I’ll be appearing on a few panels, conducting an interview, and helping to host a meet-and-greet for the writers support group, Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction at Balticon 53. Here’s my schedule:
Black Femininity in Afrofuturism: Saturday, May 25, 11:00 a.m.
African American women have been early adopters of national and international initiatives, such as abolitionism, civil rights, women’s rights, space travel, and hip hop—from Maria W. Stewart’s anti-slavery and women’s rights speeches in the 1830s, to Tarana Burke’s #MeToo movement in the 2000s. This panel will discuss the contributions of Black women to the progression of the underpinnings of Afrofuturism.
Representation vs. Tokenism: Saturday, May 25, Noon
There is a long tradition of including diversity for diversity’s sake without making it part of the story. What is the difference between shallow and real inclusion? Does it have to be integral to feel like it’s not tokenism? How does this play out in the far future, in the past, or in original worlds?
Cyberpunk Remastered: Saturday, May 25, 2:00 p.m.
With Netflix’s adaptation of Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon and Pat Cadigan’s adaptation of the manga-turned-Hollywood-movie Alita: Battle Angel, cyberpunk is alive and well after having first been declared dead in the 90s. Elements of cyberpunk have been subsumed into pop culture and can be found everywhere now—movies, music videos, video games, and more. How have the older tropes evolved in the last few years and how do we expect to see them incorporated in future works?
Muse on This Podcast with Sue Baiman: Saturday, May 25, 4:00 p.m.
Muse On This is a podcast focusing on interviews with creative people, and their inspirations and thought processes. Sue Baiman asks the questions to find out what makes the creativity flow. Featuring author K. Ceres Wright.
Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction Meet-and-Greet, Saturday, May 25, 5:00 p.m.
Come out and meet the members of Diverse Writers And Artists of Speculative Fiction (DWASF). Food, fun, and giveaways! There will also be a free screening of the award-winning short film, Rumination. The writer/director will be on hand to answer questions.
I’ve been a fan of cyberpunk since I first discovered it in 2003. Yeah, I was 20 years behind the times, but I didn’t care. I felt a new generation needed to know all about it, so I wrote a cyberpunk book, Cog. But I prefer the short story medium, and searched for a place that would welcome a cyberpunk story with Black characters.
Over the course of several years on Facebook, I’ve gathered 1,000+ friends, one of whom was Milton Davis. From the ATL. He was self-publishing African-themed books and anthologies on sword and soul and steampunk. Then one day, an idea came to him about a city where no one could leave. He posted his idea on Facebook in the State of Black Science Fiction, and a bunch of writers ran with it, posting snippets of stories in the thread, and linking characters, generating ideas. Then someone said we needed to publish an anthology of all the stories. Balogun Ojetade wrote the manifesto. An artist came along by the name of Natiq Jalil, and said he would illustrate it. A music aficionado named Otis Galloway volunteered to write sound tracks. And a multimedia, multisensory book of stories was born. The City. Cyberfunk.
What is The City?
The City began as a sentient organism living inside a large asteroid. For thousands of years, the organism used the asteroid’s gravity to intercept ships from various planets and galaxies, assimilating the crew and wiping their memories, and giving them new jobs, families, and experiences. No one knows why. It just does. The organism used the assimilated information to build The City and its environment. The first beings to be captured were crew on a Nigerian space vessel. Nigeria was the first to achieve intergalactic travel during the Great Race by the major countries of the planet Earth to be the first to venture outside of the Milky Way.
And if you want to know more about Knowledge Lateef, Street Preacher; the Ooze; and the Tell, you’re going to have to read the book. It’s available on Amazon: http://ow.ly/SDUXc
We are the writers, and we call ourselves the Cityzens:
B. Sharise Moore
And Yours Truly, K. Ceres Wright
Link to interview:
Michael Mehalek of Writing is Tricky tagged me in a ten-question blog hop called the Liebster award. So here goes…
1. Where did the idea for your current Work-in-Progress (WIP) come from?
I had seen several news stories about China investing in Africa and did some further research. I discovered that the Guangzhou area of China was known as Chocolate City because of all the African businessmen that had come there for import/export opportunities. Many had married Chinese women to help them in their business, and I wondered what China would be like when these couples’ children grew up.
2. Quote a favorite line from one of your favorite books.
“Really bad media can exorcise your semiotic ghosts. If it keeps the saucer people off my back, it can keep these Art Deco futuroids off yours.” ~ William Gibson, The Gernsback Continuum (short story)
3. Now quote your favorite lines from your current WIP
The scent of stale Tsingtao and rancid urine forced Bo to crank open an eye in half-hearted reconnaissance. Iron-framed lanterns hanging overhead told him he had fallen asleep on the living room couch, confirmed by the twinge in his back caused by the second-hand temperfoam. Memories flitted across his mental landscape—a big project with a big percentage, hence the big party. Data display in his periphery blinked a 63.5 percent chance of getting back together with Mei, based upon last night’s conversations and pheromone output. A higher than usual chance, he thought. He winked off the display, anything beyond offstream proving to be information overload.
A hangover nagged at the edge of his consciousness, a feeling quite familiar. He rolled off the couch and onto his knees, letting the vague pain take center stage before clawing his way to vertical.
4. What unique challenges has your current WIP had that your previous ones did not?
Since the story takes place in China, I have to do a lot of research on the country. My last book took place in the Washington, D.C., area, where I’ve lived for the past 30 years. I’m also using more themes, which I have to try to figure out how to tie together.
5. If you saw your main character at a party, how would you react?
I would sit quietly in a corner and observe him, and see what I got right and what I got wrong.
6. Who would play your main protagonist/antagonist if your current WIP were made into a movie?
Bo would be played by Will Demps
Hao would be played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
Mei would be played by Amandla Stenberg (in a few years)
7. What are your biggest inspirations for writing?
To inspire Black filmmakers to create visual media to reflect the diversity we see in the world today, which, in turn, will inspire the children of today to bring about a better tomorrow
8. Summarize your WIP as a haiku.
Guangzhou future days
Taiwan nuclear danger
Programmers save world
9. What role does music play in your writing?
Not that much. I can only listen to classical music when I’m writing, which doesn’t exactly evoke visions of the future, and I’m not good at predicting music trends, so I don’t know what popular music will sound like 65 years from now.
10. What’s one thing you’ve learned about the craft that you wish you had learned earlier?
I need deadlines to help me write, to give me a sense of urgency. Oh, and don’t use filtering. Here’s a great article on it: http://www.scribophile.com/academy/an-introduction-to-filtering
1. Tell us about your work in progress (WIP)
2. How is your WIP different from your prior work?
3. How has writing changed your life?
4. What inspired you to start writing?
5. Who is your favorite character from all your works?
6. Do you like to write villains?
7. What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve learned?
8. How have you grown as a writer?
9. What’s your favorite line from your WIP?
10. Do you like dragons?
I was interviewed by Matthew Dowling at Seton Hill University’s In Your Write Mind workshop:
“The People’s Liberation Army?”
“That’s the client. Take it or leave it, as you Americans say, although I doubt you’ll find anyone else willing to accede to your terms,” Wu said.
The ‘garden’ was an underground conference room in a hotel owned by Wu’s brother. Flowered wallpaper decorated the walls, hence the term. She faced Wu from across a small table, outfitted with a holo-emitter that played Brahms in the background.
He was right. No other client would have 25 million at its disposal in so short a timeframe. She was lucky to get this opportunity.
“All right,” she said. There would be no papers to sign, just an understanding that she would be hunted down and shot if she reneged.
Wu tapped the table twice with his middle finger. “I just sent you contact instructions for your liaison. Your first meeting is tonight at 8 o’clock. Don’t be late.”
“I won’t. Thank you, Wu.”
“I have touted your skills as being of the highest caliber. My reputation is on the line. Don’t disappoint me,” he warned.
The abandoned warehouse reeked of days-old fish and seawater, just as she expected. She thought skulking around in dark buildings close to the harbor was just for bad noir, but her client seemingly disagreed. Thia wore a levitan shield, designed to repel lason blasts, since she was walking into an unknown situation. She had learned her lesson after getting killed by Nicholle Ryder and being uploaded to a new body. It was not an experience she wanted to repeat. She checked the time in her periphery: seven-thirty. She wanted to get to the place early, to size up the client.
“Hello, Ms. Wayan.”
Apparently the client thought the same thing. Her night vision dialed up, she turned to face a man wearing a black leather jacket and black pants. He reached into his jacket pocket and she palmed her lason, unsure of his intent. His hand came away holding a pack of cigarettes.
Chimes sounded in Thia’s head while purple blinked in her periphery. A cog from Dran. At 4:30 in the morning? She winked, answering the cog.
“I’ve got your damned analysis,” he said.
Even through her grogginess, Thia grinned. “Pay back for my disrespect. All right, Dran. Send it on.”
Dran made an exaggerated show of tapping his finger on his desk. Thia opened the file and waded as best she could through the technospeak. As far as she could gather, the object induced increased theta waves in the brain, which were “associated with relaxation, meditative states and reduced anxiety. Including (if to be believed,) Extrasensory Perception. The amount of cosmic radiation is not harmful for short (<24 hours) periods of exposure at distances greater than 1 foot.” She sighed in relief. If all it did was induce a meditative state, she should be fine. As if on cue, she yawned and noted the time in her periphery. Turned over and went back to sleep. ******************************** Thia sat at breakfast at the dining table in her suite, reading the news. Gubernatorial elections for Guangdong were underway, with five candidates running for the office. She noted that two of the candidates were Triad members, and either would most likely win, having greased the palms of the right political figures. Same old politics. The time, 9:00 a.m., blinked in her periphery, just as the outer edges of her vision staccatoed orange, signaling an incoming cog. Her avatar answered, an image of herself in a black pant suit sporting a bob and dark shades. Jing’s face appeared in her display, grinning. Read more…
The banquet hall was festooned with colorful paper lanterns and fairy lights. The color red predominated the room, supported by yellows and greens. The head table sat on a dais at the back of the room, fronting a large picture window. Smaller round tables dotted the floor. Thia nodded in approval to the catering manager, who smiled in return.
She called up the time in her display. Guests in China arrived promptly, never fashionably late, and usually in groups. Since she had only invited one group, she expected them to come en masse. She was not disappointed.
Big Brother Jing Wang approached, followed by Little Brother Hsu and forty other gang members, all dressed in suits. Thia bowed slightly, then extended her hand in greeting, as presenting a business card would be a moot point.