Well, Kavi woke me at…

Well, Kavi woke me at 1:30, wanting her binky, and now she's sound asleep again and I'm wide awake. Sigh. I guess I'll try to get some work done, do a few more website revisions. Plan -- get rid of the background texture at left; I've tried, and I just can't make text acceptably readable on it. Abandon the graphic border; it's just not that exciting a design element, and it's going to be a big pain to make it visible across platforms. At that point, the main design will be reasonably close to set, and it'll just be a matter of converting old pages to the new format. I'm a bit groggy, but at least I have leftover curry, hot tea, and a toasty fire.

I did wake up to some nice news -- the Carl Brandon Society voted on books to recommend for API Heritage Month, and The Poet's Journey made the list. Yay! So far, people who've read it seem to like it; Nilofer said it was 'really lovely', and my dad said it was 'different.' Okay, I'm not sure that last was actually meant to be a compliment. But still. And everyone's raved about Kat's illustrations! Her style is so well suited to children's books; I hope this is just the first of many for her.

One of the things I hope to do today or tomorrow is talk to the Amazon representative from their POD printer, BookSurge; if things work out, we may be able to offer a notably less expensive version of the book soon. Fingers crossed.

Of the below, I can personally recommend the Chiang, Lai, Ishiguro and Murakami -- they're all wonderful books. And while I haven't read the Goto or Singh, I've read and very much enjoyed other work of theirs. Great company to be in!

The CARL BRANDON SOCIETY recommends the following speculative fiction books for Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month:

  • Ted Chiang STORIES OF YOUR LIFE AND OTHERS: A collection of stories from one of American speculative fiction's most precise and beautiful writers.
  • Sesshu Foster ATOMIK AZTEX: An Aztec prince or a Los Angeles meatpacker? The protagonist travels back and forth between two alternative realities, never sure which is real.
  • Hiromi Goto HOPEFUL MONSTERS: Wonderful stories by the author of The Kappa Child.
  • Kazuo Ishiguro NEVER LET ME GO: In a dystopian England, three children discover that they are clones produced to provide organs to the sick.
  • Larissa Lai SALT FISH GIRL: Science fiction set in a dystopian near future in which corporate enclaves house lucky employees, leaving most of humanity to deal with increasingly strange ecological developments.
  • Amirthi Mohanraj (illustrated by Kat Beyer) THE POET'S JOURNEY: A young poet sets out into the wide world on a journey to find poetry; with the help of a few magical creatures, she finds more than she ever expected.
  • Haruki Murakami HARDBOILED WONDERLAND AND THE END OF THE WORLD: Mad experiments with the unleashed potential of the dreaming brain.
  • Vandana Singh OF LOVE AND OTHER MONSTERS: The main character wakes up from a fire and doesn't know who he is, but can sense and manipulate the minds of others. He is not alone in this ability. Singh takes us on a metamind ride.
  • Shaun Tan THE ARRIVAL: A wordless graphic novel about immigration and displacement.
  • Bryan Thao Worra ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE EYE: Speculative poems that take us from the secret wars of the CIA in Laos to the secret edges of the human soul and the universe.

2 thoughts on “Well, Kavi woke me at…”

  1. MA,

    I’m wondering (and i hope this doesn’t sound undermining) about why certain works such as yours or Ishiguro’s are on this list.

    The Ishiguro, for instance, is not “Asian and Pacific Islander” in theme/technique at all and goes against the grain of Ishiguro’s self-identification as a British author. It seems a bit fascist to type an author as “ethnic” solely by virtue of his name, no?

    I am unfamiliar with the Carl Brandon Society; perhaps you are aware if the reasoning behind this list is more sophisticated than i’ve assumed?

  2. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    The CBS supports minority authors in speculative fiction. There are very very few of us. So mostly, I think they can’t afford to be picky. They’re not an academic organization; mostly genre writers and readers. For the list, they asked their membership for all the nominations they could think of of sf/f works by API authors (regardless of ethnic content). And then they voted on which ones they liked best.

    I think mine is actually pretty appropriate — API author, minority protagonist, dragons and unicorns and talking trees and ravens, island setting. Ishiguro may identify primarily as a British author (does he?) but he certainly does sometimes address API themes, as in An Artist of the Floating World.

    Not that I think they were looking at that — an API author could write entirely about white (or black) characters and still make the list and be celebrated during API Heritage month, I think. These ethnicity-based groupings in the U.S. in my experience generally don’t look at the content of the work at all, and are based solely on racial/ethnic lineage. And no, they pretty much don’t care whether the author chooses to identify with that culture or not. There’s a whole interesting conversation to have about why that is, but it’s pretty well established that it’s how ethnic identity politics currently play out here. Isn’t that true in the U.K. too?

    At least it’s freeing in terms of authors getting to write about whatever topic they want, without giving up their ethnic street cred. 🙂

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