Saturday, August 13, 2011

Three similar-but-unalike anthologies with stories by yours truly

It's getting to be an interesting summer. I'm in three speculative fiction anthologies.
The first two have come out and I'm waiting for the third. Patting myself on the back here: I like it that I'm in three different anthos with different audiences.

The first is Christian speculative fiction, edited by Lyndon Perry of Residential Aliens over at Createspace.

As a rule, although I write Christian spec-fic, I gotta say I tend to avoid it when it's written by Christians I don't know. I don't mind seeing Christian cosmology explored (And isn't speculative fiction another way of depicting cosmology?) but I do dislike and fear preachiness. I dislike Christians saying they're doing something different "pushing the envelop" and "outside the box" when they aren't really aware of how big the box is and what the internal and external dimensions of the envelope or box is and where exactly they are pushing the envelope to or from. I've been reading the stories and they are all great stories. My story is the least worthy to be there. It's not as full of gravitas as some of the stories here and it's not as regal as some of my Christian stories. But it is unique in one respect so I feel I've succeeded somewhat and that it's a good choice for that anthology. I was aiming for humor and I was aiming to put race into a Christian speculative fiction antho. As such, the story works.

The second is African-themed speculative fiction -- Sword and Soul-- edited by Milton Davis and Charles Saunders

Sword and Soul speculative fiction is a historical genre that is not as seen as often as say the Asian martial arts fantasies and the western historical fantasies such as gothic stories, elven lore, and regency vampires. I like the idea of "everybody gets to play" but when it comes to being cosmopolitan about fantasies, the bookworld has not allowed black fantasies into the game. When one goes to a book store, the literary conversation rarely has a black fantasy writer in the forefront. The great Charles Saunders is, of course, the originator and creator of Sword and Soul genres and I am so glad he liked my story and accepted it in this anthology. The book hasn't arrived yet but am waiting for it. Even more because when it comes to the spec-fic world, most of the writers I know are Christian and/or Black. I only know three people in the Christian anthology but I think I know of or am acquainted with or am friends with pretty much everyone in this anthology. So it'll be fun to read this one.

My story, Changeling, is one of my favorite short stories. It isn't sorcery, at all, however so it isn't what anyone would consider speculative fiction. But it has an ancient folkloric feel to it and it really is a beautiful love story.

The third is general speculative fiction, edited by Warren Lapine. It's called Fantastic Tales of the Imagination. The first person accepted into this anthology was Harlan Ellison. Wow!! The second person was equally great. I was the third accepted person. Can you believe that? I'm happy about this anthology because I really like the idea of being in a group that is precisely normal and all-American, generic fantastical. The writers in the other two anthologies have specific religious and racial concerns and their stories show their concerns in a safe setting. They are, so to speak, among friends. But this anthology is one that is aimed for the general fantasy audience. My story --A Cry for Hire-- has a black-heroine, has minority concerns, has female concerns, has health concerns, has religious concerns, and could only be written by someone who is not part of the majority spirituality, majority race. Most speculative fiction is written by men, white men, (okay some white women too), healthy white men, healthy white men who don't really think about Christian matters. My being included in thi s anthology makes me feel very ambassadorial. It makes me feel skilled at slipping into the majority world, being in and among and yet still my Black woman Christian emotionally-messed-up self. Although the story is religious, it manages to not be so steeped in religion that it can make it into this story. Although the story is about motherhood and about race, the story isn't gooey and it doesn't threaten white readers. So yeah, am glad for that. Waiting to see what the other stories will be ...and waiting to be liked by the authors in this general spec-fic antho.

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