David Mogo Godhunter – Suyi Davies Okingbowa

LAGOS WILL NOT BE DESTROYED

The gods have fallen to earth in their thousands, and chaos reigns.

Though broken and leaderless, the city endures.

David Mogo, demigod and godhunter, has one task: capture two of the most powerful gods in the city and deliver them to the wizard gangster Lukmon Ajala.

No problem, right?

David Mogo, Godhunter is billed on the back cover as “A Nigerian Harry Dresden”. This only goes a little way towards what we’ve got here though – whilst there are definite echoes of the Chicago wizard private eye, David Mogo is very much his own man, and we definitely ain’t in Chicago…

What we have here is Nigerian Godpunk – a genre that I must confess I didn’t know existed until reading this book, but one that I hope to see more of in the future. At one level it’s classic urban fantasy, but with a distinctly unique edge.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s a fun read, set in a Lagos filled with fallen gods and godlings and wizards, peppered with interesting characters. The worldbuilding is great and the story whistles along at a great pace. I do love a good sense of place, and there’s plenty of that on show here. Okungbowa’s writing is punchy and sharp, with a rich vein of description which gives a great sense of place. There’s a fair bit of infodumping at points along the way, but it just adds to the atmosphere and the mythos.

One other thing I particularly enjoyed was Okungbowa’s use of language – David Mogo and Papa Udi’s conversations dialogue has a real, authentic feel to it, and though at times the dialect can be tricky to follow it’s all the stronger for it.

Finally, that cover! Oof. Huge kudos to Yoshi Yoshitani. Stunning.

David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa is published by Abaddon Books in July 2019. Many thanks to Tracy Fenton for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and the publisher for providing a copy of the book to review.

Suyi Davies Okungbowa is a Nigerian writer of science fiction, contemporary and dark fantasy, and crime fiction. His work has appeared in Lightspeed, Fireside, Podcastle, The Dark, Mothership Zeta, Omenana, Ozy, Brick Moon Fiction; amongst other magazines and anthologies. He is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Arizona, and has worked in editorial at Podcastle and Sonora Review. He lives online on Facebook, tweets at @IAmSuyiDavies, and blogs at suyidavies. com.

Blogging

On 14th March 2003, I wrote my first blog post.

That was over on Livejournal (remember that, kids?), where I racked up quite a lot of posts. Now some of those are cross-posted from here, but I reckon a good 90% were unique to LJ.

Now the bit I miss most is the comments – LJ felt like a real community where you’d check in a couple of times a day to see what was going on around the world, or to chew the fat in the comments section on a post, often diverting wildly from the original topic.

Bit like twitter really. Twitter has kind of taken over from LJ in that regard, for me at least.

I’ve made a huge number of friends from blogging over the years, and it makes me a little sad to think that I might never actually meet most of them in person. A while back I sent out a small moleskine notebook on a trip around the world and my LJ friends – one person would get it, write something (anything) in there, then when they were done we’d look for a couple of volunteers and send it on its way again. I got it back a few years ago and it’s full (well, half-full) of wonderful things, memories and thoughts and general musings from people I know but might never meet. It even got as far as the White House, just after Obama’s inauguration!

So, happy blogging birthday to me.

Espresso coco, on the other hand, celebrates *its* birthday at the end of the month. 🙂

Do you have a blog? How long have you been blogging? Drop me a link in the comments!

Joe Mancer – by John Winter

FREE BOOKS!

That got your attention then? 🙂

My good friend John Winter has THREE of his Joe Mancer stories available for free this weekend (11th – 13th August).

If you like your fiction short and dark, John’s your man. Check them out!

The Secret

The Secret

Extract:

“Make sure Matthew doesn’t do anything stupid before I get back.”
“You’re coming back?” I say.
“Yeah,” he replies. He adjusts his collar, levels me with eyes alight with madness, then adds, “I’m off to fetch Bethany.”
“What the Hell are you talking about?”
He grins, “Trust me,” and opens the door to the cupboard under the stairs. He steps in and closes it.
“What the …!?” I reach the door, throwing it open so hard that the handle comes away in my hand.
I peer in, expecting to see Joe but instead there’s a heap of deck chairs, a vacuum, and a plastic set of drawers stuffed with tools.
Joe has vanished.

Sacrifice

Sacrifice

“In five hours, Malcom Burke would be standing in a dark corner of the hospital with the ghost of his daughter in his pocket, waiting to hear whether the surgeon could remove the glass shards from his wife’s eyes.”

and last, but not least…

The Watch

The Watch

Extract:

“I stole a ghost.
I didn’t know it at the time. I didn’t even believe they existed.
It came with an old watch, and there was nothing about the antique timepiece that suggested it was haunted. The gold inlaid face and precise movement of the three hands spoke quality, as did its weight in my hand. I could tell it was expensive.
It was, but not financially.”

A Creativity Blog Hop

Earlier this week I was tagged by Kay from Cheery Little Thing to join in with the Creativity Blog Hop. Thanks for the tag, Kay and thanks for the nice things you said about my blog and my photos!

The rules of the blog hop are to answer the three set questions and then nominate two other people to take part. So without further ado, here are the questions and my answers:

#1 What have been the doings/makings/scribblings at your desk over the past week or so?
Ooh, right. Now then. I’ve been working on a story idea with my friend John who I’ve known for about ten years now (crikey, time flies) and was introduced to as part of a writer’s group.

We used to meet up for a chat and to exchange story snippets (and eat chips, if I recall correctly). I ended up getting a job at the same place as John, the writing continued but he was always more prolific than me, but not as prolific as Dave, the guy who introduced us. Dave would regularly churn out tens/hundreds of thousands of words whilst I would manage a bit, usually starring Monty (some of which has featured on this very blog and which was mainly written to amuse myself.

Recently John suggested a collaboration – he’s come up with a start of story snippet and we’re working on that together. Though mainly bouncing ideas around at the moment, but it’s definitely got some potential.

Also, a few years back I found myself in the middle of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where I managed to churn out 50,000 words of sci-fi shenanigans. It was fun to write and has the germ of a plot in it, but I could never work out quite what was wrong with it. Various people turned up and did various things to various other people. They went from point A to point B whilst others went from point C to point D, when really the people at D needed to be at A in order to to get to C before they got to B. It was all very confusing so I put it to one side to pick up another day.

Then I saw a post about how J.K. Rowling plotted Harry Potter with a hand-drawn spreadsheet and was struck that this was the answer – take the plot threads as I have them and put them into a spreadsheet – this will let me see who’s doing what, where and when. And, more crucially, will let me work out how the various threads all tie together.

So I’ve been looking at that too. Fun!

#2 Where are you currently finding your inspiration?

See, I should really read the questions first, eh? See above for the writing stuff.

Regular readers will know that I’m a keen photographer. I’ve posted up some photos on here and I’ve got a ton over on Flickr. Inspiration for photos can come from anywhere, but I really like exploring and finding the little bits of everyday life which often get missed. I’ve spent years exploring Leeds and taking photos. I also like sunsets a a lot.

Inspiration for blog posts comes from anywhere – you may have noticed (or you will if you stick around) that this blog doesn’t really have a focus, it’s more of a random collection of stuff I’ve found interesting. It varies wildly from musings about maps to a recent A-Z of movies. Seriously, anything could take my fancy at a moment’s notice – some days I’ve blogged three or four times, other times it’s weeks between posts. Hopefully you’ll find something entertaining in here.

#3 How important is being creative to you & how do you blend this with your work/life/family balance?

Ah, now there’s the tricky bit. What with family life (two kids, two guinea pigs and a hamster) and other stuff, we’re usually busy off doing something or going somewhere to visit someone, and by the time the kids are in bed and it’s time to settle down, it’s late and often hard to motivate myself to do anything other than sit in front of twitter or surf the internet rather than do creative things. But then again, Liz has some excellent thoughts on making time for creativity, so I shall be trying to follow her good example…

Now that tagging – I’d like to tag my good friends (and super-creative people) Lucie from Love, Lucie and Mike from Backwards Lion, both of whom are creative in very different ways!

attention-seeking

I spotted this out of the window yesterday. Crepuscular[1] rays of sun on the Town Hall in Leeds.

town hall

Grabbed camera, took the shot. Quick tweak and upload to Flickr.

Cross-post to Twitter, bounce it up to Facebook, schedule a couple more tweets across the evening. Watch as the likes and favourites ping up. Retweets happen. People like it.

Woke up this morning a flood of emails from Flickr as the photo hits Explore. Tweet about it again. More interaction, more people like it.

Then ask myself the question. Why?

I took the photo because I like taking photos. The light was spot on[2] (and indeed was gone thirty seconds later) and I could tell it’d make a nice photo.

Why share it on Flickr?

Well, I’ve got a lot of friends on there, and I thought they’d like to see it. I like taking sunset photos, and the Town Hall looks ace.

Why Twitter? Someone commented that they’d seen the photo a *lot* on there.

Again, I’ve got friends on Twitter, some of whom live in America. They might like it too, so I’d post at different times, to give them a chance to see it.

Facebook?

Friends and family who live on Facebook. Surely they’d like it?

It becomes clear. It’s all about the attention. And here I am, blogging about the attention, drawing further attention to it.

So, why crave the attention? Would I go up to someone in the street and show them the photo? Pester someone in the supermarket or coffee shop?

No, of course not. But here I am, sharing it to the world at large.

It also raises the question of why blog? I’m sure we do it to amuse, entertain or even educate, but ultimately isn’t it all about showing off, even just a little? Here’s what *I* think of stuff. Here’s a nice photo *I* took.

Look at me, look at me, look at me now. Listen to what I have to say.

I’m not like that in real life, so why am I so garrulous online? There’s an advert on television at the moment which shows a guy in real life versus his online counterpart. His online self is slimmer, fitter, a better dancer. Online, we can be who we want to be, rather than who we are. I’ve written about this before.

Or are we just two sides of the same person?

Thoughts, comments, questions are, as ever, welcomed.

Are you the same online as offline? Do you blog, tweet, share photos? Why?

 

[1] and isn’t that a brilliant word?
[2] no pun intended

Terrible real estate agent photographs

I stumbled across this site last night. It’s utter genius. The comments are brilliant and had me crying with laughter. I can’t get all the way down a page of it without dissolving into a fit of giggles.

Terrible real estate agent photographs.

on blogging, and the voices inside my head

Pondering blog posts with my subconscious[1].

SC: So, what’s next for the blog? What fascinating topics are you going to blather on about next?
Me: Are you being sarky?
SC: *innocent face*
Me: Not sure. Sort of lost my blogging mojo.
SC:  Did you just use the word mojo?
Me: Yes. Go away. I was using it ironically.
SC: Hmm. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means
Me: Oh go away.
SC: Why don’t you go and have a look in your drafts folder?

*goes to look*

Me: Crikey. There’s loads in there!
SC: So, pick one and finish it.
Me: Which one?
SC: What about that one?

*points*

Me: The one about teapots?
SC: No, the one next to it.
Me: The language of railways?
SC: No, the *other* one
Me: The underserved reader?
SC: Yes. That sounds good. Though should it be ‘undeserved’ rather than ‘underserved’?
Me: No. Definitely underserved. That nice Chuck Wendig did a post about it. Needs more research though.
SC: *sigh*. How about that one?
Me: World Book Night? But that was *months* ago. Bit late now.
SC: Libraries of the future?
Me: needs research.
SC: … freedom of impossibility?
Me: research.
SC: *cries*
Me:
SC: You can’t think of a punchline for this, can you?
Me: Of course I can.
SC: Go on then
Me: #sulks

[1] Hat tip to Nick Harkaway and his brilliant ‘Muse & Me’ posts. He does it better, curse him.

life online

I’ve been thinking about blogging recently and how it’s changed over the years.

Image representing LiveJournal as depicted in ...

I started blogging on Livejournal ten years ago. The thing I loved about it was the sense of community that existed – I’d arrived there along with a bunch of others from another online forum, and before long I’d made some really good friends there. In the early days there were times when the conversations going on in the comments on a blog post were often more entertaining than the original post itself.

But a few years ago something changed – people started drifting off to other sites, predominantly Facebook. The one thriving hub of activity that was my LJ friends page started to drop off.

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

I was as much to blame as anyone, I’ll be the first to admit. The lure of the shiny meant more time on Facebook and the weird kid on the block Twitter, with its odd insistence on 140 characters or fewer.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

It made sense, in a way. Livejournal was a place where groups of friends would congregate for a chat. Facebook made it easier to share photos and find your real-life friends to go with your online friends. People who’d never have gone near LJ in a million years were now online. It had the now ubiquitous ‘like’ button, which meant that you didn’t need to actually interact with the poster, a quick click to show you’d been there and move on. Times were changing.

I miss the old days of LJ. My friends are now scattered across different social networks. Some now live exclusively on FB, some go between that and Twitter, some still hang out on LJ and some have ventured into the side new world of Google+

Me? I’m all over the place. Facebook for people I know in real life, or who only live there – often for them Facebook *is* the internet. Twitter for the random stream of consciousness. LJ for the occasional post. Flickr for photos, GoodReads for books, the list is ever-growing.

I’ve also been tinkering with G+ since it started and am starting to get a real feeling of community there. Could it be the next LiveJournal? Should it be? G+ has its quirks too – it doesn’t like you cross-posting content *out*, but is more than happy to pull content in. I can’t use automation to post to G+, whereas I can to Twitter, WordPress, Livejournal and many other sites. My posts on espressococo get automatically tweeted out and cross-posted to LJ. I have to manually add them to Google+, for now.

G+ seems to have the most potential in terms of posting significant content (like blog posts) and interacting with people. I get a few people posting comments or likes here on WP, but nowhere near the level I used to see on LJ.

So, dear reader. Where do you live on the internet? Are you a digital nomad, wandering from site to site? Or have you set down roots?

blogging quick, blogging slow…

I was reading Liz‘s excellent post the other day on ‘slow blogging’ and some things she said really struck a chord. Trying to find a schedule that works for a blog can be tricky, when you have to squeeze it in amongst Real Life, work, family and so on. There’s always something else to do, somewhere else to be.

Take tonight[1], for example – by the time the kids are in bed, the dishwasher loaded, the house straightened up, school and work stuff sorted for the morning, it’s half ten and all I really want to do is slump in front of Game of Thrones (OMG HOW GOOD? Two more episodes! WOE!) with a large mug of jolly hot tea and maybe a snackerel of something tasty and highly calorific.

I’ve sometimes wondered if this blog could do with a proper schedule – regular readers (well done for keeping up, you’re all lovely people) may have noticed that I tend to blog in little flurries at various times of the day and week. This is usually down to me trying to be clever (stop laughing at the back) and scheduling a bunch of posts spread out during the week. Of course, then I promptly forget I’ve done this, and schedule a bunch more, or spot something on the way into work which requires immediate sharing with the world (I have a post brewing about a solar-powered bin I spotted this morning. More of that later).

And thanks to the joys of mobile internet (and good coffee shops), one can quite happily blog  at lunchtimes, on the train, in the post office queue…

So I end up with some carefully-scheduled posts, some not-quite-so-carefully-scheduled posts, and some utterly random posts all jostling for position and attention. Some of these come with automatic twitter postings too, which result in a bombardment on social media. Though oddly, not Facebook. But there’s another post waiting to happen.

See? They’re like rabbits, these blog posts. Take your eye off ’em for a second…

Then I got a lovely comment over on the ‘My first job‘ post from Ofglassandbooks

Loved this post You should write more often and longer posts, dear Espresso coco, although I do like the pictures too

Perhaps I should take the slow blogging advice and work on one (or two) longer-form posts each week, interspersed with the photos and the hodge-podge of shorter stuff.

What do you think, dear reader? Slow and steady, or all higgledy-piggledy brace-yourself-he’s-off-again?

 

[1] though I’ll probably schedule this for autoposting tomorrow morning. Which will be this morning when you read it. Or even tomorrow evening. Time travel is confusing. Speaking of time travel OMG DOCTOR WHO! HOW GOOD WAS THAT? *cough* sorry.

Never judge a book

(originally seen on  http://cheezburger.com/7426380800)
(originally seen on http://cheezburger.com/7426380800)

It’s interesting how we so often judge books by their covers, isn’t it? I know I do when I’m browsing in a bookstore. Interesting cover, pick it up, check out the blurb. Sounds interesting, buy it.

Speaking of covers, I highly recommend checking out this article: Coverflip: author Maureen Johnson turns tables on gendered book covers. It started with this tweet:

Maureen threw out a challenge –

1. Take a well-known book. (It’s up to you to define well-known.)
2. Imagine that book was written by an author of the OPPOSITE GENDER. Or a genderqueer author. Imagine all the things you think of when you think GIRL book or BOY book or GENDERLESS book (do they EXIST?). And I’m not saying that these categorizations are RIGHT—but make no mistake, they’re there.
3. Now, COVERFLIP! Make the new cover and put it online. Tweet or Tumbl it with the tag #coverflip.

The Huffington Post picked up on some of the entries. Go have a look and see, the results are absolutely fascinating.

I’m completely certain that I’ve missed out on a great number of excellent books this way, so it’s nice to have the backup of recommendations from friends, either in person or on a site like Goodreads. I’ve also been fortunate to get a variety of books from various lovely publishers via the magic of Twitter. See a book competition, enter it – I could fuel my To Read pile from Twitter-sourced books alone!

Which leads me back to the brilliant photo above – what books might you be missing out on purely down to them having a cover which doesn’t catch your eye?

Also, with the advent of the Kindle, we’ve lost (or are starting to lose) that link between book and cover – no longer can you sit on the train and peer at what your fellow commuters are reading, and I’m sure we’d be surprised at some!

Have you read any great books despite the cover?