Moher
Alain: The class of 2012 Clarion writers work shop is raising money for the non-profit Clarion Foundation. The Clarion workshop is a six week course/session where aspiring writers who want to write Science Fiction and Fantasy can hone and improve their craft. Many now famous writers in the field have attended here is a far from exhaustive list. Anyway the class of 2012 have put together an anthology to raise funds. It's a name your price kinda of thing for .99 cents upwards. Luke R. Pebler who appears in the S&L anthology has a story in here as well as 16 other writers. A very cheap way to check out some up and coming writers.
Paul: July is biggest comic month in history making $53 million and the number one selling comic? Rocket Racoon #1. Rack up another one for the "Unknown Property" of Guardians of the Galaxy. P.S. Groot debuted in November 1960 in Tales to Astonish #13. Years Before Spider-Man, The X-Men or every one of the Avengers except for the original Captain America series (March 1941). Just For Posterity Ronan The Accuser (August 1967). The Original far future Guardians of the Galaxy which was a completely different team (January 1969). Adam Warlock (The already announced GotG 2? :) (April 1972) Drax (1973) Gamora (1975) Star Lord and Rocket Racoon both (1976)
terpkristin: Jennifer Lee, who co-wrote Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen, has been tapped to work on the screenplay for a live-action version of A Wrinkle in Time. I loved loved loved loved this book when I was a kid and am cautiously optimistic about this project...
Lindsay writes: Prior to reading The Name of the Wind, I read: Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis: Picked it up after listening to an interview with the author on the Skiffy and Fanty show and it was excellent YA Fantasy. Every time the main character blinks his perspective switches to a girl in a secondary fantasy world.
August 26 - The Broken Eye (Lightbringer) by Brent Weeks and Echopraxia by Peter watts (continuing on from Blindsight) Lock in by John Scalzi
September 2 - Sleeping Late on Judgement Day (Bobby Dollar) by Tad Williams
Find more upcoming releases at swordandlaser.com/calendar
BARE YOUR SWORD
BOOK OF THE MONTH DISCUSSION
Next Month's book pick! Stories of Your Life and others by Ted Chiang
This month's Pick:
Theories from: The Re-Readers' Thread posted by Jack
Sign up for the newsletter to enter to win a copy of Half a King by Joe Abercrombie! See form on the right-hand nav on the website here!
Ken Liu's short story "The Paper Menagerie" swept the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Awards. His short story, "Mono no aware" won the 2013 Hugo, and his novella "The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary" was also nominated for a Hugo. We caught up with him at this year's Nebula awards and asked him if he takes writing-enhancement supplements.
Download direct here!
Maddadam TV Series - Chris
2014 Audie Winners (Audible) - Daniel
WINNERS: 2014 Ditmar Awards
Author Jay Lake has passed away - Joe Informatico
GEORGE R.R. MARTIN WILL KILL YOU GAME OF THRONES-STYLE FOR $20,000
Tom's Reading On The Steel Breeze by Alistair Reynolds
Veronica is reading Marie Brennan's The Tropic of Serpents (a Memoir by Lady Trent) and just finished Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig, and Lions of Al-Rassan by GGK.
What Else Are you Reading June
Find more upcoming releases at swordandlaser.com/calendar
BARE YOUR SWORD
Anyone else find reading about sex (in fiction) and/or reading profanity to be awkward? - Eric
Summer climate fiction – "cli fi" for short – genre reading list - Nokomis.FL
BOOK OF THE MONTH DISCUSSION
July book pick is up for a vote. We're reading Octavia E. Butler. Voting ends June 22.
The Promise of Blood
WARNING: Hachette and Amazon are having a fight which may affect shipping times for print copies. Might want to buy print copies elsewhere for the time being.
Everyone's favorite hobby: casting - John
People and Places for $200, Alex - Daniel (rhymes with Taniel)
First Impressions - Rabindranauth
Haven’t you wondered how orcs and goblins and other monsters see the world? Do they feel unfairly vilified? Jim C. Hines can help you walk a mile in their— scaly misshapen feet. Find out why the author of the Goblin Series finds book-cover poses personally painful and whether he’ll give you a fire spider!