I was included in this week’s Mind Meld at SF Signal, about movies which were better than the books that inspired them. Spoilers: I wasn’t very original, as two other people in the mind meld picked the same movie. On the bright side, this probably proves that we’re right.
If there’s one thing in this world that I like more than science fiction, it’s food. Delicious, crunchy food. So when Darusha Wehm offered to do a guest post with a recipe, well, that was something I could sign up for.
Children of Arkadia follows three generations of humans and AIs participating in an audacious experiment — to create a just and free society in an orbital space colony. The book is, in many ways, utopian science fiction. The Arkadians are literally trying to build a better world. Of course, it’s not that simple, and this story revolves around how people can (or can’t) resolve the inherent conflict between competing views of what doing the right thing actually entails. And, of course, how they are going to feed themselves.
Arkadia is a mix of high-tech and rural living. Farming is the chief concern of most of the people — human and AI — and even those not directly participating in growing food are, to some extent or another, foodies. Among the human population, at least, everyone needs to eat.
Camilo Molina is someone who wants to make sure no one goes hungry. A homebody and, with his husband Cliff, adoptive parent to a house full of kids, Camilo is one of those people who is always in the kitchen. For him, food is love, snacks are comfort and baking is stress relief. So, when one of his kids goes missing, Camilo’s kitchen starts to look like a commercial bakery.
Here’s one of his favourites:
Camilo’s Nutty Oat Bars
(easy contemporary Earth substitutions in parentheses)
1/2 cup goats’ milk butter, melted (cow butter works)
1 large hen’s egg
1/2 cup honey (light brown sugar)
1/2 cup ground nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter)
(a drop or two of vanilla extract)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda (1/2 teaspoon if using sugar rather than honey)
about a cup of mixed nuts and dried fruits (chocolate chips are good, too)
Beat the egg, butter, and honey (and the vanilla if you’re using it) with a fork until it’s fluffy, then stir in the nut butter. Once that’s all smooth, add the oats and mix them well so they are all damp. Then add the flour, baking soda, salt and oats. Stir until it’s just mixed, then stir in the fruit and nuts. Pour it into a pan, smoothing it out. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes at 350F/200C until the centre is solid and the top is golden. Let it cool a bit to firm up, then slice into bars.
About Darusha Wehm:
M. Darusha Wehm is the three-time Parsec Award shortlisted author of the novels Beautiful Red, Self Made, Act of Will and The Beauty of Our Weapons. Her next novel, Children of Arkadia (Bundoran Press), will be released April 28, 2015. She is the editor of the crime and mystery magazine Plan B.
She is from Canada, but currently lives in Wellington, New Zealand after spending the past several years traveling at sea on her sailboat. For more information, visit http://darusha.ca.
Kaus wants nothing more than to be loved while its human counterpart, Raj Patel, believes fervently in freedom. Arkadia, one of four space stations circling Jupiter, was to be a refuge for all who fought the corrupt systems of old Earth, a haven where both humans and Artificial Intelligences could be happy and free. But the old prejudices and desires are still at play and, no matter how well-meaning its citizens, the children of Arkadia have tough compromises to make.
When the future of humanity is at stake, which will prove more powerful: freedom or happiness? What sacrifices will Kaus, Raj, and the rest of Arkadia’s residents have to make to survive?
This was neat! I did an interview with my local radio station, a recording of which is available right here:
It was a lot of fun. The interviewer had actually read some things off of my website, which I found slightly astonishing, and we had a good talk. He said afterwards that he was hoping to get a copy of the book himself!
Beneath Ceaseless Skies, which is probably the best fantasy magazine out there right now, just sayin’, is reprinting my story The Judge’s Right Hand as part of their Ceaseless West anthology. The anthology’s contents and cover art are right here, and the anthology also includes one of my favorite BCS stories.
The anthology goes on sale at the end of April… so any day now.
For a while now I’ve been putting up articles at jsbangs.conlang.org which relate to elements of the setting, languages, history, and philosophy behind my published works. I haven’t made a very big deal about it, though, mostly because I wanted to make sure that I had a critical mass of articles before I publicized it, to avoid sending people to an empty site.
Well, I guess it’s full enough, because here you go: more than you wanted to know about Storm Bride and other fantasy works-in-progress. The site is still very incomplete, and I have a dozen TODOs written to myself about topics that I still want to cover. I refrain from writing all of the articles right away, since I suffer from worldbuilder’s disease as it is, and writing encyclopedia articles about my creations sometimes threatens to get in the way of actual stories. But I do get to write the encyclopedia articles at some point. Right now you can see a bunch of articles relating mostly to Storm Bride, including a pretty complete description of the Praseo language, and some details about the Yakhat which never quite made it into the published book.
I intend to trickle articles up onto that site, and I’ll make an announcement here whenever I hit certain milestones. For now, though, feel free to poke around and let me know if there’s anything you particularly like or want to know more about.
I have a mailing list now, which you can use to sign up for updates and release notices from me. This might be a good option for those of you who don’t use RSS to follow the blog, or want less frequent updates.
(This has actually been in place for a few months, but I barely publicized it at all, so I figured I should mention it to blog readers who might not have noticed.)
I have finally completed something that at least a few readers have been clamoring for: a map to accompany Storm Bride.
The map, as you can see, is not actually all that complex. Storm Bride has a relatively simple geography relative to a lot of other fantasy novels, which is why I was okay with not having a map when the book was first released. But a map certainly helps, and gosh it’s pretty. I just want to look at it all day.
I want to give full credit to Robert Altbauer of fantasy-map.net, who created the base for this map. I provided him with an ink outline showing the shorelines and waterways that I wanted, and he created the gorgeous full-color version that you see here. (I did the text, cities, and other markers by myself, because I plan on reusing these maps for a whole bunch of different purposes, and text labeling is relatively simple.) If you check out his site, you can see a lot more examples of his work, which is uniformly high quality, and definitely worth a peek if you love fantasy cartography.