Saturday, December 20, 2008
For those in need of youth gifts for Kwanzaa, Xmas, SleepingGreen or another celebration, literature is highly recommended. Bright ideas for bright minds are in order with the current state of society.
Here are a few works available that celebrate the beauty of the black/multicultural imagination in ways rarely seen in fiction created by overrepresented culture:
The Shadow Speaker
Black Motherland Sci-fi
I was able to order this volume after hearing about Nnedi towards the summer months through the 'Amazing Black Race' blog. Nnedi offers us the importance of revering nature's power in one of the most beautiful ways I've seen it done thus far. She is the first to empower nature in chidren's Sci-fi, making it a very important book for our children to experience.
Placing us in a futuristic Motherland that has doorways into other dimensions sometimes blocked by gadgets that are often hybrids of plants and technology, with gatekeeper beings that act as amoral tricksters, The Shadow Speaker succeeds in offering a view into the vibrant black imagination.
The Books of Zambarau
Black/Multicultural Fantasy/ High Fantasy
'The Books of Zambarau Maji Omnibus' introduces the world of Black Faerie/Iphupho-based high fantasy to Black lit with an omnibus containing 3 novels from a previously published trilogy. It contains some illustrations in the section containing additional reading.
Containing a myriad of fantasy forms in tales that focus heavily on personal power and moraled intent, it is fiction for the inner child of all ages that restores the realization of enchanted beauty in black/multicultural form.
The Marvelous Effect
Urban Sci-fi/Superhero Lit
This is on our read list. As with all of the alternative Black lit we've come across for children or adults, we didn't discover this gem until the previous winter, and have awaited its release on a desired medium so we could enjoy it together for quality reading moments in the house. We intend to provide review when its read, but can offer than this book has been described as written in a fast-paced style that gamers can appreciate. The Marvelous world is a sci-fi adventure our young men and women, especially in urban areas, can see themselves in.
Keep an eye on Imajen.com for their fantastically illustrated Black anime: Ancients&Immortals.
For Older Teens/Adults the following books are HIGHLY recommended :
The Great Charles Saunders
Sword and Soul/ Adventure Fantasy
I was able to review this amazing work in June after recieving a copy at the Ecbacc convention for black artists in May. Charles Saunders is a master with the pen. His words are pure poetry that gracefully reveal the story on the page step by languid step, always satisfying with nuance and well crafted construction.
Dossouye reveals an alternate Motherland that is at times magical as much as it can be hostile. Following Dossouye we experience customs that allow us to better comprehend how large our own actual Motherland is, and how diverse the beliefs held by the peoples within her.
Because there is some violence, and gracefully worded suggestions of sexual situations this book is not recommended for very young teens without parental consent. It is for older teens to adult aged readers.
The Great Octavia Butler
Wildseed is a classic I unfortunately didn't stumble upon onto later in life. I would have loved to have this in my hands as a teenager, but had no idea she, Saunders, or Delaney had created works of alternative fiction for people of color.
While Wildseed has some mature themes, it is an incredible work of alternative fiction that should make its way into the hands of every reader of color, regardless of their preference for genre. Personal empowerment as well as themes that tackle the mentality within enslavement of 'one's own' are gracefully explored. Wildseed is a master work.
The Great Nalo Hopkinson
I had the fortune of learning about Nalo through a publisher's website. Her voice is incredibly strong and lyrical, and her prose confronts very real situations that anyone whether a fan of sci-fi literature or not, can relate to. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in off-world themes of black empowerment. And though there is some mature content it is completely necessary to the story.
note: There are many others, and I'm tracking them down. My ultimate hope is to provide a place where all of their names are compiled and highly visible for our culture to find. That is one of the main intents of ConsciousInk and why it was founded. It should not be a surprise to find such beautiful limitlessness in the black imagination. It should not to be so difficult for us to find our literary scribes and often literary masters are also authors of alternative fiction. When we are scattered here and there, it is easy for us to be deprived of the majesty in our culture, as it is missing representation in conventional media. Spread the word. There's much more to us than the mainstream has let meet the eye; hence the need for the permanent ownership of our own media. Blessings 'pon our Modern Myths.