ebook and print editions. It’s always a pleasure to return to Veloris, the Ice Planet, but this journey took years, many revisions, and labor before Devourercame to life. So, help me celebrate her birth. She’s already received 5 Star Reviews over at Amazon, so I think Akub is off to a great start.
Instead of a birth announcement, I’m going to give you a brief excerpt from the novel.
“You’re the Devourer.” The queen nodded at Akub.
“Yes.” Akub crossed her arms and readied herself for the onslaught of questions.
“A former member of Valek’s network of spies and thieves; a weaver whose bloodlustdevoured all common decency and compassion. Your reputation as a ruthless killer precedes you.”
“I killed no one.” Akub’s tone was sharp.
The queen’s cold gray eyes narrowed. “The Devourer ate the souls and trust of everyone she encountered. Many fell in battles, in the war, because of your efforts.”
Akub couldn’t deny those words. Some truths settled in uncomfortable pain in her memory and in her heart. No matter how much good she did, the sticky and oily stain covered her . Her spirit would never be unblemished.
Octiva’s words about forgiveness echoed in her mind. Her actions had less to do with pleasing others than proving to herself that she could do righteous and good acts. When everywhere she went, her past as the Devourer preceded, and few gave her opportunities to be anything else, other than what they wanted—their bogeyman, their horror.
Akub would be those things no more. She threw off her tapestry of shame.
“Those deeds lie in my past, your highness. For many years, I’ve traveled and devoted my life to spreading goodwill.” Even to her own ears, it sounded as if Akub meant to justify her actions—as if anything she did could.
Get a copy of Devourer: A Minister Knight Novel exclusively at Amazon.
While at illogicon this weekend, one of the panels I’ve participated in was AfroFuturism, Blerds, and BlackTwitter. We also provided a brief overview of the cinematic history of African-Americans in speculative fiction. Below is the list of references that provide a brief introduction AfroFuturistm, Blerds, and Black Twitter.
Please note, this isn’t a complete list. It’s just a quick guide I compiled for introductory reasons. If you have suggestions or better resources, feel free to email or Tweet me (@nicolegkurtz).
Afrofuturism-Afrofuturism is a literary and cultural aesthetic that combines elements of science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity, and magic realism with non-Western cosmologies in order to critique not only the present-day dilemmas of people of color, but also to revise, interrogate, and re-examine the historical events of the past. First coined by Mark Dery in 1993, and explored in the late 1990s through conversations led by scholar Alondra Nelson.
Steamfunk-is defined as a philosophy or style of writing and visual aesthetic that combines the African and / or African American culture and approach to life with that of the steampunk philosophy and/or steampunk fiction and cosplay.
Black Twitter- a cultural identity on the Twitter social network focused on issues of interest to the black community, particularly in the United States.
We’re heading west, the weird west, every Wednesday. Weird Western Wednesdays are devoted to the wonderful and often wild sub-genre of speculative fiction, weird westerns. Guest authors will contribute a posts discussing weird westerns.
Welcome the amazing and talented, Cynthia Ward to Pulp Reports.
The West That Was and Wasn’t:
Lost Trails: Forgotten Tales of the Weird West
by Cynthia Ward
It may seem strange that a straight white cisgender Easterner (from Maine, no less) would edit the diversity-themed Weird West anthologies Lost Trails: Forgotten Tales of the Weird West: Volume One and Volume Two (WolfSinger Publications). For me, it seems reasonable, because I grew up exposed solely to Hollywood and history-book images of the “Old West.” In other words, I knew only the stereotypes: the “savage Indians” unjustly hanging on to land that rightfully belonged to the white newcomers; the brave male sheriffs and outlaws and cowpokes and ranchers and stagecoach drivers and Indian killers; and the white men’s helpless female helpmeets. On the subject of Western American history, I was like Voltaire’s Candide: an utter naïf, primed to notice every gap between image and actuality.
Those gaps appeared soon after I moved to California in 1983. I learned that a third of cowboys were African-American, and that Chinese immigrants participated in the Gold Rush, and that the Californios included cowboys and ranchers. I learned that the indigenous peoples of the western regions were neither “savages” nor culturally uniform, and that the Spanish missionaries were providers not of civilization, but of deadly cultural imperialism. I learned about historical figures who upended the Western myth of manly men and meek damsels in distress, such as bandit-killing “One-Eyed Charley” Parkhurst, the respected stagecoach driver revealed in death to be a cross-dressing woman (http://www.mobileranger.com/losgatos/one-eyed-charlie-the-cross-dressing-stagecoach-driver/), and the “Zuni Man-Woman” We’wha (http://www.amazon.com/The-Zuni-Man-Woman-Will-Roscoe/dp/0826313701), one of the many gender-variant individuals who held respected roles in the Native American nations.
Meanwhile, in genre fiction, the Twenty-Teens brought a resurgence in the availability and popularity of Weird West prose. Happily, this genre fan devoured several new titles. Unhappily, most of the authors of those titles proved unaware of the rich and diverse realities of life in the historical West. Too many owed their depictions to the narrow old stereotypes, with one significant and undesirable change: the near-disappearance of indigenous peoples as characters. These discoveries frustrated me, not only because I’m a Weird West fan, but because I’m the coauthor, with Tiptree Award winning author Nisi Shawl, of Writing the Other: A Practical Approach (Aqueduct Press, http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Other-Conversation-Pieces-Book-ebook/dp/B0065MZ26O), which is one of several readily available sources of information and instruction on the subject of writing believable characters of diverse backgrounds. Eventually, I voiced my frustration on Facebook, and Publisher Carol Hightshoe offered me the chance to edit a diversity-themed Weird West anthology for WolfSinger Publications (http://wolfsingerpubs.com/). The anthology grew to two volumes, because we received such an abundance of excellent story submissions which fit our theme.
Lost Trails: Forgotten Tales of the Weird West: Volume One is now available in print and eBook formats (September 2015, http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Trails-Forgotten-Tales-Weird-ebook/dp/B014V2H2YO/), and Volume Two is scheduled for release in Winter 2015/2016. The stories in both volumes mix historical Western settings, scenarios, themes, and archetypes with fantasy, science fiction, horror, steampunk, alternate history, and other speculative fiction genres. The stereotype-busting characters include gunslingers and madams, miners and drifters, priests and shamans, boomers and busters, cooks and conquistadores, actresses and revolutionaries, hobos and train-robbers, scientists and homesteaders, sheriffs and outlaws and bounty-hunters, monotheists and polytheists and atheists, pioneers and colonials and indigenes, and more. The contributors to Lost Trails: Volumes One and Two include Saladin Ahmed, Kathleen Alcalá, Steve Berman, Tobias S. Buckell, Milton Davis, Aliette de Bodard, Edward M. Erdelac, Gemma Files, Carol Hightshoe, Ernest Hogan, Naomi Kritzer, Nicole Givens Kurtz, Ken Liu, Carole McDonnell, Misha Nogha, David Lee Summers, Don Webb, and many others. If you enjoy Weird Westerns, or are looking to give the genre a try, I hope you’ll consider Lost Trails.