Interview with Cat Rambo and Jennifer Brozek Part 2

This is the second part of our exclusive interview with Cat Rambo and Jennifer Brozek, editors of the new anthology, The Reinvented Heart.

To read the first part of this interview, where we discuss both The Reinvented Heart and the second anthology, The Reinvented Detective, click here.

And if you’ve already read the first part, here’s where we left off…

IP: Here I have a few questions that get into the SFF conversation as a whole.

You’ve both been a part of the SFF community for many years, in multiple different capacities. How would you say the science-fiction and fantasy scene has changed since you first got involved with it?

JB: I think the scene has opened up drastically. For me, this is one of the most interesting times to be an SFF author. You have the opportunity to choose how you want to be published, where you want to be published, whether that’s self-pub, boutique press, small press, or the big five. Being a hybrid author is probably the most economically viable, because not everyone can be a Seanan McGuire or a Diana Gabaldon.

Plus, you’re able to choose your own voice and medium. It can be written work, it can be YouTube videos, you can choose serialized versus full-length, you can do a series of novels, you can do micro-text novels.

I have friends who do all of the above. You can teach, edit, write, or do a combination of all three.

CR: I agree with all of that, and also that sci-fi has become more international. With the Internet connecting us more I’ve read a lot more African, Chinese, and all sorts of different kinds of fiction from beyond American borders.

Clarkesworld is one of the magazines that’s really good about bringing in stuff from translation, and I know Neil has worked very hard at that.

But another thing that’s changed is that there are more psychic resources for writers outside the mainstream. You know there are occasions in our industry where I’ve felt that there’s been a sort of psychic toll that has to be paid. Think of it like “oh, here’s another elderly science fiction writer inviting me to sit in his lap” and I’m just supposed to laugh it off.

It’s kind of political here, I’m sorry, but I think younger writers don’t tolerate that as much as they used to, and I salute them for that.

JB: I think the problems that have always been around in every industry are starting to come to light. I used to be a QA engineer for 13 years, and the problems in that industry cross over into this one too.

Some of the predators are getting smarter, and they’re playing the “I’m woke, or I’m an ally” card.

You know, just thinking about how we’re still having women in gaming panels shows us that we have a long way to go. And it’s taking longer than a lot of people want.

CR: Yeah, that’s very true.

JB: It’s not a perfect transition. Just today I read something about the Harry Potter series involving Kreacher. It was about how people were so accepting of how Harry was literally a slave owner.

CR: Oh yeah, and Dobby too. And Hermione was mocked for standing up for the house elves! I can get quite indignant about this.

JB: As much as we want to get better, we all still have a lot of blind spots. But it’s being shown more often, called out more often. It’s very uncomfortable, but you have to be uncomfortable to change.

I loved that whole series whenever it came out, but the more you dig into it and all your other old favorites, the more you’re like “Oh, my God.”

CR: Yeah, there are a lot of problems. Jo Walton talks about the suck fairy. She says don’t go back to childhood classics lest you find the suck fairy has visited them.

IP: I was thinking about that the other day because I was watching The Wheel of Time on Amazon. And I was thinking about when I read the first couple of books, and as a high schooler, there’s a lot of stuff that I didn’t really pick up on.

Thinking about it now, I’m like, “Wow, that’s really old and outdated.”

CR: Well, it’s interesting to me how much gender attitudes have shifted in the last decade. I mean, when I was growing up, the word “trans” wasn’t something that anybody said.

And that’s one of the things I think is really interesting and lovely about our times is that people are aware of non-binary, ace, and all the different relationships that fall outside of the Dick and Jane model. That’s very much what The Reinvented Heart is about.

That’s one of the things science fiction does so well is social reflection, and I think that’s really cool. In the anthology, we have a non-binary story, and we have another story where the character has anxiety about meeting up with the other person in real life.

So, the character goes to the hotel and they knock on the door, but the other person never opens the door because they’re feeling so anxious. At the end of the story, the character gets an email from the other person apologizing, saying, you know “I transgressed, I tried to push you past your boundaries and that wasn’t cool.” And that’s such a different ending than that story has been told with in the past.

One of the modes that drives me particularly crazy with gender stuff, is the cliché that if guys are willing to just keep after her, standing out in the rain with a boombox, that she’ll come around. And that’s present in narratives about women, too, but not in the same way.

It’s one of the things that science fiction does well, is deconstructing that narrative and rewriting it in a more meaningful, respectful way.

IP: Gotcha, I 100% agree with you. I guess then as a follow up to that question, where do you think the SFF community is headed in the near future? Or what do you hope happens in the community in the future?

CR: I would hope that we address a couple of marginalizations that haven’t particularly been addressed before.

And those are disability, neurodiversity, and economic circumstance.

People forget that there is a significant portion of the population that doesn’t have Internet access, isn’t accessing Twitter and all that. I’d love to see science fiction keep pushing to make that a part of the conversation.

JB: This goes along with economics, but I’d like to see more non-American authors have a clear way of getting their stuff in front of American audiences. I lived outside the US during my childhood because my father was in the military, so I learned a lot about other cultures, and that informed me growing up. The world of storytelling is so vast and amazing, I’d like to see some of that reflected in science fiction.  

I saw recently there was a Kickstarter for an RPG about if America had never been colonized, and just seeing that made me want to explore that idea more.

For example, Black Panther, the Marvel movie. The themes that they brought in for that particular movie were so different from what I’d seen before. The mindset is more about what do we owe each other and society instead of what can I do. It’s I vs. we.

I had a conversation last year with Maurice Broaddus, and we were talking about magic. I said that magic should cost you something, because that’s my point of view. And he said that magic should never cost you. You should never be punished for being who you are.

CR: Oh, yeah, that’s good.

JB: That’s one of those points of view that I’m still wrapping my head around.

IP: I think a lot of that goes back to the fact that America is a very capitalist society, and that pervades a lot of our ideas. For a magician, if using magic takes a physical toll on you or something, it’s a transactional relationship. You’re giving your energy for magic, and that’s a capitalist thing.

I guess it goes back to what Cat said about seeing more SFF stuff from a different economic sphere. What would our science fiction look like if our society’s ideals weren’t capitalist, but instead were socialist, or something else?

CR: That’s something I see a lot of writers grappling with today. Our mutual friend, PJ Manney, worked with a Facebook group called The New Mythos, where they were explicitly trying to talk about how to create new stories. How do you create these new narratives?

I just did a story that’s coming out next April where I tried to challenge the way I thought the story would traditionally go, and make it go in a different direction.

And that’s all from our chat with Cat Rambo and Jennifer Brozek. If you’d like to check out The Reinvented Heart anthology, you can purchase an ebook or preorder the hardcover on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Be sure to check out Cat’s website and Jennifer’s website to keep up to date on their new and upcoming projects!

Thanks to both of them for joining us here at Signals from the Edge!

The Reinvented Anthologies: Conversation with Cat Rambo & Jennifer Brozek

SFF legends Cat Rambo and Jennifer Brozek have been hard at work on The Reinvented Heart, an anthology about sci-fi relationships.

We met up with them to discuss the new anthology, which is already out as an ebook, and will be released in hardcover May 31st, 2022.

Here’s what they had to say:

Isaac Payne: So I only have a couple of questions, and then we can open it up to a conversation afterwards. I guess starting out I want to ask about the The Reinvented Heart anthology. It’s been making some waves out there on the SFF frequencies, and I’m just curious about how you decided to break up the Anthology into three distinct sections. I’m familiar with only a few other anthos that do this, so what was the inspiration behind that idea?

Cat Rambo: I actually talked to Jane Yolan in an interview I did with her about that. You may have noticed the three sections are each prefaced by Jane. And in fact, she read them all on the interview, which was really cute.

Basically, we approached Jane and asked if she’d write something for us, and she said, how about poems? My response was, “sure, you’re Jane Yolan!” and I want something from you.

So, she sent in three poems and I said to Jen, you know, poetry is cheap, right? We’re paying by the line, and it’s not like a 5,000-word story.

We ended up organizing the book according to the three poems, breaking it into three sections—Hearts, Hands, and Mind.

And then as part of The Reinvented Detective, which is the anthology that’s coming out next year, we asked Jane to write us three poems again, this time about themes around detectives.

But the funny thing is that I just did this interview with Jane and she hadn’t known what we’d done with her poems until she got the PDF, and she was just delighted! No one had ever done anything like that with her poems before.

IP: That’s cool! You mentioned The Reinvented Detective which is coming up here next year. Is there anything that you’re going to change about this anthology based on what you learned from The Reinvented Heart?

Jennifer Brozek: Well, since we’re just now going through the hold stories and the on-spec stories, I think it might be a little bit too soon to answer that.

But based on the stories we’re getting, we might spread out the anthology to make it about more than just crime and justice.

We might organize it based on groups of stories, like Art Nouveau or the Old Classic. We got a lot of Poirot and Sherlock Holmes stories, as well as some pastiches.

I’m thinking that when we see all the stories, we’re going to end up breaking them out into groups rather than themes, but that may change.

We haven’t seen all the stories yet!

IP: Just out of curiosity, how many submissions did you receive for The Reinvented Heart? I edited the Triangulation: Extinction anthology and I’m always curious about the numbers for other anthologies.

CR: I want to say around 230?

JB: No, it was closer to 260, and that’s just slush. We had the on-spec stories too, so in total it’s more like 300.

IP: Gotcha, that’s pretty good, all things considered!

JB: Yeah. The Reinvented Heart is my 21st anthology, and The Reinvented Detective is my 22nd.

When I did 99 Tiny Terrors, I got 600 submissions in a month! Or when I do a closed anthology, like The Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods, I cherry-pick every author.

So, the number of submissions really depends on how much it pays and how many people feel they have a chance to get into the anthology. For 99 Tiny Terrors, a lot of new people were willing to send in their stories because it’s flash.

CR: Yeah, flash is fun. Fun and fast.

JB: But when I was working with Apex Magazine as a slush reader, I’d have to read five stories a day just to keep up!

IP: Yeah, for Triangulation: Extinction I think we had around 600 different submissions. That was over the span of four months, but when the submission window closed, I was still doing a lot of reading!

CR: Yeah. Well, I read completely differently than Jenn.

Jenn is very kind of slow and steady, reading five stories a day. Whereas what I will do is take a weekend to—and excuse my language—just f***ing slam through, sometimes at the rate of a hundred or so stories a day.

And I’m reading fast—fast and furious. But I’m making authors really have to prove themselves to me in the first half page or so.

IP: I guess it’s kind of hard as a writer when you don’t know whether or not you’ll be going through that gauntlet.

JB: When I teach and talk about being an editor, I tell everybody to write your stories like you’re going to be read by a slush reader who’s having a terrible day and all they have to do is get through your story so they can go home.

All your story has to do is turn a slush reader’s terrible day into something magical.

CR: Ah, that’s a nice one, that’s good. You know, one of the talking points of the book is that despite having set the word count at 5,000, there’s a novelette in there! I had solicited Justina Robeson for a story, and she kept mailing back saying that it was getting longer and longer.

And finally, we said, sure, send it in. And both Jenn and I read it and knew we had to put it in the anthology because it was so good!

IP: That’s great, it’s always nice to be surprised like that. So, what’s up next for The Reinvented series? After The Reinvented Detective, of course.

CR: We’re still arguing about that, haha. But we’re absolutely going to continue the series; we’d like to do one a year. I really want to do The Reinvented Coin, so my feeling is that if I’m patient and give Jenn her way for the next few, I’ll get to do that one.

JB: I like that one, but I’m interested in doing The Reinvented Fable. Like if you do a version of Little Red Riding Hood, but in the future, in space. We can do a contrast between old and new fables.

But I do like the idea of The Reinvented Coin, or Cat came up with a good one, The Reinvented Alice.

CR: Yeah, The Reinvented Alice or The Reinvented Oz.

JB: It’s Oz but all science fiction, where you pick a pastiche based on the original series.

IP: I do like those ideas. What does The Reinvented Coin entail?

CR: Economics, trade, bartering. 

JB: Anything that fits under that broad category, really. You could be selling memories of loved ones, for example.

CR: But only one story about NFTs, tops.

IP: Have you read the book This Eden by Ed O’Loughlin? It’s like a science fiction noir, espionage story, but at the end the main villain is a cryptocurrency.

CR: Oh, I love that, I’ll have to find that book!

IP: That’s just what The Reinvented Coin reminded me of haha. So, here I have a few questions that get into the SFF conversation as a whole.

Watch out for the rest of our interview with Cat Rambo and Jennifer Brozek, where we talk about the SFF community as a whole, and the changes coming down the line for the genre.

If you liked this interview, consider checking out some of our other author interviews, linked below.

The 2022 Hugo Award Nominees Are Here!

It’s that time of year again! The Hugo Award nominees were just announced, and the lineup is fantastic!

Galaxy’s Edge is proud to say that Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki’s story “O2 Arena” has been nominated for Best Novelette! This very same story was also nominated for the Nebula Award novelette category!

The official winners of the Hugos will be announced on September 4th, 2022. The ceremony will take place at Chicon 8, the 80th World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago, Illinois. The even will be hosted by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the nominations, including links where you can read the work!

Best Novel

  • A Desolation Called Peace, by Arkady Martine (Tor)
  • The Galaxy, and the Ground Within, by Becky Chambers (Harper Voyager / Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Light From Uncommon Stars, by Ryka Aoki (Tor / St Martin’s Press)
  • A Master of Djinn, by P. Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom / Orbit UK)
  • Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir (Ballantine / Del Rey)
  • She Who Became the Sun, by Shelley Parker-Chan (Tor / Mantle)

Best Novella

  • Across the Green Grass Fields, by Seanan McGuire (Tordotcom)
  • Elder Race, by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tordotcom)
  • Fireheart Tiger, by Aliette de Bodard (Tordotcom)
  • The Past Is Red, by Catherynne M. Valente (Tordotcom)
  • A Psalm for the Wild-Built, by Becky Chambers (Tordotcom)
  • A Spindle Splintered, by Alix E. Harrow (Tordotcom)

Best Novelette

Best Short Story

Best Series

  • The Green Bone Saga, by Fonda Lee (Orbit)
  • The Kingston Cycle, by C. L. Polk (Tordotcom)
  • Merchant Princes, by Charles Stross (Macmillan)
  • Terra Ignota, by Ada Palmer (Tor Books)
  • Wayward Children, by Seanan McGuire (Tordotcom)
  • The World of the White Rat, by T. Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon) (Argyll Productions)

There are plenty more nominees, including the finalists for the Lodestar Award and the Astounding Award. To read the full list of finalists, please check out the Hugo Awards Nominee page.

Congrats to everyone who was nominated! We look forward to seeing who the winners are in September!

What is Lunarpunk, And Can It Fix Solarpunk’s Problems?

So, I have to be honest, I’ve been doing a lot of research into what makes particular sci fi subgenres tick. After writing about the solarpunk genre a few weeks ago, something didn’t sit right with me.

After doing some more reading, I’ve pinpointed a few issues with the idea of solarpunk, at least, with how it’s been previously defined.

This goes back to the idea of the punk—the social deviant and system-breaker—and how that really applies to these genres. In the “good-place” utopia that solarpunk strives to be, where does the punk come into play?

And what is lunarpunk? The dichotomous relationship with solarpunk really sets up a whole new perspective that opens up how we can look at the genres.

Problems With Solarpunk

One of the primary things I find a bit troubling about solarpunk as an ideology is the insertion of the ‘punk’. Now, previously, I had defined the solarpunk as being someone who “cares a lot less about rebelling against a system that impacts them as an individual, but instead takes a more environmental approach. They are eco-activists who aim to right the wrongs of the past with technology that is sustainable and renewable.”

On the surface level, I think this is still true. It’s an easy way to define the general mindset of the solarpunk in fiction, and in reality.

However, I overlooked the fact that solarpunk is so dedicated to the creation of a unified collective, that the ‘punk’ might end up slipping out of this collective. You simply can’t have a collective of punks, because that’s counterintuitive on two fronts. So where does the punk fit in a utopia they helped to create? Does the cycle continue after the ideal world has been achieved? What point is there in a rebellion when all is seemingly good?

To rectify this little oversight, we don’t have to completely rework the philosophy of the genre, we simply have to break it up.

We can look at it in three stages:

Three Stages of Solarpunk

Pre-solarpunk is (hopefully) the current state of the world today, in 2022. The climate crisis is getting worse by the day, biodiversity is rapidly deteriorating. But, the fundamentals of change are happening. You’re reading this blog, people are writing eco-fiction and using their skills to work toward a sustainable future.

Solarpunk really picks up when change is acted upon in radical ways. When rebellions begin and oppressive systems are picked apart. This stage is revolution, where the punks take their stand and worldwide change comes to fruition.

Post-solarpunk is really where a lot of the literature defined as “solarpunk” fits in. This stage is when the revolution has been completed, and the systems in place are all working together toward the “good-place” utopia. There will still be problems, sure, but the radical nature of the punk as defined by the revolution stage is no longer condoned. The system in post-solarpunk gets as close to the perfect, sustainable world as possible.

In the post-solarpunk world, I might venture so far as to define the punks as philosophical solar-anarchists. These people aren’t radicalized to the point of revolution (because their revolution has already occurred) but they still operate on the fringes, working against systems they deem as oppressive, or ones that might become oppressive. Traditional philosophical anarchists defy social order and state control, with the ultimate goal of freeing the individual from oppressive systems.

We might think of the post-solarpunks as being the watchers on high of the new society. The systems that replaced the capitalist regime are still a step away from true self-governance, but the post-solarpunks tolerate the new system.

Where Does Lunarpunk Come In?

Lunarpunk is the other side of the solarpunk coin. It’s a very new genre, and it’s more rooted in aesthetics and spiritualism than solarpunk is. While you might be able to skew solarpunk as a political ideology, lunarpunk is much harder to pin down.

solarpunk and lunarpunk together

No one person has been accredited with the creation of lunarpunk, but there are quite a few people on the Internet that have contributed to the philosophy of the genre.

In an expansive Tumblr comment from thecarboncoast, lunarpunk is defined loosely as:

“Aspeculative fiction style/genre defined by an obscured, shrouded, and/or dark near-future where the business of its inhabitants is done in secretive, cryptic or mysterious ways, accentuated by a visual style hearkening to lunar, occult, Pagan, Wiccan, Satanic, Anarchaic, Chaotic, practices, and comprised of world-building details which are more ideal for introverted, quiet, isolated or self-reliant people. Doesn’t mean an extroverted Christian isn’t part of Lunarpunk, or that someone who practices anything mentioned above isn’t part of Solarpunk. But in terms of what defines Lunarpunk as a genre, you would be more likely to see small sects of persons worshiping (or devoting to) The Self rather than The Other.”

So, it’s clear the lunarpunk operates side-by-side with solarpunk, with a duality that’s often characterized by the yin and yang symbol. The presence of spirituality as a defining feature is really what seperates lunarpunk from solarpunk.

Where solarpunk is a calculating genre that places a focus on the breakdown of societal structures—politics, religion, media, etc.—lunarpunk embraces the loose structure of spirituality and champions individuality.

Instead of a focus on the technology and practices for advancing society, lunarpunk is more about creating a more sustainable sense of self.

One way I’ve seen this concept described is that the sun represents the consciousness, while the moon represents the subconsciousness. It makes sense, primarily because lunarpunk revels in the unexplainable, while solarpunk focuses on reality.

Can There Be a Solarpunk Without Lunarpunk?

Part of the reason I was troubled by solarpunk was because there seemed to be a loss of the individual. Sure, individuals are the ones behind great ideas for sustainable technology, and a more accepting society allows people to be who they want to be.

But the individual is always talked about in connection to society, and that, even in a punk sense, isn’t what individual means.

After learning about lunarpunk, I realized that the two genres must coexist together, lest they both evaporate. Lunarpunk accounts for the individual outside of the societal sphere. Spirituality is largely an individual journey, and lunarpunk’s secretive, mysterious nature supports the development of individual politics and spirituality.

In this regard, I think that the “punk” in lunarpunk is about breaking away from society, no matter how green and pure and optimistic it may be. The dichotomy of solarpunk/lunarpunk levels both of the genres out. There’s a balance that’s necessary for survival. Focus on solarpunk for too long, you lose sight of who you are for the greater good of the society, and if you focus on lunarpunk for too long, you become isolated and disconnected from others.

And to answer the titular question: yes, I think lunarpunk succeeds in solving some of solarpunk’s problems. Not all of them, but those are bound to work themselves out as the two genres converge and grow together.

Breaking Up The Story: What is Serialized Fiction?

In many ways, the Internet completely changed how we look at fiction. What was once a very tangible thing—think magazines, books, newspapers, etc.—has become somewhat immaterial. You can’t hold a magazine issue digitally; you’re holding your phone or tablet, and it’s just not the same.

If you didn’t have a subscription to your favorite science fiction magazines back then, you could head to the library, borrow a friend’s or check out the corner store.

Now, it seems that physical magazine subscriptions are few and far between. Why pay for a tangible thing when you can save money by reading the stuff online for a fraction of the cost, sometimes for free?

That paradigm shift comes with its own quirks. If you happen to forget to bookmark a short story you read in some magazine, it might be completely lost to you if you end up forgetting author, title, and place of publication.

If you had the magazine on your shelf, all you had to do was flick through until you found it. Now you have to scroll through the archives, opening a thousand tabs to find the story. Or worse, attempt to prod the collective mind on Reddit or Twitter.

However, one of the interesting things about the relationship between the Internet and fiction is serialized fiction, which is a format that predates the Internet, but has gotten so much more traction because of it.

What is Serialized Fiction?

Serial fiction, or serialized fiction, is when a longer work is broken up into smaller installments that are released on a set schedule. Think TV episodes, but for fiction.

Where do serials appear? They can pop up in monthly, bi-monthly, weekly, or daily publications, like magazines or newspapers. Not only is serialized fiction a great way for authors to keep interest in their work going for a long time, it’s also used as a tool to sell more magazines or newspapers. If people get invested in the serial, they’re going to have to keep buying to read!

Serialized fiction is by no means a new concept. It’s been around for hundreds of years, and picked up popularity when the printing press made reading material more readily available for people outside of the aristocracy.

Charles Dickens had Great Expectations serialized in 1860, and Arthur Conan Doyle wrote many of the Sherlock Holmes stories to appear sequentially in various magazines.

Fast forward a hundred years, radio and television drastically changed the world of serialized fiction, bringing a more lifelike element to it. Even comic books work on the same principle as early serialized specials.

But what about today? And what about SFF publications? Where do they stand?

Serialized Fiction in 2022

The Internet has made writing fiction like Charles Dickens did nearly impossible. Sometimes, scenes in Dickens’ novels stretch for pages at a time, barely broken by dialogue or action of any kind. Unless you’re hyper-focused on the text, it’s difficult to read it without drifting off into daydreams or switching to a more engaging activity.

And we have the Internet and social media to blame for a lot of that. Recent studies have shown that the human attention span is about 8 seconds, which is why so many videos on Instagram and TikTok are limited to under 60 seconds. Anything longer, people just won’t watch it.

Even the way we have to format writing has changed. Gone are the long paragraphs, which were replaced with white space every two or three sentences.

So, it was only natural that serialized fiction would make an appearance in the new digital world. The bite-sized installments are easy to handle, and fit into even the busiest schedules.

Ways to Read (and Listen)

Now, more than ever, serialized science fiction and fantasy works are on the rise. Serial Box, which has since become Realm, features episodic fiction from authors like Max Gladston, K. Arsenault Rivera, E.C. Meyers, Yoon Ha Lee, Mary Robinette Kowal, and so many more.

Realm offers readers multiple installments of the same story in podcast format. Generally, each episode is about an hour and a half long, which makes it easy to find a stopping point.

However, the contrast between the 8 second attention span and the 1.5 hr episode length is pretty distinct.

Other serialized fiction platforms, like Mythrill Fiction, break stories down into much more manageable chunks.

On their app, Mythrill has a handful of different stories, ranging in themes from pirates and sea monsters to cyberpunk cities.

mythrill serialized fiction app

Each story is broken up into 20 episodes, with each episode taking about 5 minutes to read.

But, the really interesting thing about Mythrill is their lore cards. These story add-ons help readers quickly get a grasp of the characters and the world, and each come with an illustration.

There are also many serialized fiction podcasts out there, similar to Realm, that have continuous stories that are released in episode installments. Check out our article on SFF podcasts to learn more.

Conclusion

Why do I think serialized fiction is the way we’re going to be reading and listening to SFF in the future? It’s tailored to the current human experience. It might sound dumb, but having fiction that fits into your lifestyle—almost like how Duolingo makes language-learning manageable—is the key to garnering a following.

Don’t get me wrong, I love big books. The Stormlight Archive, Dandelion Dynasty, The Wheel of Time, etc., but more and more I find myself daunted by the sheer size of them.

Who knows, I might be wrong, but now, I see serialized fiction becoming much more popular in the coming years simply because it formats its content in ways we’re accustomed to consuming Internet media.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.

Rereading “Shattered Sidewalks of the Human Heart” by Sam J. Miller

I’m a big fan of Sam J. Miller’s work, particularly his short stories. They’re always poignant and something I find myself coming back to read more than once.

One story I really love is “Making Us Monsters”, which Miller co-wrote with Lara Elena Donnelly for Uncanny Magazine in 2017. It’s a heart-wrenching novelette about Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon during WWI, and is definitely worth a read.

However, a story I’ve come back to more than a few times is “Shattered Sidewalks of the Human Heart” which appeared in Clarkesworld Magazine in 2019. And I’d like to try and uncover why.

Some Context

“Shattered Sidewalks of the Human Heart” made its appearance in Clarkesworld Magazine’s 154 issue, and was later included in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror.

The story takes place in New York City in the 1930s, and in this reality, King Kong is real. Or, was real.

The events and characters of the 1933 film King Kong are all factual and real in this world, running alongside the actual history of German aggression in Poland and the Great Depression in the US.

Aside from the fact that Kong was real—having climbed the Empire State Building, been shot, fallen, and died—the rest of the world is very similar to our own. The story revolves around the change in mindset of the American people after Kong’s death, and Miller contrasts that with the horrible history of the Third Reich across the Atlantic.

Why the Story Is So Compelling

The story starts with Solomon the taxi driver picking up Ann Darrow on a Friday night in downtown New York. This is the same Ann Darrow that ventures to Skull Island and befriends Kong. The same Ann Darrow who was in Kong’s grasp as he climbed the Empire State building.

We quickly become acquainted with the two characters. Solomon is a liminal space, as a Jew and a homosexual in the 1930s, and Darrow is disillusioned by all that surrounds her.

And right out of the gate, Miller makes it clear that there’s a connection between the American collective, Kong’s death, and the rise of fascism in Europe, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

Part of the reason I like this story so much is because it’s complex. On the surface, it’s might seem like it’s just a new take on a movie from a long time ago. But underneath, Miller really hints at the American mindset and succeeds in characterizing New York City in a way I’ve never seen done before.

Sure, we’ve all seen the movies where the gruff New Yorkers come together to defend their city or something like that, but in the wake of Kong’s demise, Miller’s New Yorkers release a collective wail.

At one point, Solomon thinks, “Which one of us wasn’t Kong, a king among ants even as they destroyed us?” Living in the Depression, embedded in a broken system, really solidified the togetherness of these people, and when an event like Kong took place, it solidified the community.

But in the same sense, Kong’s death and the subsequent events solidified both Solomon and Darrow’s hatred for the city.

1933 king kong movie

A Love/Hate Relationship

There’s a lot of polarizing emotions going on in this story. Solomon pinpoints the feeling when he agrees with Darrow about hating New York, but follows up by saying “even if I also love it.”

On the one side of the spectrum, people changed their ways after Kong’s death. A large portion of the population became vegetarians after Kong’s death and animal abuse legislation was fast-tracked. But at the same time, people “changed in bad ways too.” City officials refused to reimburse anyone for property damage caused by Kong and the new wave of vegetarianism put slaughterhouse employees out of work.

Toss that on top of the Depression era suffering, the whole scenario was a wash in emotions. Kong’s plight was in many ways representative of the millions of people who felt cheated and forgotten by the powers that be. And Kong’s death was yet another example of how the “rich men fucked up.”

But, in classic Miller style, it’s more than just a love/hate relationship with the city. Solomon and Darrow both run through the gamut of emotions.

Darrow, a once popular actress, was no longer able to put up with the glitz, glamour, or shallow nature of the New York elite. And Solomon, shunned in so many ways, sees himself as a monster and an outcast without a voice. His three grandparents are still in Poland, hiding from Hitler’s Nazi invasion while America stands by and watches.

I’m not really sure how I can express what all these things do when they’re pulled together on the same page. The parallelism between Kong, the city, and the dynamic between Solomon and Darrow all work together in a unique way. It’s eerie, and I’m still going to keep reading this story until I can pinpoint exactly what it is that makes it so interesting.

Conclusion

But what I do know is that today, more than ever, this story speaks out.

The fact that New Yorkers—well, most of them—can come together over this “act of God”, and see Kong as more than just a giant monster seems almost shallow compared to the genuine plea for help from Jews in Poland.

What does it take for Americans to join together and make a difference? Sure, animal rights are important, but why couldn’t they recognize that there were more important things to deal with across the ocean?

And the same goes for today. I look at the news and I think about the situation in Ukraine. What must happen for us to stand up and demand action? Must another King Kong climb the Empire State Building and be shot out of the sky for us to do something?

This is not so much a political question as it is a question over American ideals. What compels us to fight for certain things over others that seem far more pressing? Perhaps reading “Shattered Sidewalks of the Human Heart” again will give me a better idea.

Top 5 Desert Fantasy Books With Sandy Cities

For a long time, the fantasy genre was dominated by stories about tall stone castles, misty forests, and knights in medieval armor. This intense focus on the medieval European landscape kind of defined fantasy as a genre. Just saying the word “fantasy” inspires thoughts of dragons, knights, and maidens in despair.

But there are plenty of other kinds of fantasy out there that don’t take such heavy inspiration from the Middle Ages. One of the most interesting fantasy genres is desert fantasy. Authors of desert fantasy replace the mountains and ancient forests with vast seas of sand and massive trade-center cities.

Here are the top 5 desert fantasy books that feature sandy dunes, complex cities, and a fresh take on the fantasy genre.

Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed

When this book first came out in 2012, it was a big hit. It was one of the most popular desert fantasy books by far, and it still stands as a great example of non-European fantasy.

But it was planned as a series—The Crescent Moon Kingdoms. But it’s been 10 years and we haven’t seen a second book released. It has a title and a description on Goodreads, but no official news about its publication date.

The story follows a number of interesting characters, including a ghul hunter, a holy warrior, and a shapeshifter. All the characters are investigating a series of murders that are all connected, and when they end up banding together, they realize there’s a plot much bigger than anyone realized. In the kingdom of Dhamsawaat, the Falcon Prince is brewing up a revolution, and it’s up to the ragtag band to stop him.

The author, Saladin Ahmed, is a quite prominent writer for Marvel, working on numerous Spider-Man comics.

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

We Hunt the Flame is part of the Sands of Arawiya series, and is succeeded by the book, We Free the Stars. This book was published in 2019 by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. The kingdom of Arawiya was inspired by ancient Arabia,

The story follows Zafira, a hunter of rare artifacts. She disguises herself as a man to avoid scrutiny as she acts as a champion for her people. When she sets out to find a precious artifact that can heal her people, the Prince of Death, right hand of the sultan, is put onto her trail. During the course of their hunt, the two champions realize that something much bigger is stirring in the world, something neither of them can control.

We Hunt the Flame is often considered a young adult series, but it stands on the line between adult fantasy and young adult desert fantasy.

The Eyes of the Tamburah by Maria V. Snyder

The Eyes of the Tamburah is the first book in the Archives of the Invisible Sword series, and is often considered a young adult novel. The book was published in 2019, so it’s a fairly new addition to the desert fantasy genre.

The story follows Shyla, an 18-year-old outcast. Her sun-colored eyes maker her a sun-kissed, a child marked by the Sun Goddess as a sacrifice. But instead of meeting a gruesome death, Shyla was raised by monks.

Soon after leaving the monks, Shyla ventures into the underground desert city of Zirdai and starts working as a kind of Tomb-Raider-esque archaeologist. When a precious religious artifact is stolen, Shyla is blackmailed into finding it, but ends up getting caught in the middle of a deadly turf war.

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai by Bradley P. Beaulieu

As the first book in The Song of Shattered Sands series, Twelve Kings in Sharakhai sets up the whole desert environment. From the tallest spire of the desert city’s towers to the gnarled, magical trees that pepper the windswept plains outside the city walls.

In this book, we meet Ceda, a pit fighter and a rogue, trying to unravel the mysteries in her late mother’s diary. Little does she know; she holds the secrets that the Twelve Kings tried to purge from existence. Finding foes at almost every turn, Ceda must navigate the dark streets of Sharakhai to finish what her mother started and free the people of the desert from the kings’ tyranny.

This book is one of my favorites, and it has such rich lore and backstory. Many of the elements are inspired by Arabic folklore, specifically Egyptian. The Song of Shattered Sands includes 6 full-length novels, a prequel novella, and a handful of other novellas/short stories.

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

The Blue Sword is the oldest book on this list, having been first published in 1982. The book is first of the Damar series, which includes four other books.

The Blue Sword takes place in the desert land populated by Homelanders and Hillfolk. The protagonist, Angharad “Harry” Crewe, is captured by the Hillfolk King and taken deep into the desert. Harry is then trained to be a master warrior, and develops a keen sense of respect for the Hillfolk. As Northern invaders threaten their sovereignty, Harry must be the bridge that brings the Homelanders and the Hillfolk together.  

There are plenty of other desert fantasy books out there that we didn’t mention, and the genre is still growing! If you have a favorite book that wasn’t mentioned here, feel free to leave a comment below!

And if you liked this blog, consider checking out some of our other content:

The Tale of Two Sci Fi Cities

Just like there are multiple different genres of science fiction, there are also many imagined outcomes for the spaces where we live. In post-apocalyptic futures, survivors of nuclear fallout or deadly contagion hole up in abandoned buildings and underground bunkers.

For space opera sagas, people call space stations, colony ships, and mining rigs home. And cyberpunk cities are filled with smog, neon lights, and poverty. It’s clear that the spectrum of sci fi cities—or sci fi habitats, in general—are all dependent upon each individual value-set of the genre.

For example, cyberpunk has long been defined by end-game capitalism, where mega-corporations blatantly control governments and dictate the habits of the population. Any and all infrastructure projects are designed to benefit the corporations, and the everyday person ends up working longer hours for less pay, if they work a job at all.

The cyberpunk city reflects the high-tech, low-life motto of the genre. Tech isn’t used to create a better collective future, instead it’s the tool of authoritarian, capitalist regimes or the hobby of “punks” who see their individualism tied with technology.

Thinking about how political, economic, and social factors impact the kinds of cities we live in, I was interested to learn about the “real life” sci fi cities that pop up once and again in WIRED articles or news coverage.

More specifically, I am intrigued by the mindset that dictates the design choices for these cities. If we were living in a sci fi novel, what would our genre be? That’s how I wanted to look at the following sci fi cities.

Songdo IBD, South Korea

Songdo is one of the more popular sci fi cities you hear mentioned today, and it’s certainly on of the most complete. What started as a tidal flat home to a few fishermen, is now a “green” metropolis that houses around 170,000 people.

Songdo, and the Songdo International Business District, are located along the Incheon waterfront, an hour away from Seoul, South Korea. The city was designed to be a sustainable city, with green spaces and LEED-certifications galore.

In the past 20 years, multiple governments and investors have contributed $40 billion to Songdo city, making it one of the most expensive megastructures in the world.

The city, in keeping with the goal of environmental sustainability, features:

  • Pneumatic waste systems that sort garbage and recycling
  • A lofty 100 acres of park space
  • Multiple LEED-certified buildings and spaces (approximately 106 buildings, when construction is complete)
  • Bike lanes and accessible public transportation

Pictures of Songdo city might lure you into thinking it’s the future of urban living. The precursor to a solarpunk city, if you will.

However, under its bright green environmentalism, Songdo reveals the ideologies upon which urban life is built.

sci fi cities songdo
An overview of the Central Park in Songdo, seen from the Observatory on the 29th floor of G-Tower. 18.08.15

On an innocent level, sensors and built-in computers around the city monitor water flow, energy usage, and traffic patterns. This data is collected under the guise of advancement of green tech—gathering data to better perfect urban infrastructure.

But these auxiliary computer systems act as an appendage to the hand of authoritarianism. Throughout the city, government-funded cameras are mounted on light posts, street signs, traffic lights, and buildings, connecting back to the U-Life Center. What’s detailed as a precautionary measure to prevent crime and respond quickly to disasters can easily be equipped for intelligence-gathering and a demolition of any sense of privacy.

What’s more, Cisco, one of the developing partners, proposed that all children be equipped with GPS tracking chips in their bracelets. Albeit back in 2014, this tech is still just as haunting today, where it’s hard to find any kind of privacy from prying, online eyes.

Forest City, Malaysia

Just a six-hour plane ride from Songdo, another smart, green city is under development. Forest City is located in the Johor Bahru District in Malaysia, spanning around 3,400 acres. The project was meant to be an energy-efficient, low-waste city to help solve the growing population problem in Malaysia. Forest City was a collaborative effort between Johor People’s Infrastructure Group and Country Garden Holding Ltd.

sci fi cities forest city

Construction for the project began in 2006, but has stalled multiple times due to political, environmental, and economic factors. Environmentally, the construction project has compromised water hydrology, traditional fishing grounds, and mangrove orchards. And many experts are saying that the land is sinking, seen through cracks in new foundations and shifting buildings. The man-made islands weren’t given enough time to settle, and will create problems in the future.

Despite having raised over $100 billion for the project, Forest City remains one of the least populated cities in the world, with only about 500 full-time residents.

The idea for this sci fi city was sound—a metropolis filled with green spaces and next-level technology—but corruption and environmental oversight have landed Forest City in the margins of history.

A Capitalist Future

It’s clear that there are some strides being made toward sustainability and an environmentally-friendly future. However, there’s a difference between end-goal sustainability and continuous sustainability.

The land Songdo is built used to be a costal flat, with a few fishermen calling it home. Over the course of a few years, the whole landscape changed, with earthmovers bringing in tons of sand and soil to create the foundation for the city. And at one point, construction ground to a halt because it threatened local ecosystems.

And Forest City is no different. The man-made islands it sits upon were once an Environmentally Sensitive Area, which prohibited development that wasn’t related to low-impact tourism and research. Construction of Forest City began without the proper legal documents and eventually impacted coastal wetlands and traditional fishing families.

If these sustainable cities were more than a venture by capitalist well-doers, they would have taken the proper precautions to abide by local restrictions and environmental protection acts. In the pursuit of a “green city”, the developers have overlooked the biodiversity and importance of the coastal wetlands.

I think we can best sum up both Songdo and Forest City with a quote from Bruce Sterling, from his Manifesto of January 3rd, 2000. Talking about CO2 emissions—and largely about sustainable building practices—he says, “it’s not centrally a political or economic problem. It is a design and engineering problem. It is a cultural problem and a problem of artistic sensibility.”

Economically, these cities are possible. If not for capitalism, the Songdo and Forest City projects might not have raised billions of dollars from private and government investors. But culturally, the projects turned into vanity projects, and abide by the same autocratic policies that plague urban centers all over the world. Information privacy is thrown out the window, and the foundations for the cities were built using the same strategies as every other city.

The only way to truly create a green city, be it today or 10 years from today, is to start with a good foundation. That foundation is both a literal and a metaphorical thing.

You need to build in a place that’s not a protected environmental zone, obviously, but you also need to make the construction a collaborative effort between scientific and thought leaders in the field and local authorities. And under capitalism, that cannot happen. Corners will always be cut for the sake of profit, a focus will always be placed on recouping investment, and design elements will favor the needs of the state, or in this case, the developer.

If we learned anything from our deep dive into Solarpunk, it’s that the best places are built outside of the conventional sphere—with “punk” energy, if you will.

So, until those things happen, hopeful sci fi cities like Songdo and Forest City will only every be that: hopeful.

Understanding The Moon Knight Comics: Who Is Marc Spector?

As you’ve probably seen already, Disney and Marvel are releasing a new miniseries on Disney+ called Moon Knight. The show stars Oscar Isaac as the titular character, with a March 30th release date.

For many of us, the Super Bowl commercial for the Moon Knight show was the first time we’ve seen the Egyptian knight character, but there’s a rich history of Moon Knight comics that the show will be based on.

Here’s everything you need to know about Marc Spector, Moon Knight, and his origin story before you watch the show at the end of the month.

The Origins of Marc Spector

While the trailer for the show makes it seem like the Moon Knight has some kind of super powers, what with the glowing eyes and the suit that forms to his body, he actually is an ordinary human.

Marc Spector used to be a Marine, part of the CIA, and a mercenary for the highest bidder. When another merc brutally murders an archeologist in Sudan, Spector steps in to save the archeologist’s daughter. During the fight, the other merc, known as Bushman, kills Spector at the feet of a statue of the Egyptian god Khonshu.

Miraculously, Spector comes back to life, believing he’s been resurrected by Khonshu, the god of the moon, to be a protector of the innocent.

There’s been a few different iterations of the Moon Knight comics, but they are almost unanimously centered around Marc Spector’s dissociative identity disorder. Spector uses a few different identities which he created—Steven Grant, Jake Lockley, and Mr. Knight—to go about his day to day, gathering information from all levels of society.

But other comics detail the psychic connection Spector has to Khonshu, which causes Spector to shift between four different personalities of the moon god.

Generally, Moon Knight’s powers are all human in nature. Spector uses the wealth he amassed as a gun-for-hire to create a Batman-esque lair with advanced technology. The one thing that might be considered a superpower is Spector’s ability to avoid death. He’s died multiple times, but is always resurrected by Khonshu.

The First Moon Knight Comic

Moon Knight first appeared in the 1975 comic Werewolf by Night #32, and later received his first series in 1980. The series was headed up by Dough Moench, who has worked on Batman comics and is credited with the creation of the Deathlok character, and Bill Sienkiewicz, whose work appeared in New Mutants, The Mighty Thor, and Daredevil.

Since the first Moon Knight comic in 1980, there have been 9 official volumes alongside plenty of side-appearances with the Avengers and other notable heroes.

In 2021, a new Moon Knight comic was released under the name The Midnight Mission, and it was written by Jed Mackay with art by Alessandro Cappuccio and Steve McNiven. The six-issue series portrays Marc Spector as a priest of Khonshu’s congregation, as well as taking on the form of the “defender of those who travel at night”.

moon knight comic

And with the new show coming out later this month, Marvel plans to release an anthology series titled Moon Knight: Black, White, and Blood in April 2022.

Check out this resource if you’re interested in seeing all the Moon Knight comics in order.

Oscar Isaac as Moon Knight

From the looks of the two trailers for Marvel’s Moon Knight miniseries, there are some changes in store for Marc Spector. We see him as an insomniac, fighting to control his dreams and discern what’s imagined from reality.

For the show, they clearly exaggerated Spector’s D.I.D., to the point where he lives as Steven Grant almost exclusively. In one scene, he answers the phone and is confused by a woman calling him Marc.

It’s unclear how true to the Moon Knight comics the show will be, but it will be nice to see a new Marvel character prepare to join an Avengers lineup, as presumably that’s what the show is setting up.

We’ll keep you posted on the Moon Knight TV series, and we’re certainly excited to see where it goes!

In the meantime, check out some of our other comic book content:

Interview with Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, Author of O2 Arena

“O2 Arena”, a novelette by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, was published in Galaxy’s Edge Magazine in 2021 and is a finalist for the British Science Fiction Award.

We got a chance to talk with Oghenechovwe about “O2 Arena”, his ambitions as a writer and editor, as well as what he has planned for the future!

If you would like to read “O2 Arena”, you can do so here. Please also consider nominating it for the Nebula and Hugo Awards!

IP: The world of “O2 Arena” takes place in 2030, not so far off from our own time and place. Is this grim future a warning or a prediction for the next 10 years?

ODE: It’s both a warning and a prediction. “O2 Arena” is not exactly a wild sci fi story. There’s no terraforming on Mars, the elements in “O2 Arena” are things we live with daily.

There are people dying of all these illnesses because of capitalism and a lack of a system that cares for the people’s health. Instead, companies focus on how much money they can take from the African continent. There’s capitalism on toxic levels, and neo-colonizing loan firms that are offering money to the continent at rates that are exploitative.

70% of what’s in “O2 Arena” are already happening and 20% is on the same trajectory if we do nothing. The remaining 10% is a little out of the way, the hope that things can get better.

So “O2 Arena” is both a warning and a prediction of what will happen if we don’t move from current path. The underground O2 arena is where you have to fight for your right to breathe, taking that right from someone else. That’s the endgame of toxic capitalism.

It’s a very close reality that could actualize itself if we don’t do anything about it. 

IP: I know that you’ve been working on a lot of projects as an editor, including the upcoming anthology Africa Risen. For you, how is being an editor different than being a writer, and which do you prefer doing more?

ODE: They serve different purposes, but I’ll say that writing is definitely my first love. I always wanted to be a writer and tell stories. It just so happens that editing is a part of writing that you cannot escape, especially when you come from certain demographics. When you come from an underrepresented group, writing without editing is like trying to have a child without a partner.

There’s not enough representation for black people, especially for Africans on the continent, that it becomes a necessity to embark on projects like editing and publishing. Editing is like an appendage. Both are like the seed and the flower, or flower and the branch; they depend on each other.

Like I said, writing is my first love, but editing is just as important to me. My writing might not have survived without my editing. For example, my biggest writing project, my novella Ife-Iyoku, Tale of Imadeyunuagbon, I had to publish it myself in an anthology that I co-edited.

IP: Did you start out as a writer and move into editing, or have those two things always lived together?

ODE: I definitely started out as a writer, but my writing was coming along really slowly. Editing was a way to fast-track that.

My first collaboration was the Dominion anthology, and Zelda Knight reached out to me asking if I wanted to contribute a piece or be a co-editor. I said I wanted to do both, because I saw the advantage of having both a writing credit and an editing credit.

From there, I leapt into many different projects in writing, editing, and publishing. Like I said, they all go together like seed and flower.

IP: Your work has gained a lot of attention, what with the Otherwise Award, BSFA, and others. For you as a writer, what was your biggest achievement?

ODE: People talk about achieving their dreams, but I think for me, the biggest flex is that a lot of the things I’ve done, I never dared to dream of. They aren’t things that I thought were feasible, or even possible.

You dream about getting a good job, buying a nice car and a house. You don’t dream about winning a Nebula award, you know?

But I guess for me, my biggest achievement is to be on the same platform with some of the people whose work I grew up reading. While other kids were out playing football, I was reading.

I’m not crazy about Michael Jackson or Halle Berry; I’m crazy about Patrick Rothfuss, GRRM, Brandon Sanderson. Those are people that I’ve gotten to be on the platform with, and I’ve gotten to interact with them on a personal level. I’ve been able to share my views on art, writing, editing, and craft with them and take part in an intellectual conversation with them.

I was on a panel with Patrick Rothfuss, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s the most impressive thing I’ve achieved. Rothfuss was one of the most important authors at a point in my life, and I spent a long time living off his writing—reading and dreaming.

And these people were so far away. They’re far away for the average American, so you can imagine how far away they are for somebody in Nigeria. For me, it was like meeting Michael Jackson.

IP: What happens next? You’ve achieved these things you never imagined were possible, so what’s next for you?

ODE: Well, now I’ve started dreaming, and I have some ambitions. I want to reinvent pop culture and center it around Black and African narratives. The world has suppressed Blackness and African-ness for a long time, while still using its resources to build and boost its own cultures.

I want to give us our rightful place in art and history. There was slavery, colonization, and we know that a lot of the resources from the continent have built things around the world. Our art is still hanging in museums in Germany and Britain. It’s only fair that we have a place in the current pop and entertainment structures.

African artists should have a place and a chance to benefit off the systems that were built using their blood and the resources of their ancestors.

That’s my dream.

IP: That’s very inspiring, I certainly hope it comes true. Speaking of the futures, what kind of projects are you working on currently?

ODE: I’m working on everything. I’m writing a novel. I’m pitching a novella and a novella series. I have editing projects currently underway. Africa Risen is coming out later this year, I have an editing project I’m working on with the editor of Galaxy’s Edge.

I have several awards, ceremonies, and events planned for this year. Plus, I have a publishing imprint in the works.

Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki’s novelette “O2 Arena” was nominated for the Nebula Awards this year. It is the first novelette by an African writer—diaspora or continental—to be nominated for the award. It’s also eligible for the Hugo Award for Best Novelette. 

“O2 Arena” is also Galaxy’s Edge’s first nomination for a Nebula award in this category. 

To learn more about Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki’s writing and editing projects, please visit his website!

A big thanks goes out to Oghenechovwe for sitting down for this chat!