Tausi sat listening to her aunts, who crowded in a circle at the far end of the room. Their dresses were a kaleidoscope of greens, reds, blues, and yellows, each worked with repeating patterns that shifted with the eye. Huddled like that they seemed to her one polychromatic beast with seven heads and fourteen limbs. None of them made an effort to whisper as they planned her life.
In This Issue: Dec. 2016 (Issue 60) – People of Colo(u)r Destroy Fantasy! Special Issue
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.
I wanted to start with the idea of the origin story. Every writer has one, and it’s always interesting to hear how writers of color navigated the choppy waters of reading fantasy early on and then deciding to write it. I remember searching for myself, in that languageless sort of way we do when we’re young and don’t know the larger meaning of our search.
Sunrise glinted bloody on giant tumbles of statue; it edged the palace beyond with blood. A limestone arm, severed elbow to thumb, came almost up to Alexandros’ waist. Fingers thick as logs lay scattered behind it. Sunrise glimmered in the statue’s blank, rain-filled eyes, and trickled down the pitted stone cheek. So too would Dareios of Persia have fallen, had the coward not fled.
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 […]
I didn’t grow up dreaming in color. I dreamed in white. Not my literal dreams, the thoughts that flickered within my mind’s eye while I dozed. In those dreams I was a frizzy-haired black girl with unkempt hair and an overbite, same as I was in my daily life. Those nightly dreams were cast in […]
Outside, the quarantine train was unblemished white. Where its tracks skirted populated regions, barbed wire and warning signs—DANGER! ¡PELIGRO! INFECTIOUS MATERIALS! ¡SUSTANCIAS INFECCIOSAS!—discouraged trespassers from marking the cars with spray paint. The interior was another story. In her cabin, a narrow sleeper with four beds (one for Screaming Moraine, one for Fiddler Kristi, one for Drummer Tulli, and one for their carry-on luggage, several densely packed grocery bags, and an electric violin), Tulli found graffiti scrawled near her upper bunk.
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 […]
Creation myths are the stuff of old, intuitive science. They are the stories that attempt to explain the source of the universe and the very beginnings of life. Creation myths are not synonymous with folktales, animal stories, or playful allegories that instill morals and values. They are, ultimately, our embellished truths—complete with fucking gods, incest, […]