Saturday, July 28, 2012
Calling All Anthropologists, Entomologists, Mythologists, Folklorists, and Linguists!
This post is a piece of shameless self-promotion! It's about the type of reader whom I would like to attract -- who I believe would appreciate my writing and enjoy it most. This reader could be any of the above, as well as non-experts who nevertheless have a curiosity or a passion about those subjects. Or, in fact, it could be anybody whose interest is piqued by the unusual or the thought-provoking.
My books vary in their emphasis. The anthropology angle is obvious in the two volumes of "The Termite Queen"; my heroine is an anthropologist, and first-contact situations require an anthropologist's touch. Anthropology is the central focus in "Monster Is in the Eye of the Beholder." The plot deals with what can happens when an anthropological investigation goes seriously awry. The books in the series "The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head" are less directly anthropological because they are laid among the extraterrestrial termite race itself and include only peripheral interraction with those meddlesome Star-Beings. They are more a venture into constructed culture.
Entomology plays no role in "Monster," but obviously none of the other books could have been written without a study of insects. The lead male character in "Termite Queen" is an entomologist and the extraterrestrials are giant termites, who have evolved intelligence but still retain many of the imperatives of social insect behavior. I do have the attention of one leading termite expert, Dr. Timothy G. Myles, who wrote that great University of Toronto website about termites, which is now only available in the Internet Archive. Dr. Myles really likes my books! He wrote a 5-star review of "Termite Queen," v.1, at Amazon under the appellation of "Termite Tim."
When I first started to use Twitter, I tried to attract the attention of anthropologists and entomologists, and I have periodically attempted the same since then, especially with the entomology. I have never gotten one follow from an anthropologist, and almost nothing from entomology tweeps, except for @BeesinArt, which is very nice about retweeting. I've also had slight interaction with @AboutInsects, and a few others that I can't recall right now. But I can't say that any of this has ever gotten me a sale.
Can it be that anthropologists and entomologists don't read SF or fantasy? I can't believe that's true of all of them! Well, all I can say is, they don't know what they're missing!
Then there are the mythology people, folklorists, etc. I can't imagine that people interested in Greek myth or any myth, for that matter, or in epic tales (because later volumes retell certain medieval stories -- it's not all Greek) -- that these people wouldn't be intrigued by retellings of their favorite subjects in such an original milieu. Hercules as a giant termite! The Trojan War fought between termite fortresses! Achilles a mighty Warrior who is immature, bellicose, and unpredictable, with a secret flaw (doesn't sound so far from the original, does it?) Hecuba a termite Queen! Priam an unnaturally warlike King! Cassandra a mad Alate Seer! The role of Odysseus played by an audacious trickster Worker! Aeneas carrying on his back, not his father, but a young King destined to be the founder of a new fortress, just as Aeneas is purported in some myths to be the founder of Rome! How could anybody interested in myth resist that? It's so much fun -- it was fun to write, and it will be fun to read!
Furthermore, while "Termite Queen" doesn't retell a myth directly, one of the great myths of our culture is touched on obliquely in the conclusion of the tale.
Last but certainly not least, there are the linguists, particularly those who are concerned with conlangs and concultures. "The Termite Queen" is predicated on a conlang -- Kaitrin Oliva has to write one in order to conceptualize the non-vocal language of the termites. And that language plays a continuing role in the "Labors" series, with Shshi words often utilized in the text (frequently with explanatory notes). I have quite a few contacts already in this linguistic area and I hope to build more.
So maybe this post will attract some attention -- maybe somebody will search the terms in its title and find it and think, Huh, that sounds interesting -- I think I'll have a go at one of her books. If so, you can read sample chapters of "Stolen Mother" on this blog, or go to Ruminations of a Remembrancer to read chapters of "Termite Queen." The Amazon link is another place to go - the "Look Inside" function has now been activated on all the books. And Smashwords has sample downloads on "Monster" and on both volumes of "Termite Queen."
Happy reading! I hope you will enjoy my books as much as I enjoyed writing them!