The Lore of Hegira

“The Lore of Hegira” includes the series of short and serial stories about certain denizens of a ship named Hegira.

Hegira is a behemoth, home to thousands of sapient alien races. The ship of legend, left behind by a nearly extinct race of beings called Starchasers, is a powerhouse barreling across galaxies. Many seek to take control of the leviathan, but to rule this ship, one must control her pilot.

Slumfairy

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Bex Atria is many things. Violent. Human. Mercenary. She is one of two billion sapient beings living aboard Hegira, a wandering world of horror and boundless beauty. Bex has lived in the slums of Hegira all her life. She’s done it all. She’s seen it all. Nothing can surprise her. Sumida is everything Bex isn’t. She is soft-spoken. Inhuman. Sheltered. She’s about to turn Bex’s world upside down.

Starchaser

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Laila sets out across the galaxies alone, in search of the ultimate trump card to help her to wrest control of the leviathan ship, Hegira from those who would seek to steal her ancient birthright. Laila’s pride and passion war with love, fear and her inferiority complex caused by her luminous rival and soul twin, Sumida.

The Advent of Hegira

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Sumida is accompanied by the mercenary, Bex Atria and an alien named Klang. Her survival will depend on three things: dumb luck, Bex’s talent for weaseling out of a sticky situation and Klang’s penchant for secretly murdering anything that threatens the well-being of his beloved Bex.

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The Kugali Podcast

The Kugali Podcast  is an awesome podcast where Ziki, Obito, Demi and Tolu give an African perspective on the world of comics, video games, TV shows, anime and all things geeky.

Some time ago, I was on The Kugali Podcast. In that heavily anime/manga focused episode, we touched on the portrayal of women and black people in anime and manga.

(I sounded like a blathering idiot but these guys are great!)

Check out Kugali Podcast Episode 35: Spoilers!

The Latest Episode

The latest episode of The Kugali Podcast features Regine Sawyer, founder of Lockett Down Productions, her independent media company through which she has published a number of titles such as The Rippers, Eating Vampires and Ice Witch.

Regine is also one of the founders of Women in Comics, an initiative to promote women around the world working in comics particularly independents, they have hundreds of members across five different continents and are growing still.

Listen to The Episode

Read the Show Notes

Popular Spec-Fic Genres I’ll Never Write

Zombies

Zombies freak me out.

They’re icky. They’re gross—bodies rotting and falling to pieces, they probably stink to high heaven and they eat people. They. Eat. People.

They used to be people. Talk about a fate worse than death. When it comes to horrifying truths, Soylent Green’s got nothing on these dudes. And you get to stare that truth in the face. The disgusting, putrefying face.

You can’t ever seem to outrun them. Remember that time when zombies couldn’t run? Now Hollywood has them running, jumping and performing mind-boggling acrobatics to pin down prey.

They swarm cities in hoards and since zombie movies are like train wrecks that I just can’t look away from, I’d like to thank the following movies: Resident Evil, World War Z, Dawn of the Dead, and Shaun of the Dead, among others. Yes, thanks for the nightmares.

You’d think this would be an incentive to write zombie fiction, since phobias feed fiction. But no. Just no.

Anthropomorphism

Not to be confused with animorphism—the ability to transform into animals, anthropomorphism is assigning human characteristics or behavior to deities, objects or animals.

A good example would be Olaf from Frozen.

I don’t hate the sub-genre. It’s been decades since I saw it but I remember liking Watership Down.

Plus, I’m a fan of anime which does feature quite a bit of anthropomorphism. I mean, have you seen Kill a Kill?! It’s ludicrous but I can’t totally hate it. Let’s not even talk about my love of One Piece.

I used to hate writing school essays about “My Life as a Pen” or “My Life as a Dog” etc., which is probably why I still just can’t jive with writing this particular sub-genre.

Religious Speculative Fiction

I’m not religious. I’ve tried being religious. I learned that at my core, I’m just not religious. Knowing that, it would be presumptuous of me to try to write about religion—unless I fictitiously invented one. That, I could do.

Fan Fiction

Can I even call fan fiction of “sub-genre” of fiction? In any case, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with writing fan fiction. I’ve read some damned good ones over the years. You do need to have a certain knack for writing fan fiction though. A knack I do not possess.

How About You?

Do you have any genres/sub-genres that you avoid? Or am I just being too narrow minded?

The Quiet One

I remember sitting on my uncle’s verandah as a kid, watching Star Trek through the living room’s glass paned window. I remember the voice of Captain Jean Luc Picard speaking of exploring strange, new worlds and seeking out new civilizations, of boldly going where no one has gone before.

Hearing those words for the very first time, I was electrified.

I was somewhere between eight and ten years old, that day I first fell truly, madly and deeply in love with sci-fi.

I remember night-time stories of the rolling calf, river mummas and duppies, especially some woman named Shirley’s duppy. I remember the lore and superstition that gave me curious thrills of fear and sent chills running down my spine.

I myself have had a supernatural “encounter” or two of my own.

Like those times I would hear someone call my name when there was no one else there. Like that time I thought I was being chased by a rolling calf.

Hearing and sharing these tales gave rise to my love of horror fiction.

I remember a land of twisted rivers, seething hills, lush valleys and the gloriously salty sea air—the breathtaking island of Jamaica, where I was raised.

I was a lonely child, uncommonly quiet at times. I was treated unkindly because of that silence, accused of being sneaky and devious by the adults around me. The ominous words “silent rivers run deep” were often thrown my way. This used to confuse me because I didn’t think I was being quiet.

After all, it was never quiet inside my head.

I remember reading Ray Bradbury for the very first time. The story was “All Summer in a Day” and I cried because I thought I was very much like Margot, treated like a weirdo and subjected to the casual cruelty of other children.

Years later, when I read “The Foghorn” my breath was taken away. My god, was it really possible to put that into words? That desperate, endless yearning.

It was then that I realized that I’d found in writers like Bradbury, McCaffrey, Asimov and Niven, kindred spirits of some kind.

It was then that I started dreaming of writing a story, a story that had not yet been told. A story that would let some other child realize that there was nothing under the sun or beyond, that couldn’t be put into words.

When I sleep, I dream in sci-fi and horror. I dream of monsters and invading aliens. I dream of chasing and being chased. The flotsam and jetsam of my childhood are always in interwoven within the fabric of my most fantastic nightmares.

In my dreams, I speed along the gnarly roads I once traveled in Jamaica. I smell the cereus that bloomed at night in my uncle’s garden and the cool moss and dark greenery of Fern Gully. I grow drunk on the deep, mysterious scent of the earth and sounds of this one winding river that always follows me in my dreams.

Somewhere along the line, my love of reading, dreaming and writing had collided with my love of science fiction and horror. Now, bits and pieces of my dreams and the vaguely remembered lore from my childhood spill from my fingers onto the page.

In the middle of the night, I wake up from terrible nightmares eagerly reaching for a pen.

My name is Tonya Regina Moore. I am a lonely speculative fiction writer, uncommonly quiet at times. I’ve accepted the fact that I’m sometimes regarded as strange by others. I believe silent rivers do run deep but believe me, there’s nothing quiet about me.

It is never quiet inside my head.

 

— (Article originally guest-posted at SallyEmber.com on 4/08/2015)

Defining Speculative Fiction

When I tell people that I write speculative fiction, one of the first questions that they normally ask is what is speculative fiction?

My stock answer: speculative fiction is an umbrella term for all the subgenres within science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Simple right? Except, it’s not perhaps not quite as simple as that.

The word “speculative” means conjecture about what might happen. Speculative fiction aims to make us contemplate possibilities or rather, the implications of the improbable, I’d like to think.

Several writers have tackled the business of defining speculative fiction. The following are a couple of posts and articles on the subject that I found particularly insightful.

In her very insightful post “What is Speculative Fiction?” Annie Neugebauer describes the oversimplification of speculative fiction as merely fantasy, science fiction, and horror as problematic. She further breaks these genres down into twelve subgenres and explains that while these genres may have speculative elements, not all fantasy, science fiction and horror can be classified as speculative fiction.

In SpecFic 101: What is Speculative Fiction? Shaheen of Speculating on SpecFic credits Robert Heinlein as the father of speculative fiction and highlights several popular SF books that engender the allure of speculative fiction.

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction provides a history of the usage of the term “speculative fiction.” I have included an excerpt below but I suggest reading the original entry for a more comprehensive overview of the history of speculative fiction.”

“The first known use is by the reviewer M F Egan in “Book-Talk” (October 1899 Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine), which describes Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, 2000-1887 (1888) as “speculative fiction”. In the symposium published as Of Other Worlds (coll 1947) edited by Lloyd Arthur Eshbach, Robert A Heinlein proposed the term to describe a subset of SF involving extrapolation from known science and technology “to produce a new situation, a new framework for human action”.” ~ SFE

Of course, a many a great debate has raged over what is considered speculative fiction versus what is not. In a 2010 i09 article, Margaret Atwood and Ursula K. Le Guin debate science fiction vs. “realism” and Margaret Atwood further shares her thoughts on the matter in a 2013 Wired.com article.

She defines speculative fiction thus:

Stories set on Earth and employing elements that already exist in some form, like genetic engineering, as opposed to more wildly hypothetical science fiction ideas like time travel, faster-than-light drives, and transporters.

While we may argue about which specific works may or may not constitute speculative fiction, at the end of the day, there is one big takeaway.

Speculative fiction asks “What if?”

Speculative fiction seeks to inspire flights of fantasy and make us ask all sorts of questions about ourselves, our world, and our universe.

Space Opera Courts the Mainstream

Science fiction author and fan, Bob Tucker, coined the term Space Opera in back in 1941, perhaps as a deprecating term in the spirit of the horse operas and soap operas of the time. Eventually, it became the buzzword for pulp science fiction novels from the 1930’s and 1940’s, and the science fiction movies from the 1950’s.

Today, the term Space Opera brings to mind sweeping, character-driven tales of action and adventure on an epic scale. Originally, these stories were thought to lack much character development but that has changed, I daresay for the better, over the years.

When I mention a certain story set “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away,” a single movie franchise will inevitably come to mind. Originally the brain child of one Simon Oliver, Star Wars was reworked and made into an epic hit by George Lucas and snowballed into an overnight phenomenon following its debut in 1977. The original trilogy, released between 1977 and 1983, garnered a cult following.

Though I’m not much of a fan of the prequels, I suppose the same could be said of the prequel trilogy released between 1999 and 2005. George Lucas sold the Star Wars franchise to Disney back in 2012. Since then, the epic series has been injected with a new burst of life. Star Wars: The Force Awakens, released in December of 2015, has been a box office record smashing, global hit.

The other day, my landlord and I were talking about Star Trek and he mentioned Space Seed. This episode of Star Trek first aired in 1967. In the Space Seed episode, Captain James T. Kirk and crew encounter a sleeper ship full of enhanced humans who proceed to attempt to take over the Enterprise. The sequel to this episode came fifteen years later in the form of 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, with amazingly enough, the same cast of actors playing aged versions of the characters from Space Seed.

Like Star Wars, the Star Trek television series and movies have spawned a phenomenal cult following. With the advent of the reboot movie series, Star Trek’s popularity has exploded, capturing the hearts of the mainstream and hardcore fans alike.

Some while ago, in “The Leviathans that Inspired Slumfairy”, I mentioned a television series called Farscape. I remember, late one night, coming across the awesome story of John Crichton, an astronaut who has somehow tumbled down the proverbial rabbit hole and winds up on the other side of a wormhole aboard a sapient, biomechanical ship named Moya, who is occupied by a bunch of escaped alien prisoners.

I was immediately hooked. Though it only lasted four seasons and perhaps didn’t quite achieve the cult following it deserved, Farscape earned three Saturn Awards for Best Syndicated/Cable TV Series between 2000 and 2002. Plus, Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars received an Emmy Nomination for “Outstanding Special Visual Effects for A Miniseries, Movie or a Special.” in 2005.

Come 2016, we have a new space opera series that promises to break out into the mainstream. The Expanse is a space opera television series on Syfy, based on the series of novels by James S. A. Corey. Set in a future where humanity has colonized the solar system, The Expanse follows several characters as they become entangled in a conspiracy that threatens to upset the tenuous balance of power that keeps Mars, Earth and the Belt from going to war.

Only seven episodes in, The Expanse has all of the makings of a cult hit. Personally, I’m all agog over this series. The science is solid. The special effects are amazing. The drama is real. Nothing is one hundred percent predictable. For one thing, you never quite know who is going to die next. No one is safe. I love that.

Of course, Star Wars, Star Trek, Farscape, and The Expanse are just a few of the amazing space opera series that have and captured the imaginations of casual genre fans to hardcore SF devotees alike. I haven’t even mentioned Battlestar Galactica or Lexx, plus I’m sure there are a ton more I’m forgetting.

More and more of the writers I hear about or talk to are experimenting with space opera. I just recently added Jacqueline Koyanagi’s “Ascension” and Nnedi Okorafor’s “Binti” to my reading list. My Hegira series of short stories is also space opera. You can read these stories in The Lore of Hegira.