Roundabout or How I Got Here...

...Quite by accident. Or quiet design. Viable arguments for the genesis of many things, but tripping through the wires of the internet led me to this Place. A vibrant fantastical place in its own right, the Black Science Fiction Society feels like coming home or a family reunion. Multicolored, multifaceted, multicultural, is how I likes it. So thanks to all y'all for the uncharacteristically warm welcome!

Right, so a little over a year ago, I was slogging through Amazon for something to read that might tickle my fancy. If you're like me, you felt like you've read every fantasy novel brimming with the standard tropes or tropes in disguise. Weened on mythology, teethed on Tolkien, with an adolescence in D&D, heaping helpings of Moorcock and liberal sprinklings of Le Guin, I've dabbled with Delany's Dhalgren and strode the deserts of Herberts Dune, I felt like I had read it all before, twice. At the moment, Neil Gaiman is, for me, like many others, a current champion. So what to read now that you can't pore over the Silmarillion one more time, you've slummed with Jim Butcher and you, a former genre head, find yourself squinting into the not-so-forbidding-anymore-wilds of Literary Fiction writers like Chabon for a ripping good yarn? Chalk it up to maturity, desperation, whatever! This is why I was on Amazon. Felt like the (Amazon) jungle, yeah.

Didn't find jack until i went to the forums. Trolling those wilds I went from jack to jackpot. Most interesting to me was a post concerning a certain literary agency that puts out a monthly wishlist of books/manuscripts that it would like to see cross its desks. A muslim detective, a modern day huck finn, an African American Lord of the Rings. A WHAT?!? What the heck was that? I wondered. And it seemed I wasn't alone in that question... How would that work? Why would you even do it? What does that mean?? What? But it was late and I went to bed and forgot about it......for a while.

In the wintry dead of night. some months later, I woke with a start and grabbed a pen and started scribbling down words in the blank black books I keep nearby the bed when nightborne fits of writing seize me. My subconscious, or WHATEVER had worked out how it WOULD work. Wow, I was on to something. Deeply personal, (YAY!) it consumed and continues to consume my waking (and sometime dreaming) thought. It's my "African American Lord of the Rings"! A world of my own devising this time that I can go to when I need to escape the humdrummery of light conversation, the daily commute or bill paying muzak. My eyes may glaze and I might miss what you said but I assure you worlds are being saved behind my vacant, placating smile. Hopefully when its finished you can share in these effects.

There was/is the research.
There are the many pages written and to come.
There are the maps, the outlines.
The f***ing words!

My first major undertaking as a writer. The hubris! The sheer arrogance! The sheerogance! Might as well put that creative writing degree to use though, huh? So I have. Its a process I'm sure with which many of you dear readers are familiar. Me? I'm lazy, easily distracted, and infrequently dismayed by the task with which I've set before myself. Other than that, things are going swimmingly.

Hey. This summer my own brother said a curious thing: "I don't think there's a market necessarily for African American Fantastic Fiction." My initial response was at least threefold:

1. Anger at his own black ass for thinking the thing.
2. Dismay at that same thought and
3. The immense desire to prove him wrong.

A little about my bro: he's biracial and grew up for all intents and purposes as white among whites (so did I to a certain extent) but I have seen some moments when the ways of society rudely awakened my brown brother from beyond the pale of his reverie. I thought said revelatory moments might have clued in his black ass more in to the diversity of perspective/possibility in the world. For the moment, I've let him off the hook. He's young yet... And wrong yet... Ugh. (There's more here, I know.)

Back to the internet, and how it led me to you to me to you reading these words. Google is a phenomenal tool and googling "African American"+"Lord of the Rings" yields few results but via link after link I located the works of Charles Saunders. Well, what had we here? Devoured entire his webpage and actually reached into the recesses of memory and recalled that I had encountered his recently republished Imaro novel in Barnes & Noble. Cutting to the chase, he is an inspiration and living proof that I have the privilege (should I accept it) to stand on the shoulder of another giant. Mama the other giant.

Through Saunders' webpage, I found THIS Place. With you. Happy Accident? Fate? HTML? I don't care, I do know that I've chanced upon a camaraderie only rarely experienced that speaks the words: "Boy, you fount yo folks!" So yeah, thanks for havin' me! I hope to contribute some as some of you have already contributed to me.

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Comment by GBC on January 18, 2009 at 1:56am
Lisa,

From one thief in the night to another: Steal Away, Steal Away, Steal Away!

I'm so glad I fount some kindred spirits here as well. So much so in fact that I have that Blind Melon video burned into my memory. No need, in this case, for Youtube. Yeah, many thanks to the shepherds who've guided us black sheep to this green pasture. I look forward to your postings and correspondence as well!
Comment by Lisa Bolekaja on January 17, 2009 at 3:01pm
You are comedy! I am going to steal that word "sheerogance!"

I really loved what you had to share. I felt the same way when Milton sent me the link to this place.

I was trying to get onto the black super hero web page that has blacks in comics/graphic novels, and Milton pulled my coat tails. I honestly felt like that old Blind Melon video for the song "No Rain" (I'll wait here while you look it up on You Tube.....okay, you're back!), you roam the world looking for your tribe, and when you find it, it's such a relief. I wish we had this place and the technology back when I was in high school! So thank you Milton for looking out for the lost sheep and gathering us in!

Look forward to reading your posts GBC!
Comment by GBC on January 3, 2009 at 7:36pm
Milton and Charles!

Thanks so much for your welcome! I look forward to sharin'!
Comment by Charles R. Saunders on January 3, 2009 at 3:36pm
I'm glad I was able to bring you here, Bro. And I look forward to seeing your African American Lord of the Rings.
Comment by GBC on January 3, 2009 at 3:31am
Hey Ronald,

I'm glad ot be here! It is a good place, fine and rare! I joined Sword and Soul yesterday. Gotta love a name like that. Thanks for the other sites to see. I'll be checkin' 'em out fo sho!
Comment by Ronald T. Jones on January 3, 2009 at 3:01am
I'm glad you're here! I feel the same way. BSFS is proof positive that black people are consumers of and contributors to science fiction/fantasy. Check out the Sword and Soul group. There are some really cool story threads under Sword and Soul Adventure and Imaro vs Conan. Feel free to add your own imaginative input. Also, check out the "It's War!" discussion I started on the main page. Lot's of futuristic combat action!! Long live science fiction!!

Long live Black Science Fiction Society!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

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