It’s eerily quiet. Not even barking dogs. That may change, of course, but as I type this, in this particular moment, on this first night of curfew (Saturday night in Antigua), it turns out life on pandemic lockdown is…still.
I am reading and writing in and out – my short story collection in progress, the audio book of The Waste Lands from Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, the early pages of the spec fic anthology Take us to a Better Place…
In the intro which previews the stories, its breakdown of the story by Barbados’ Karen Lord is also eerie (I think you’ll see why).
‘A different sort of dystopia, an uncomfortably realistic one, confronts us in Karen Lord’s “The Plague Doctors.” It is only 60 years from now, and the earth is being wracked by a deadly infectious disease, with bodies from the mainland washing up on an island where Dr. Audra Lee is desperate to find an answer in time to save her pox-exposed six year-old niece. It’s the kind of global pandemic that should prompt all hands-on-deck cooperation, but Dr. Lee finds herself working not only against a disease but against a veil of secrecy and selfishness erected by wealthy elites who want to prioritize a cure for themselves. Will she be tempted to cross the line of scientific ethics to relieve her own family’s suffering?’
(I participated in a workshop co-facilitated by Karen Lord, 2nd row, standing, third from left in 2018)
The book, so far, seems to have a couple of climate change and/or humanity annihilating stories (why am I reading this and the dystopic Dark Tower series right now?!), and stories which within that framework delve in to issues of class and ethics. Example, “the lines for vaccines are longest, for example, where the poorest people of color live.” (referencing another of the stories in Take us to a Better Place, The Flotilla at Bird Island by Mike McClelland). More spoilers than I like in the intro but the teasers are certainly peaking my interest.
I found myself listening earlier today to the Barnes and Noble teen/young adult books podcast episode with Cassandra Clare, author of the Shadowhunters series. I actually discovered this series quite recently, via youtube. I haven’t read the books but I have watched the film and the TV series on Netflix and having seen Cassandra I see how the Clarey character is sort of an avatar for the author – both fiery redheads. It’s an interesting series filled with downworlders (vamps and warlocks etc) and people with angel blood protecting the balance and we, oblivious humans, in between. The series has reportedly become quite expansive with other authors even writing in that world – crossovers and alternate storylines and whatnot. Clare’s writing process, as she describes it, seems quite collaborative in any case. Plus she has an assistant – wish I could afford one of those. Anyway, I enjoyed the podcast and since its thing is teen/young adult content, I reached out to see if they’d be interested in an ep on the Caribbean teen/young adult fiction titles that have emerged in to the marketplace thanks to the Burt Award between 2014 and 2020. Fingers crossed but if you want to check out the (Burt Caribbean) titles, see this post on my Wadadli Pen blog.
I also listened to an episode of Origins, the University of Iowa’s International Writing Programme podcast. One of my takeaways from their conversation with Kirmen Uribe from the Basque, “They do this work of intermediation between your work and the publishing houses.” He was, in a conversation on writing in Basque language and translations of his work, talking about the role of the translator. Interesting note, especially since I have been approached about translation but wasn’t sure how to navigate that. Gives me some sense for future reference of how to frame the conversation.
Well, look at that, my third post in as many days. Hm. I’ll link this one up with the book blog meme I link up with the most (you might call it my favourite and not just because its host the Caffeinated Reviewer once did a positive review of my children’s picture book Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure), The Sunday Post.