dmp: Taking a stroll in my finery (Default)
2011-06-17 01:55 pm

Signal boosting for L.A. Banks

Tina Wise announced this on her facebook last week, and I'm signal-boosting for folks who are fans of L.A. Bank's work who want to help during this trying time.

***

From Tina:

It is with profound sadness that we have to inform you that our beloved sister and friend, Leslie Esdaile,
(“L.A. Banks”) is most gravely ill. She is facing an uphill battle in her struggle with serious illness. Please
know that as Leslie needs all of her energy in this fight, she is absolutely not able to receive visitors,
answer emails, texts or phone calls, or receive flowers. What she is able to receive is your continued
prayers.
 
 
Also, Leslie’s medical expenses are mounting at an astronomical rate. If you wish to assist Leslie, a fund
has been established to help with these ever increasing expenses. If you wish to send donations (please
note that donations are not tax-deductible) to help Leslie, please see the information listed below:
 

Leslie Esdaile Fund
Account #81538801
Police and Fire Federal Credit Union
Operations Center
901 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107-2404
215-931-0300
 

If you live in Philadelphia, PA, you may take donations directly to any Police and Fire Federal Credit
Union branch. Please be sure to note the account number. You may also send them to the P.O. Box
listed below*.
 

Police and Fire Federal Credit Union Branch Locations:
Main Branch:
901 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
 

Additional Branches:
Leo Mall, 11705 Bustleton Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19116-2515
 
Davisville Shopping Center, Street Road, Philadelphia, PA
Andorra Shopping Center, Ridge and Henry Avenues, Philadelphia, PA
City Avenue Shopping Center, 7604 City Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, 19151-2007
Mayfair Branch on Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA
Northeast Branch, 7500 Castor Avenue, Philadelphia, PA
Grant and Academy Shopping Center Branch, Philadelphia, PA
 

You may send good wishes and cards to*:
 
Leslie Esdaile
c/o Tina Ryan Wise
P.O. Box 37189
Philadelphia, PA 19148-9998
 

On behalf of Leslie, her daughter Helena, her sister Liza and all of her family and friends, we sincerely
thank you for all of your continued prayers and support.
Tina Ryan Wise
 
Tinarwise@gmail.com
dmp: Taking a stroll in my finery (Default)
2011-02-13 01:05 am

Reviewer at SFFPortal!

Seems like a while since I've posted something that wasn't mirroring Beyond Victoriana, but guess what? I write for other blogs too! (And I'm not just talking about my gig at Tor.com - Steampunk).

I'm also a reviewer at the SFFPortal, reading up on the latest sci-fi on the market.

Which is what I usually am doing for my job anyways.

My whole life is becoming one giant nerdy publishing intersect.

Anyway, if you're interested, my review for the Feb 2011 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction is up now. Read it here.
dmp: Taking a stroll in my finery (Default)
2011-01-15 11:03 pm

Beyond Victoriana #57 On Writing: A History of Muslim Steampunk--Guest Blog by Yakoub Islam

Note: Cross-posted with permission from Yakoub Islam from his website The Muslim Age of Steam on The Steampunk Shariah.

Middle Eastern Astrolobe. 1291.
Middle Eastern Astrolobe. 1291.

In Summer 2009, I made the bold decision to write a full-length novel. It seemed like the perfect solution to a troubled and difficult decade, which had largely centred around caring for my autistic son: a return to an old passion – creative writing; a therapeutic outlet following a period of mental and physical illness; and perhaps a means of drawing together the various intellectual and spiritual threads that have informed my faith and eclectic reading over the last 20-odd years. I began by exploring the imaginative possibilities surrounding the first recorded Muslim visit to England, allegedly made by the twelfth century geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi. A small cast of characters was assembled, along with possible subplots, themes and a couple of draft chapters. Yet after twelve months of research and writing, the various elements of my intended novel remained disparate, and I almost gave it up.

I wondered whether the problem wasn’t down to a contradiction that I’m sure many writers have experienced – between creative and publishing ambitions. I wanted to write a one of a kind book, but who would want to read it?

Read more on BeyondVictoriana.com
dmp: Taking a stroll in my finery (Default)
2010-10-09 12:30 am

Beyond Victoriana Special Edition Odds & Ends #7

This weekend, I'm rockin' it out at New York Comic Con. I'm there mostly doing the Day Job thing, unfortunately (though, if I can, I might wear my steampunk for Sunday.)

For anyone who manages to recognize me in my civvies, though, you'll probably end up being filmed or photographed, if you're looking fabulous and want to flaunt it.

In the meantime, enjoy the linkspam below. This edition features lots of interesting essays, some awesome postcards, and a video of my interview with Cherie Priest.

Read on BeyondVictoriana.com
dmp: Taking a stroll in my finery (Default)
2010-10-03 12:00 am

Beyond Victoriana #44 Magic in Post-Apocalyptic Africa: WHO FEARS DEATH with Author Nnedi Okorafor

When my comrade-in-arms Jha Goh attended Wiscon this year, she asked me if I wanted anything. I only asked for two books, one of them being Nnedi Okorafor's WHO FEARS DEATH. This isn't a steampunk book, but I had read a bit about the setting: one with magic in a world where technology had crumbled and a vicious empire seeks to wipe out other tribes through genocide. Rebuilt societies + imperialist themes + magic = a book worth checking out. A couple of weeks later, I eagerly opened the package in the mail and read the following inscription: "I hope this novel takes you there and back again."

"There" is post-apocalyptic Africa, in a land known as the Seven Rivers Kingdom, a land plagued by war and genocide. My guide is the strong and determined Onyesonwu, a young woman whose name translates to the title of this book. Her story, told in simple but engaging language, is her journey. Though she is hated because she is an Ewu--born from the rape of her Okeke mother by someone from the conquering Nuru tribe-- Onyesonwu's life changes drastically when she develops the ability to change into animals and even raise the dead. Now, Onyesonwu must grapple against prejudice aimed at her because of her birth and her gender in order to master her magical abilities. But time is running short, because the Nuru armies are approaching her homeland--and a powerful magician is out to kill her.

Alongside magic powers and spirits, WHO FEARS DEATH deals with very tough, very real issues: weaponized rape, child soldiers, female genital mutilation. These topics are not sensationalized, but integrated into the harsh reality of the world of the Seven Rivers Kingdom. Nnedi also doesn't shy away from portraying the messed-up perceptions characters have concerning these subjects too, like the poor treatment of Okeke rape survivors, who are shunned because they are "ruined." Nnedi handles each subject upfront; the more violent scenes were not gratuitous and didn't make me feel uncomfortable reading it, though I'll give this book a trigger warning.

Yet Onyesonwu's tale is much more than the harshness of her world. It's also very much a story about women finding strength in themselves and in their friendships. It's about sex used in all its forms: as part of violent oppression, intrinsic desire, and personal liberation. It's about the mysterious spirit world where demons called masquerades walk the land and dragons fly in the air and tribes can manipulate sand storms (reminding me of the sand benders from Avatar: The Last Airbender). It's also very much a coming-of-age story as Onyesonwu seeks to affirm her personal and magical identity. And the core strength of the book lies in its ability to take readers to places that are at turns dark, mythical, brutal and wondrous.

After finishing this book, I talked with Nnedi about her career and the challenges she's faced when writing WHO FEARS DEATH.

Read more on BeyondVictoriana.com
dmp: From the Dobrininskaya metro station (Faded Glory)
2009-10-11 11:50 pm

Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story

Gems from this speech by Chimamanda Adichie as part of the TEDtalks series (typed out myself, though I really want a transcript of the whole thing):

"I recently spoke at a university where a student told me that it was such a shame that Nigerian men where physical abusers like the father character in my novel. I told him that I had just read a novel called American Psycho, and that it was such a shame that young Americans were serial murderers.

Now obviously I said this in a fit of mild irritation but it would have never occurred to me to think just because I read a novel in which a character was a serial killer that he was somehow representative of all Americans, and this is not because I am a better person than that student but because America's cultural and economic power, I had many stories of America...."
~~~
"The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue but that they are incomplete. They make the one story become the only story.

Of course Africa is a continent full of catastrophes--the immense ones such as the horrific rapes in Congo or the depressing ones such as the fact that 5,000 people apply for one job vacancy in Nigeria--but there are other stories not about catastrophe, and it is very important--it is just as important to talk about them. I've always felt it is impossible to engage properly with a place or a person without engaging with all of the stories of that place or that person. The consequence of the single story is this: it robs people of dignity."
~~~
"Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people but stories can also repair that broken dignity."