On the book blog: An interview with Kaaron Warren

Head over and check out this interview with Kaaron Warren over at the book blog.

Walking the Tree is a much different novel from Slights. I really liked this difference and I loved the world of the Tree as well as your beautifully drawn characters. Would you like to share a bit about the inspiration for the world of the Tree?

The original idea came from a number of different sources. Most directly, I was watching a documentary about ancient objects and was struck with the thought that these things sit there, well beyond human understanding, interpretation and memory. That they exist long after their original meaning is lost. In the end, there is a disconnect between the object and its origin.

Go to the book blog to read more.


The book blog has been fallow for quite sometime. First we had Typhoon Haiyan and then we had a family emergency and then my sister told me the spotty internet has sort of drained her of any energy to really come and keep at it.

I thought about it for a while and considered whether I had the energy to do reviews as well as interviews. The beauty of my sister and I doing the blog was that she could bring in her perspective as a reader who reads anything and I could do the interviews (which I’ve always enjoyed doing).

I do want to continue doing the book blog and I have some interviews on stock with writers whose work I’ve enjoyed and so I think I’ll just go ahead and post those interviews and maybe write my own thoughts–not proper reviews then…but just my thoughts and impressions of the work.

In the coming weeks, I’m going to publish interviews from Kaaron Warren, Wesley Chu, Vandana Singh and Anil Menon, and from Karin Tidbeck. My schedule may be erratic, but it’s something we started for fun and because we love books.

Talking about good things

2014 is turning out to be quite a busy period. Aside from familial things (including my eldest son breaking his leg and needing lots of support), I’ve been busily working on the En novel. Sometimes, I look at this work and worry about it being too different. When those moments arise, I remember Audre Lorde talking about the work being greater than the fear and I push on and persevere. This is a story I must write and so I’ll write it to the best of my abilities.

Via my good friend, Aliette de Bodard, I found out about this lovely review of “Of Alternate Adventures and Memory”. I’m quite blown away to have my story mentioned alongside Sofia Samatar’s “Selkie Stories are for Losers”. I loved Sofia’s story, so it’s an honor to be mentioned in the same breath as her. Thank you, Ana Grilo.

I want to keep on writing stories that will move readers. Stories that will make readers think and look differently at the world around them. Stories that will challenge readers to step outside the box and move beyond their comfort zones. I also want to continue to encourage other writers to keep on being courageous. No one else can tell your stories the way you do.

I won’t be at many conventions this year, but I’ve been invited and agreed to be one of the guests at Fantasticon 2014. My thanks to Jesper Rugard for inviting me and to Trish Sullivan who kindly put my name forward. I’ve heard that it’s a great con and I’m looking forward to meeting new people and making new friends. 

While I was offline, the second part of A Poetics of Struggle was published on Strange Horizons. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s here. There’s still a lot more to say about struggle and the field of sf, but I’ll leave it there for the moment as the next column will be about something completely different.

For today’s final bit of news, the ToC for Steampunk World edited by Sarah Hans has been announced. I think Sarah Hans has done a wonderful job of putting together an anthology which is true to the word “World”. I look forward to reading the stories and hope that readers enjoy reading them too.

lives of alternates

It seems like a long time ago that I wrote the hay(na)ku verse that led to the birth of Alternate Girl and Alternate Girl’s Expatriate Life. Of Alternate Adventures and Memory is a story set in the same universe as Alternate Girl’s Expatriate Life and it’s been published at Clarkesworld Magazine. Clarkesworld Magazine is one of the best publications in the SFF field today. It’s one of those publications that’s kept me hopeful and trusting about the future of science fiction and I’m honored to be in this issue.

The December issue includes stories by E. Lily Yu, Benjanun Sriduangkaew, James Patrick Kelly and my Clarion West instructor, John Kessel. Do go and check it out when you have time.

Offered with Thanks


By Rochita Loenen-Ruiz

After the storm, there is only silence.

It makes sense, Celia thinks. Here, within the confines of her home, it is always silent.

Her heels make a dull clicking sound on the linoleum floor as she walks from the living room to the kitchen.  All morning, she has been watching footage, her ears bombarded by the sound of high wind and rain and the unbelievable image that is her country under siege.


She looks out at clear blue skies. It is quiet outdoors. All her neighbours have gone off to work. Her children are at school. All is quiet in her head.


“How terrible,” the woman standing next to her at the school plain says. “And do you know anything yet about your family?”

Celia doesn’t know what to say.

In her head, the family home is an invulnerable place. That old house with its foundation of stone, was it still standing?

She offers a tentative smile.

“I haven’t spoken to anyone yet,” she says. “But I’m sure they’re fine.”

That home is beside the sea, she thinks. When her grandmother was newly married, there was a tsunami. They survived by tying themselves to the stone posts of the house. Afterwards, the villagers discovered porcelain jars beneath the house. Some of them were from the Ming Dynasty—that was what her grandmother said.

“We managed to get some for ourselves,” Grandmother said. “Like that one. You see that one, Celia? Do you see that jar with the blue dragons?”

Celia remembers the dragons and the wonder of that jar which was taller than her seven year old self.  Will that jar still be there? Will it still be standing in that hallway?

The woman moves away and another takes her place.

On usual days the women hardly ever take notice of her. They stand around in a cluster and talk to each other. They laugh and speak in what Celia calls their secret code. Somehow, they know about each others’ mishaps—dental appointments, divorces, funerals. They exchange information on mundane things, like who is going to whose birthday and what they plan to eat for dinner.

Celia has tried, but she’s never managed to break that code. She still hasn’t deciphered the secret of the magic circle that is them.

Now, they move in degrees towards her, their eyes inquiring.

Celia is relieved when the bell rings and the children emerge from their classes.

She smiles at the woman who offers her a glance that is probably meant to convey sympathy.


“Mama,” her youngest son says. “At school they said that all of Philippines has been destroyed. Did it go boom?”

“It was a storm,” Celia says. “And not all of it is destroyed, just parts of it.”

“And Lolo and Lola?” her son asks.

“They’re fine,” Celia says. “We’ll hear from them any day now.”

“I’m afraid,” her son says. “Ï’m afraid of the blood.”

“When we go home, the blood won’t be there anymore,” Celia says.

She gazes out at this view of neatly ordered houses. In her mind’s eye, she sees bodies on a distant shore—a landscape shattered by the hand of nature.

The future seems bleak. There is still no word and she is losing hope.


Grandmother putters through the debris of Celia’s efforts at housecleaning.

“Well,” she says. “Well, it can’t be helped. Who would have known that the cupboard would topple over?”

She makes a clicking sound.

“There’s broken glass too. Oh well. . . “

“Lola,” Celia says.

“Don’t move,” Grandmother says. “Stay where you are. There’s glass everywhere.”

“I’m sorry,” Celia says.

“Ah child,” Grandmother says. “it’s an old thing. And it’s not like it was an antique. Uncle Berto will make a new one. This time, he’ll make it from narra wood.”


“Ma,” finally they have a connection. “Are you all right?”

“We’re fine,” her mother says. “Your father’s off again. He just came back, but he’s off again. I think he forgets that he’s already old. But there are so many wounded and there aren’t enough doctors. It can’t be helped.”

“And the house?” Celia asks.

“Your Lola is fine,” her mother says. “Shaken, but fine. Your uncle found her. We were also worried for a while. Celia, don’t cry. It’s fine. We’re all fine. But so many died. So many. . .”

Inside her head, the silence breaks.

She can hear the wind. She can see the trees. Winter rain washes across the glass pane of her window.

“I’ll do what I can,” she says. “I will also do what I can.”


A.N. A lot has happened since my last post. Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines. Many Filipinos lost homes and loved ones. Because of the extent of the devastation, it took a week for aid to arrive in affected areas. The world’s response to the fate of Filipinos is overwhelming. This small offering is a thank you for the continued support and for the overwhelming response to the plea for help from the Philippines. Please continue to keep us in mind as we work to rebuild what can be rebuilt.

Afrofuturism and Beyond

Posting about two events related to each other.

On Saturday, November 2, Radio Redmond will be holding an Afrofuturist Event during the Amsterdam Museumnacht at FOAM Fotografiemuseum. I’m pretty excited about my story being included on programme for this event. I want to express my thanks to the Radio Redmond crew and in particular to Hodan Warsame and Chandra Frank who made time for me (never mind that the storm got in the way of that plan, but just the making time is a huge thing).

On November 9 (also a Saturday), I’ll be in Amsterdam again. This time at the American Book Center’s Treehouse for a book presentation of Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond. Our editor/publisher Bill Campbell will be there as well as ToC-mate Tade Thompson. Hodan Warsame will be moderating the q & a, and there will be books available.

Thanks go out to the American Book Center staff, in particular to Tiemen Zwaan. If you’re in Amsterdam, do drop by the book presentation. :-)

I’ve been reminded that I still have a slew of things to finish before heading out to WFC, among them sending emails and checking in. I’m looking forward to this con. Here’s to meeting up with old friends and making new ones.