Friday, July 24, 2009
Some Coffee With Your Cream: Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of Color
Octavia E. Butler for me will always be my definition of literary Sci-Fi. She was the first author I read in the genre. I'm sure most are familiar with Kindred, but less popular is her collection of stories, Bloodchild. If you are a fan of Butler's work, I'm sure you will find her autobiographical story "Positive Obsession" a must read, along with the title story and "Speech Sounds." What makes this collection even more amazing is that after each story Butler gives a short explanation about what inspired it. That's always the question that burns in my brain whenever I attend a book signing, yet it never manages to escape my lips. So the question keeps burning and I probably have developed a hole somewhere. I'm glad Butler put my fire out.
Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu is an author who I am not wholly familiar with. When I saw The Shadow Speaker sitting on display with other new YA Fiction titles, I was (of course) drawn in because of the kinky girl on the cover walking in orange sand. After reading the prologue, it was pretty much a done deal that the ten dollars in my pocket would no longer be safe from the cash register at the book store. I wanted to live in the world Okorafor-Mbachu created. I ate this book for breakfast, brunch, lunch and had to slow down before dinner, not wanting the story to end. I didn’t realize until taking on the Color Online challenge to write about science fiction and fantasy, that I had already had an introduction to this author’s work in Dark Matter: Reading the Bones. While it appears that Okorafor-Mbachu is primarily interested in writing for a younger audience, “The Magical Negro” is certainly for adults, but will make you giggle like a school girl.
A few months ago, I, being the curious cat that I am, dug for information from a mother who I knew had a son in the middle grades. When I asked about what he was reading, the book she mentioned first was 47 by Walter Mosley. She said he read this book over and over and I was impressed because statistically boys are more reluctant to read. I went to several different bookstores before I could locate a copy at Busboys & Poets. Clearly, this book is indeed worth reading more than once and I would be thrilled if Mosley would write a sequel. If I could ask Mosley anything, it would be if he purposely introduced the character Tall John on page 47. *Brilliant*
P.S. If you like comic books check out Marvel Comic’s Black Panther, DC Comic’s Vixen, and Arachaia Studios (defunct but maybe coming back…?) Miranda Mercury.