Half-Resurrection Blues: A Masculinity that Isn’t Afraid to be Raw

Urban fantasy is a genre I feel should probably dominate more of my reading list than it actually does.   Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel will forever hold special places in my heart.   So when I hear of The Dresden Files, I always find myself intrigued, but it like so many other urban fantasy books don’t get me to take the leap into actually reading them.  If I had to be honest, the space strikes me as something exclusively white with white authors dabbling in the cultures and aesthetics of POC but never really bringing us to the table.   Even with my loves of Buffy and Angel, I think that critique applies.  Often in these stories, you can count on one hand over the course of seasons/books the number of POC that are given major roles.  It’s irksome and I’ve never really been able to move past it.

Shadowshaper was actually my first Daniel Jose Older book, so with that one under my belt I felt pretty damn confident going into Half-Resurrection Blues that a good story would be delivered.   Older embraces cultural uniqueness with a natural cadence that I think fails many other writers and for my money, that’s because they’re not really willing to accept the uniqueness.  Sure, they want you to think this “random brown god from a mythology I looked up on Wikipedia” is unique, but they don’t have the wherewithal to actually learn the intricacies and nuances. Older breathes these nuances and intricacies through the lenses of both race and gender in Half-Resurrection Blues.

Look at Older’s handling of masculinity within Half-Resurrection Blues.  The main character, Carlos Delacruz (sidenote:  ummm can someone slide the cover model my number?  Because….damn!!) is vulnerable in so many ways.   Physically he’s wounded and has to make use of a cane, a happy departure from your Greek god specimen heroes of UF.  Mentally, he’s having to deal with the fact that he doesn’t know anything about his life before his half-death.  Emotionally, he finds himself falling in love and what more vulnerable state is there than that?  Carlos isn’t some beefed up Chosen One figure and I couldn’t be more thankful for it.   His normality (outside of his model status fineness which I ain’t going to complain about) is refreshing in a way I didn’t know I needed.

Now in typical hyper masculine fashion, you would think that Carlos would be having all the ladies swoon at his mere presence and all the guys wanting to dap him up right?  Let’s all have a long, slow clap for that not happening here.   There are plenty of characters in this story at various points who let Carlos know he ain’t shit and they’re not pressed by him.  And this is ultimately where some of that intersectonality comes in.  Certain POC cultures don’t mind ribbing you out of love.  Someone isn’t really your friend if they’re not giving you a hard time and Carlos falls square into that. A male hero that not everyone is falling over?  Tell me more.

One of the most provocative pieces of Carlos’ portrayed masculinity for me was his sexual vulnerability.  There was a part of the book where after having spent a night of genuine connection with his love interest, Carlos went home and masturbated.  I remember reading that and being sort of shook out of the story.  Not in a jarring way, but in a “oh man this is it” kind of moment.   I already knew that Older was a different kind of author, but that particular detail just solidified the notion even more.   I cannot think of any other SFF book in recent memory that has male masturbation as something completely natural, worthwhile and nothing to make all that big a deal about.   In our wider culture, the act is often met with immature humor, deflection and degradation.  So to see it slid into the narrative without so much as a peep really impressed me.

So let’s talk about that love interest.  Carlos doesn’t win her over in Shakespearean fashion.  He actually has to get to know her instead of popping out his pecs.  He has to make her laugh and show her that he’s worth her time.  Basically, he has to earn her.   What a notion right?  That a guy actually has to really prove himself worthy of a woman?

It shouldn’t have been so breathtaking.  It should have been expected, but this is the work folks like Older are out there trying to make happen.  He challenges these notions of masculine supremacy with Carlos and has given me something to look forward to in the world of Urban Fantasy.

Advertisements

African Monsters Review Part 3

Here is the end of our look at AFRICAN MONSTERS.  In short, this anthology is just such a powerful representation of what you can do with a mindful, purposeful approach to diversity and trying to make sure everyone’s story is put out there.  The last batch of stories continues in the vein of using horror as the vehicle to make wider statements about societal ills.

“Bush Baby” by Chikodili Emelumadu provided some powerful, haunting images.  It struck me as a story of the unfortunate truth that family can sometimes pull you into their bad decisions like gravity.  The main character had done everything right and didn’t really deserve to have to confront what she did.  But the indisputable bond between siblings drove her to it and I like how there isn’t really an end to the confrontation.  It was a lesson in some things having to simply be endured and not necessarily coming to a neat ending.

“After the Rain” by Joe Vaz is one of those stories that really worked the horror angle.  It taught me a bit about South Africa and some of its politics along the way, but I have to say I felt the creeping horror the entire time.  Vaz knew what to focus on to build the horror (the baying, the carcasses, the darkness) and each of those elements carried out the story to its proper crescendo.  The ending brought all the simmering politics of the story to a head.  It was a well-constructed story that hit all the notes along the way.

“Taraab and Terror in Zanzibar” by Dave-Brendon de Burgh is political in more of a Jason Bourne sort of way.  It has all the feeling of an old school pulp story and the hero of it put me in the mind of Doc Savage.  It’s almost pulp horror in how it’s handled.  I wish we could have seen the actual final fight, but I can understand why we didn’t.  While it might have been a spectacle, it wouldn’t have ultimately added anything of substance to the story.

“A Whisper in the Reeds” by Nerine Dorman offered up the first LGBT protagonist in the anthology and I was glad for it as I was afraid that bit of representation might be missed out on.  It was refreshing to see a gay couple that wasn’t mired by tragedy and wasn’t insanely happy either.  They were just a normal couple.  I found that thread of the story the most interesting.  While the creatures in the lake were the way the story was brought together, I found the more grounded events to be profoundly more intriguing.

Some of those themes of sexuality get carried over into “Acid Test” by Vianne Venter.  There’s a strong component of environmentalism in the mix of this story and it offered up something of a warning in that regard.  But it wasn’t necessarily dystopic in its handling.  It felt more capitalistic in approach and the main characters seem to feed right into that which sort of makes the environmental message a bit fatalist, which sadly is probably the most realistic approach.

“Thandiwe’s Tokoloshe” by Nick Wood is a twisted children’s story that lovingly throws the middle finger up at Narnia.  I loved it and the sassiness of the young child is such a refreshingly real take.  Not all children come wrapped in manners and innocence.  Frankly, they shouldn’t for a number of reasons and I think this story makes a strong case for it.

AFRICAN MONSTERS delivered on its promises and then some.  We got stories from a unique perspective that I can only hope continues to grow in the publishing industry.

African Monsters Review Part 2

So we move into our second look at the anthology AFRICAN MONSTERS.  One of the things that I really love about this collection is that it doesn’t try to play the continent like this monolithic entity.  It acknowledges and embraces the many, many cultures and subcultures that exist there.  That is such a needed thing for those of us who suffer from a Western gaze which prompts us to make so many unfounded assumptions.  So while this anthology certainly entertained, it also educated.

Picking up where we left off, we start with “The Death of One” by Su Opperman.  Having a short graphic piece in the middle of this prose collections was a welcome change of pace.  And I think it’s a perfect complement to many of the stories that came before and after it.  There’s a grittiness to the work that is just primal.  There’s this raw intensity that travels effortlessly from one panel to the next.  You don’t need a lot of exposition because the essence of this conflict is depicted flawlessly.

“Chikwambo” by T.L. Huchu was a story that intertwined so much into such a short time.  You see the arrogance of patriarchy, the cruelty of loss and it all gets encapsulated with this terribly sad creature.  The Chikwambo is certainly scary, but there’s such a tragic aspect to it.  It’s heartbreaking to think of the origins and how much pain must exist behind such a legend.  The Tsikamutanda reminded me a bit of the teacher character from “Fullmetal Alchemist” in how he possessed great wisdom, but still made a fatal mistake in the end.  I think this is easily one of my favorite stories in the collection.

“Monwar” by Dilman Dila also manages to weave some different themes together in an interesting way.  The main character is a woman cop in a society that doesn’t make it easy for women to exist in such a profession.  So she takes no crap from anyone and does her job very well throughout the course of the story.  But thankfully, Dila avoids the mundane “unstoppable badass woman who feels nothing” cliché and infuses the character with a large yearning to fill a part of her life that has left her.  At first, I was prepared to not like that particular angle of the story but Dila delivers it with nuance and some comedy.  The main character’s yearning is mirrored in terrible fashion by the Monwar that is feasting throughout the city.  Overall, this story is just an excellent use of foil and symbolism.

The feminist work is carried onward in “That Woman” by S. Lotz.  When I talked earlier about this anthology educating, this is one of the stories I thought of.  It is a story that lays out the harmful repercussions of a witchcraft accusation and how damaging that can be to a woman.  The sinister details of these accusations and the economic destruction it causes reminds me in some ways of the Salem Witch Trails, but this phenomena runs far deeper and the scar of it seems longer lasting.  I didn’t walk away from this story feeling sorry for any of its losers and that’s how it should be.  None were deserving of sympathy and I think this story manages to relish in its vengeance in a way that doesn’t feel gratuitous.

“Sacrament of Tears” by Toby Bennett caught my attention immediately because of the tone.  The author manages to capture the language and flow of the time period they’re depicting so well that I almost wanted to check back to the first page to make sure Lord Byron’s name wasn’t there.  This is a story that you can tell work was put into to get every word just right and it elevated my appreciation the piece to another level.  There wasn’t a single moment in the story where I felt like it broke “character”.  There is a critique of colonialism hidden somewhere in the mix here, but it hides itself as well as the Mother in this story hides her pain.  A wonderful piece and one that will stick in my mind for quite some time.

Tomorrow will cover the remainder of the anthology and offer us some stories dealing with environmentalism, revolutions and politics all wrapped up with different seasonings of horror.

African Monsters Review Part 1

Monsters and legends.  Every culture has them and in American pop culture, some of these monsters and ideas have been worn to nothing.  The European caricatures of vampires and werewolves have been playing out for decades here.  So this book was refreshing for that reason and because it allowed me as an African-American to get another interesting glimpse into the continent from which my ancestry hails.  To be short, this anthology captured my imagination and forced me to turn on the lights at points of my reading it.  I’ll run through the stories, giving some insight into the parts of them that stuck out for me.  Given the amount of tales woven and my need to say something about each one, this review will be broken into three easily digestible parts.

The first story in the collection was crafted by the incomparable Nnedi Okorafor titled “On the Road”.  This was a perfect story to begin the collection with as it smashed all of my expectations because my early assumptions told me this was to be a zombie story. Wrong is probably not even appropriate to sum up my ill conclusion.  The idea of the mmuo was just so damn intriguing and terrifying in scope.  Its imagery harkened back to some of the mystical guardians seen in Who Fears Death.  In such a small space, Okorafor managed to give us lessons on family, fate and responsibility.  The ending felt like something right out of a superhero origin story.  You can always expect a coolly crafted heroine under Okorafor’s pen.

Next in the collection is a story from Joan de la Haye called “Impundulu”.  The creature that the title is named for strikes me a bit like a Garuda.  I couldn’t help but to invoke the imagery of Perdido Street Station as I read this story.  Rape and its awful consequences is a terrible, global disease and I think this story tries to manage some of that in its own way.   The Impundulu seems to represent the righteous, if not dark, rage a person feels after suffering that kind of violation.  As the story plays out, you see that rage causes indiscriminate lashing out.  I think more could have been done to build up the character of the daughter, but when viewed through the lens of her being a symbol then I see why she wasn’t.

“One Hundred and Twenty Days of Sunlight” by Tade Thompson was one of the longer pieces in the anthology.   Despite every descriptive writing and a sympathetic main character, I’m not sure if it needed to be that long of a story.  There was an immediacy to some of the scenes that I don’t think carried all the way through the story.   But what I found the most interesting was the relationship between the protagonist and the foreign priest.  It struck me as somewhat twisted how this priest had deluded himself into thinking the protagonist was something he could pin down.  By far, that dynamic caught my attention the most.

“Severed” by Jayne Bauling reminded me so much of an old school horror movie.  College kids on a trip and ignoring local lore is something I’ve seen played out in that genre quite a few times, but here it feels new and refreshing.  The monster at the center of this story is horrifying in its ability to take away your freewill through something you can never really get rid of.  It takes one of the most natural aspects of yourself and turns it into something wholly dangerous.  The story works itself in a way you might expect it to, but you’re still left with sufficient chills once it’s done.

Tomorrow we’ll be digging into some stories from Su Opperman, Dilman Dila and others..

..African Monsters

 

Is’nana: Getting to know Greg Anderson

Today at RRAP, we’re talking with indie creator Greg Anderson.  Going to try to find out a little about him and his latest endeavor, IS’NANA THE WERE-SPIDER.

  1. So who is Greg Anderson-Elysee and what’s a typical day for him like?

Dang, haha. That’s a bit of a tough question because one day I’m at home all day and the next I’m running around doing something. I’m an artist; from filmmaking and editing to writing to modeling. Although I’m constantly hustling, a general typical day has me reading, writing, doing some research, finding gigs of any sort, spending time with the bae, and going to the gym.

  1. What is it that appeals to you about the comic book format?

I think for me it’s the combination of visual arts and reading, which are two of my favorite things. Seeing what was once words put to life visually is always fun and the talent out there is amazing and acts as a great escape and insight to the artists involved. There’s no other art medium I love more.

  1. Do you remember the first comic book you picked up?

I do, actually. The first comic book I ever bought was Superboy #19! I was probably in the first or second grade. I saw a commercial for Superman action figures; it was when they were introducing the new Superman characters that were inspired after his death to take his place. And there was an animation of Superboy and I thought he looked awesome. When I found a comic shop heading home from school one day, I had some cash and asked for a Superboy comic. I was so damn upset when I saw my mom using that comic to write someone’s phone number on it, haha. I’ve been a comic book geek ever since.

  1. When did you make the decision that you wanted to write comics? 

Growing up I was always drawing. I don’t really draw anymore now but as a kid, a pencil and sheet was always in front of me with some type of Disney or superhero character. Around 5th grade I started making my own characters for fun and by high school I wanted to be a comic book artist but my passion for drawing dwindled and I got into filmmaking. But I continued to write short stories about my characters and I got into Dwayne McDuffie, David Hine, and Peter David’s work. I bought Peter David’s book on writing comic books and after finishing it, I decided then and there I was going to make it my life’s mission to be a published comic book writer.

  1. For the newbies, what is the typical procedure for creating a comic? 

Starts with an idea. It could be a small little nothing but you think of ways to expand it. It’s also best to put it down on paper, no matter how small. One of my pet-peevs is when someone says, “I don’t have to write it down, it’s all in my head.” What happens with that? It stays in your head and it never gets written down and therefore never produced.

After figuring out the story and themes and characters, I plot it out and eventually flesh it out further. By then I’ve already had some ideas or scenes done. I eventually write the whole script and have an idea in mind of what I want the art to be. From there it’s talent search time! Ask around for artists and post ads on various websites and see who is interested.

Oh! And important thing before searching for artists… SAVE AS MUCH MONEY AS POSSIBLE!!! I had to work multiple gigs and jobs to save up enough to hire the artists involved. Drawing is a grueling art craft and if the artist is very talented, they deserve compensation for their time in helping you bring your vision to life.

After finding that artist, establish a good rapport and make sure you make a contract after every one agrees on a good union and interest for the book. Make sure the artist actually is interested and reads the script beforehand. Do NOT jump on a book with an artist who isn’t that interested or can’t see eye to eye with your vision. After that, it’s a while going back and forth to make sure all is well, then comes the coloring process then getting a letterer and then publishing. It’s a looooooong process with a lot more details but it’s fun.

  1. Give us a little rundown of your former/current projects and aspirations.

Well in the comic realm, I had one short published called “In Loving Memory…” in an anthology called Rx Tales. That was years ago, maybe 5-6 years ago. This past year or so I’ve been working to develop my first book Is’nana: The Were-Spider. Prior to that I was working on Jeremy Tableau, a character I’ve been working on for a long time but had to put on the backburner for now.

  1. Is’nana the Were-Spider definitely evokes a certain flavor right off the bat.  What were you going for with the title?

Definitely a sense of mystery or possibly horror or something that would make you think “This seems weird… what is this about?” It’s a bit unusual and I like unusual things.

  1. I know a lot of comic work doesn’t really fit neatly into one genre, but if you had to pick where would this book fall?

That’s funny because I didn’t initially have a general genre in mind when producing this but horror will always sneak into my work. I’ve been a fan of horror since I was a kid and it naturally gets written, even if it’s one scene. I’d say this falls under horror-fantasy.

  1. Obvious question.  Where did the concept of the book come from?

I’m a big fan of mythology, especially Greek mythology. I taught myself Greek mythology when I was a kid later being introduced to Clash of the Titans, Hercules, and Xena. By the time I got to high school, I started getting interested in Caribbean folktales and characters and deities. Over time I got into Anansi the Spider. I grew to love the Trickster figure archetype when I started doing more research in college. A regular theme that shows up in some of my writing is the theme of establishing your roots and cultures along with the themes of stories being forgotten. Is’nana came about as a stand in for Anansi, his father, and he was going to make sure he goes around inspiring people in a way to bring prominence of his father and other Africana-based lore back into importance. That was the beginning.

  1. Tell us a bit about our characters.  What’s driving them in this story?

Is’nana is the lead character. Originally he started off looking like a 30 year old but now he passes as a kid reaching adulthood. He’s generally kind-hearted and positive but when we jump into this first story, he has the weight of the world on his shoulders and it’s forced him into a responsibility he refuses to let go. He is from another world called the Mother Kingdom where a particular set of fantasy characters live and are being forgotten. Anansi is the only one from the Mother Kingdom that can travel from there to our world and he goes missing. Is’nana, his son who is just a spider, finds a way into our world to find his father and breaks a barrier, bringing horrors from various places into our world. He now sees it as his right to rectify this.

Anansi is the Spider God of West African and Caribbean lore. He is a trickster figure who uses his mind and wits to overcome his enemies. He is also the God of Stories. Before the story begins, he was missing and eventually found by his son, Is’nana. I plan to go into further details in another volume to serve as a prequel. But in this, Anansi is a loving father who is using these recent moments on our world to spend time with his son and encourage him to become a responsible man of his own right. He also acts like a comedic and fight-ready Jiminy Cricket on Anansi’s shoulder and could serve as either or both the Devil and Angel fighting to influence Is’nana at times.

Osebo The Leopard is the antagonist of the story and is Anansi’s rival in the old folklore of Anansi the Spider. Osebo is one of the horrors brought to our world by Is’nana, coming in as a spirit. He feels that he, as a former legend, is being forgotten along with the other creatures of the Mother Kingdom. Although he hates Anansi, he feels that it was Anansi’s duty to keep their spirits alive and so he now plans to make sure he will not be forgotten. But first he needs to rid us of those pesky arachnids.

Finally there’s Roger, a lonely musician who finds himself caught between these warring creatures.

  1. What goals, personal or otherwise, are you hoping to achieve with this story?

Hmm. Personally I feel a lot of Black culture, when it comes to stories from our folklore, is dying or is simply not being told and that’s due to many not being exposed to them. Everyone knows of the Greek gods, the Norse. But I would like to at least present a story that can get people to see that Africana-based stories can be used for inspiration also and could be used in complex ways, like their originally orally told ways. It just got lost, but it can be found again.

  1. Have you learned any lessons along the way while bringing this to life?

A lot, actually. I’ve learned a lot about the visually aspect of it, working together with the different artists to get it down, especially preparing for it to print. There’s so much going on that I was never aware of. There’s still a lot to do and I’m always willing to learn more of the process of self-publishing. It may be stressful at times and money may be tight, but I love it.

  1. What do you feel makes your book necessary to have out there? 

It’s a story I feel that hasn’t been told and it shines a light on themes that I feel isn’t as common in comics, at least in the style that my artists and I have done it. Essentially I wrote a comic I’d love to read and I feel a lot of people may like it and hopefully it strikes interest in a lot of the themes that are presented and gets people wanting to learn more.

I refuse to allow Anansi and his crew to go out without some type of bang!

Flat out, Greg’s vision is amazing and ambitious.  He has a Kickstarter that has already raised over 7K for his project.  Click on the play button below if you want to support:

Shadowshaper: A Slick Diss on Gentrification

shadowshaper_coverLiterature is one of the best ways for marginalized people to fight back against oppression.  It’s an unfortunate truth of the publishing world that many marginalized voices are smothered.  So that literary weapon can seem out of reach and hard to use.  I’m glad to say that Daniel Jose Older grabbed that weapon with SHADOWSHAPER and took a couple of necessary jabs along the way.  But like much good literature, he doesn’t have to tell you that’s what he doing.  He just walks you into the room and you figure out the decorating for yourself.

This Young Adult (though I find that label limiting here) novel is about a young girl named Sierra and her embracing her family legacy.  That legacy is held up in stark contrast against the gentrification going on in her community of Brooklyn.  I have a very good friend from that area who has more than made me aware of that insidious invasion going on in an area full of rich history.  So I had an idea of that going into the novel, but Older makes it real. He breathes life and circumstance into it.   He’s able to contrast the richness and depth of the Dominican culture against the blandness of rising coffee shops and suburban living trying to disguise itself in an urban setting.

The indictment of gentrification and how it drains on communities is ever in the background as Sierra is dealing with fading murals and the significant danger that represents.  I can’t help but to think of these fading murals as a symbol of the encroaching nature of gentrification and how it erases the character of a neighborhood with hipster barber shops and nauseating cafes.  Sierra is struggling to figure out exactly what is causing these murals to fade and why they seem to be alive in the first place.

There is also another angle in which the acidic nature of gentrification and how it destroys the foundation of a neighborhood is explored.  You see how it erodes history and makes people ashamed of it.  Sierra is in a constant struggle with her family and the elders of her community to discover the origins of shadowshaping and just how that flows into her family history.  It’s symbolic in a way of how the original residents in gentrified neighborhoods, if they survive the price hikes, are forced to alter themselves to survive in their new surroundings.  They have to become something acceptable to the new white infrastructure.

Sierra’s character is a loud middle finger to such a system.  She is unapologetically her ethnicity, embracing every aspect of it without doubt or shame.  You can’t help but to love her because of it.  I look at Sierra and hope that my two nieces are so in tune with themselves like this young woman is.  That’s what makes her important in the YA field.  She’s a female character of color who isn’t going through existential angst about her gender or color.  It’s not some source of boogeyman drama.  No, it’s her identity and it serves the story without having to be the story.

I look at Sierra and hope she is the future of Young Adult characters for POC audiences.  We want to see ourselves represented but not have our identities dragged out for white audience torture porn.  We want to be the heroes, the warriors, the people flying starships and to paraphrase another remarkable YA series; we too want our girls to be on fire!  Loved this book from top to bottom and it has solidly made me a Daniel Jose Older groupie (and if I ever get to meet him I’m sure that’ll be amazingly awkward…)

Black Speculative Fiction Month: Day Twenty-Six (The Catch-Up)

Title: Binti

Author: Nnedi Okorafor

Where you can find it: http://www.amazon.com/Binti-Nnedi-Okorafor/dp/0765385252/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1445846804&sr=1-1&keywords=binti

Why you should get it: Okorafor hits it out of the park again with this story.  You have a strong, young female protagonist who is willing to take a risk.  But this story is an interesting exploration of culture, what it means to defy it and the ways cultures clash when trying to communicate.  An excellent space academy adventure.

Black Speculative Fiction Month: Day Twenty-Six (The Catch-Up)

Title: Immortal

Author: Valjeanne Jeffers

Where you can find it: http://www.amazon.com/Immortal-Second-Valjeanne-Jeffers/dp/1441480897/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1445846535&sr=1-4&keywords=immortal+valjeanne

Why you should get it: This story almost gives a Blade Runner vibe when approaching some of its more dystopic elements.  But you get a sensual love story in the mix of it that you can tell is scribed by the hands of an experienced black woman.  It’s an interesting mix of genres in this first of three books.

Black Speculative Fiction Month: Day Twenty-Six (The Catch-Up)

Title: Once Upon a Time in Afrika

Author: Balogun Ojetade

Where you can find it: http://www.amazon.com/Once-Upon-Afrika-Sword-Novel/dp/0980084237/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1445846115&sr=1-1&keywords=once+upon+a+time+in+afrika

Why you should get it:  Are you interested in Africa?  Do you like action?  Do you want your action to come from an authentic source?  This book can satisfy all three of those needs.  Not only does this book do our cultural heritage proper justice, but you can also trust the action is coming from lived experience.  Check it out!

Black Speculative Fiction Month: Day Twenty-Six (The Catch-Up)

Title: From Here to Timbuktu

Author: Milton Davis

Where you can find it: http://www.amazon.com/Here-Timbuktu-Milton-J-Davis/dp/0996016732/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1445845811&sr=1-1&keywords=from+here+to+timbuktu

Why you should get it: Have you ever wanted to see a world where the African slaves in American rose up and carved out a land for themselves?  This book gives you just that along with strong black characters, a daring adventure and enough juicy visuals to match any high budget movie.