It is African SF writer Nick Wood who joins The Harvester series, this year. His collection, Learning Monkey and Crocodile, will become the seventh and last instalment to the series, for 2019, launched at the Fantasycon’s Harvester Party Nick is already a member of the Luna family, having contributed an article to the call for paper The Evolution of African Fantasy and Science Fiction.
Just like all Harvester books, the stories in this collection have appeared in established publications such as Interzone, Albedo One, Omenana, among others; plus you will also find stories original to this book as well as a bonus section in the end.
The cover artist is none other than John Cockshaw, a Luna family member who has been working on the illustrations for the Darkness in Mind series, with Robert S Malan.
Nick Gevers said: “Nick Wood’s short stories are powerful, impassioned visions of worlds and worldviews remade by way of redemptive engagement with the spirits of the earth and the earth of the spirit. Joining ancestral wisdom and transformative technologies, combining searing self-scrutiny with joyous awareness of the Other, Learning Monkey and Crocodile is a book for Africa and for all of us.”
Adam Roberts said: “Nick Wood is the kind of writer whose stories live in your mind long after you’ve finished reading them. Imagination and extrapolation, wisdom and beauty, practical and emotional reality, all deftly packaged into fourteen short-story parcels and delivered out of Africa to the world. You won’t want to miss this collection.”
Let’s hear it from the man himself.
“This is my first short story collection, with the best 14 culled from over two dozen published variously in South Africa, the US, UK, Ireland and Nigeria, since the new century. Stories for the world, then, exploring how we can live with resilient hope and love, by learning new ways of being in the world - and speaking the words of those who are disappearing fast, in The Sixth Great Extinction.
What better way. to create better futures. than imagining them into existence through speculative stories? Of the fourteen stories published here, several are award winners or runners up in various competitions – Bridges (the spark for my novel Azanian Bridges) in the International Aeon Award for SF Speculative Fiction; God in the Box for the South African Nova Award; Lunar Voices (on the Solar Wind) for the Accessible Futures Prize for ‘Disability Science Fiction’, and Dream-Hunter being selected in the Best of British Science Fiction, 2016. For although my roots are African, these stories range across the globe and onto exo-planets in other solar systems. At their heart, though, is the question, how can we be better human beings and save what we love, yet are busy destroying? Not just our fellow animals, but in the way we Other each other - so easily, and with such devastating cost.
This collection also includes three new and unpublished stories too, focusing on negotiating the domestic, the political, and the fantastic. Additionally, part of the bonus material constitutes three non-fiction essays, exploring the art of writing inclusively, as well as through pain and disability. The final essay addresses the psychology of writing change, which for me is the attraction and key kernel of great SF. We are in the throes of sweeping global changes, so let’s write and read, of new worlds in the making! Worlds where monkeys, crocodiles, and humans find ways of learning from each other - for the aliens are not ‘out there’ – they are around us, as is the distressed earth beneath us.
Let’s hear it, for the Monkeys and Crocodiles…”
Learning Monkey and Crocodile will be out on the 18th of October, at Fantasycon. The Harvester Launch Party will also include Paul Kane’s The Controllers, Marie O’Regan’s The Last Ghost and Other Stories, Stephen Bacon’s Murmured in Dreams, Wole Talabi’s Incomplete Solutions, Tim Major’s And The House Lights Dim, and Ian Whates’ Wourism.
The pre-order is now open on the Luna Press site and other discerning retailers.