Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Kiini Ibura Salaam's Ancient, Ancient

It's May, and that means a bouquet of new publications from Aqueduct Press-- viz., the rest of her Spring 2012 list. The first of these has just arrived here in Seattle, and so I'm pleased to announce the release of Kiini Ibura Salaam's Ancient, Ancient. For many sf readers, this is a new name. But her stories have been appearing in a variety of anthologies over the last few years-- in Sheree Thomas's Dark Matter and in Nalo Hopkinson's Mojo: Conjure Stories, to mention only two. I had read and taken special notice of her stories, myself, so when she sent me a manuscript, I was excited at the prospect of becoming better acquainted with her work. (She will, by the way, be attending WisCon later this month.)

I asked Nisi Shawl to write an introduction to the collection. Her brief essay remarks particularly on the sensuality and erotic power of Kiini's prose. “Sexuality-cum-sensuality is the experiential link between mind and matter," Nisi writes, "the vivid and eternal refutation of the alleged dichotomy between them. This understanding is the foundation of my 2004 pronouncement on the burgeoning sexuality implicit in sf's Afro-diasporization. It is the core of many African-based philosophies. And it is the throbbing, glistening heart of Kiini's body of work. This book is alive. Be not afraid.”

"Salaam treats words like the seductive weapons they are. She wields them to weave fierce, gorgeous stories that stroke your sensibilities, challenge your preconceptions, and leave you breathless with their beauty."   — Nalo Hopkinson, author of The New Moon's Arms and The Salt Roads
"Kiini Ibura Salaam's collection of short fiction, Ancient, Ancient, demonstrates that she deserves to be considered as one of today's most promising contemporary genre writers. With writing that challenges assumptions on gender, the nature of fantasy, the uses of myth and much more, she offers the readers stories that they will not soon forget. A marvelous introduction to a marvelous writer."
  — Jack Womack, author of Random Acts of Senseless Violence
"Kiini Ibura Salaam is a natural-born storyteller and a gorgeous writer who chooses her characters and words with the care and skill of a poet. Her stories are transformative, wise and vivid with the quality of fantasy and fable. I loved reading this!"   — Sheree Renée Thomas, author of Shotgun Lullabies: Stories and Poems and editor of the award-winning Dark Matter anthologies

"My favorite piece is one of three original to this collection, “Pod Rendezvous.” A long and entrancing look at the last libertine hours of a future female who must dedicate her remaining life to selfless nurturing, it swoops on gossamer contrails from crèche to club, from finger-shoveled cafeteria food to bars dispensing star juice. It is the book’s final story. At its end the heroine disappears, a bright spark flying out of sight, and the story is done but not over, or over but not yet done. The pull, the sometimes literally visceral attraction of what Kiini does with words, continues on beyond them."   — Nisi Shawl, author of Filter House, from her introduction to Ancient, Ancient

Ancient, Ancient received this review from Publishers Weekly:

"Salaam's collection of 10 reprints and 3 original stories introduces readers to alternate worlds built around magic, sensuality, sexuality, and the search for emotional comfort, however tenuous. A lusty god temporarily bestows his sexual spark on a worn-out and unappreciated young woman in ''Desire.'' The world of mothlike aliens who feed on the heated ''nectar'' of human sexual energies is explored in three linked tales. A young man's grandfather sends him time traveling into danger as a punishment in ''Battle Royale,'' while ''Rosamojo'' is a straightforward revenge story about a young girl who uses magic to punish her rapist father. Unearthly magics frame ''Ferret,'' an intriguing snippet about a space colony ship guided by animal divination, and ''Marie,'' in which a pregnant Creole woman is willing to sacrifice anything to feel at home in New York City. Salaam's unusual settings and lonely characters will call to readers who hunger for sex, identity, or just a place to belong."

You can purchase a copy from Aqueduct Press here

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