From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

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Author Spotlights

Author Spotlight: Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

Storytelling is a practice in my culture that is always a conversation between different generations and different beings—it is a conversation that takes place across time and space. I wanted to reflect that very organically in this piece.

Author Spotlights

Author Spotlight: Darcie Little Badger

From the title onward, this is a story built in stark, vivid color. The white train, the black feathers, the red western sky. How important was the visual landscape of “Black, Their Regalia” to the inception of your story? “Black, Their Regalia” was inspired by the colors in my home. One morning, I opened my […]

Author Spotlights

Author Spotlight: Shweta Narayan

What was the inspiration for this story? Wow, that’s kinda complicated, and I’m reconstructing from six years later, but here’s my memory of what happened: My good friend Michael Ellsworth is a historical linguist and an Ancient Greece nerd, and he had been telling me awesome things about both. One day he sent me a […]

Author Spotlights

Author Spotlight: P. Djèlí Clark

When it comes to worldbuilding, especially in fantasy, it’s those little elements that add texture to the setting: the clothing, the food, the architecture, the color and scents. The world of the Ten Chiefdoms has diverse inspirations: from Central Africa to the Caribbean. So you see bits of history, music, folklore, politics, and even dialect, of these vast regions interwoven throughout.

Author Spotlights

Author Spotlight: Shweta Narayan

Retellings appeal to me for the same reason multi-threaded stories appeal; I don’t know what it’s like to have only one perspective on anything. I have lived between cultures all my life, and I’m not entirely part of any one. I’m always super-aware of which part of my world is accessible to the people I’m with; even my accent shifts, mid-sentence, depending on who I’m addressing.

Author Spotlights

Author Spotlight: Kai Ashante Wilson

I had a sudden fierce urge to write some tie-in fiction—for Star Wars, or a Bioware video game, something like that. But since I’m just about the last the author likely to be chosen/approached for such a project, I quickly realized I’d have to make up my own media property if it were to happen at all: thus, the video game Kaiju maximus®. It nearly broke my mind—in a fun way!—trying to tell a straight-ahead genre story as tie-fiction for a media property that doesn’t exist.

Author Spotlights

Author Spotlight: Catherynne M. Valente

The image I was always building to, from the moment I started thinking about the story, was the two young women kissing under the manchineel tree in the rain and remaining unharmed, the steam rising from their skin. Manchineels are real trees, and you really can be poisoned and even killed by standing under them while it rains through the toxic leaves. I discovered it while researching poisons for the story, and from then on it became the heart of it, that everything else circled around.

Author Spotlights

Author Spotlight: Austin Bunn

This is a perfect example of the dividends of just simply sitting in a chair, showing up every morning to write, and discovering something. I had absolutely no idea where this story was going. I sent that longboat over the edge not knowing, then it seemed my fingers described an old woman appearing, drawn back by cordage into our world. Where the heck did that come from? Once the metaphysicals began to reveal themselves to me—that longing was itself the rope out of the afterlife—I just followed the thread.

Author Spotlights

Author Spotlight: Nalo Hopkinson

Bluebeard gives his wife an egg, and when she enters the forbidden room, she drops the egg in horror and gets blood on it. The bloodstain won’t come out, and that’s how Bluebeard knows she’s been in the room. So right away, the folktale has associations with menstruation and a loss of both innocence and reproductive possibility.

Author Spotlights

Author Spotlight: T. Kingfisher

Many fairy tales have their own sort of logic and don’t hold up very well to scrutiny, but Cinderella’s particularly bad in that regard—can you imagine what that slipper would be like after it had made the rounds of the kingdom?