01 Aug

What does it mean to be this Caribbean writer?

I hope it’s no secret to many reading here that I don’t consider myself wholly white. Some of you reading since 1998 may know a thing or two about me, but since I’ve become published in novel form more people are coming to the blog and reading and finding out about me online and express confusion about this point.

A number of people have emailed me or stopped me to ask me “what does ‘caribbean-born’ mean?” and others are curious as to why I constantly point out things about diversity in SF. What they may not know is what others around me know: I consider myself multi-racial.

I jokingly have been called ‘an undercover brother.’ Vin Diesel calls people like me ‘shadow people,’ neither one race nor the either due to circumstances and self-identity, and considers himself one, yet another reason for my close attention to his career.

Things came to a head a couple days ago with a few emails challenging me to prove that I was actually multi-racial and not just a ‘poser’ who wanted the ‘advantages’ of being hip and multi-racial.

For some people, any attempt to identify in ways that they can’t control are troublesome.

One reason I’m private about my past family life is that I had a complicated family life and my biological parents are radically split for reasons that are none of anyone’s business except those I choose to share that story with. Growing up was not all fun and smiles on the beach, as people assume.

But I was born on the island of Grenada, West Indies, and is one of the two Caribbean islands that shape what I think of as home. Grenada, with it’s spice and colorful flowers and deep jungles and people, that is my first home. No matter how split my parents are, my cousins and aunts and uncles are all Grenadian and that is the blood that runs through my veins because of my father. I can’t deny or wish to change that, it’s simply who I am. And I’m proud to have been born there and lived there for the first nine years of my life.

People want to know something for sure, then it’s easy as clicking this link here, to see my father’s business still in Grenada. He’s the brown-skinned man in both the pictures at the bottom of the page. He’s my father that I haven’t seen or talked to in almost 20 years. Judge for yourself whether I’m multi-racial, fine.

Even better, here to the right is a crop of the one of the rare pictures I have of my Caribbean side of the family. My grandmother, two cousins and me (with my mother and father cropped out) standing on the tallest hill of Carriacou.

And yet, I’m one white looking dude. Genetics is wild. Some 7 different genes code for skin color, and when parents get together it’s a crapshoot. In this case, my sister got tan looking skin tone and I got fairly white. But that doesn’t change the fact that my father is who he is, as are my cousins and aunts and uncles. It doesn’t change the fact that I grew up playing cricket on Lance Aux Pines beach, that most of my friends until I came to Ohio were usually not white, and that I often spoke with a patois when I needed it, or a British accent if I chose. It doesn’t change that I played football, the one where you actually kick the ball, and that I had textbooks with a full complement of races in them, or that my obvious skin color meant I was the one who was not normal, but yet, I never had any trouble maintaining I was mixed until I moved to the US. My childhood was Caribbean in its nature, essence, and impact on me. Most people from the Caribbean understand where I come from (with some rare exceptions of some assholes near Grand Anse who would always yell ‘yankee go home’ at me), most grant me this without my having to fight for this. I should merely have to state it.

So, as for my identity: I’m Caribbean. An English mother and a Grenadian father. By blood, by birth, and by spending 15 and half years of my life in the islands, I can’t imagine calling myself anything else but.

Why not pass? The idea of passing is an interesting concept that tells me more about the person who asks that of me. The implicit assumption for many is that passing as white confers the easiest route, their astonishment at my not choosing that is a often an interesting hangup.

So what is up with two Caribbean Science Fiction novels? My fiction plays with a wide variety of people and genre tropes. I don’t write exclusively “Caribbean SF” but I am a Caribbean-born SF/F writer. But some of my stories are rich with the Caribbean.

Since I was in sixth grade I’d been drawing spaceships taking off from island harbors, rather than gantries. I even used some early island settings, but a lot of my early SF aped the SF I was reading: galactic empires, etc. But somewhere in ’98 when I was in college, I decided to really focus on becoming a writer. And part of that involved what I was going to write about.

I began to add pieces of Caribbean background to roughly a third of my stories. A character, a place, and certainly inspiration from island history and anecdotes. But I was nervous about using it, aware of the fact that by Caribbean readers I may be thought of as stealing the exotic for my fiction, and by other readers as some sort of fraud.

It was later in that year, however, that I sat down to write my story ‘The Fish Merchant,’ feeling that I wanted to bring together the things that I wanted to write into a short piece: one ‘Steppin’ Razor’ like badass (Pepper), a non-Caribbean but non-Western locale (China), adventure genre action, and a twist on a traditional SF trope (first contact).

When I finished my first piece that drew this all together, it was a heady rush: this was the sort of thing I wished I’d been able to have to read on the shelf. And yet, as I got accepted to the prestigious Clarion workshop on the story and started submitting it, I kept on writing more ‘vanilla SF.’ One because I didn’t want to risk screwing up another Caribbean inspired piece of SF, and another, because there was a growing feeling that I’d lost the Caribbean. A white looking Caribbean multi-racial expat, who grew up on a boat, both identifying with, but in many ways, living on the edge of, Caribbean society, who was I to write this stuff? I had a huge impostor syndrome issue. And I was still worried that even though I adored ‘Fish Merchant,’ others would not find it interesting as I did.

That changed at Clarion, when not only did many students enjoy the story, but I met two instructors who really encouraged me to take the instincts I had with ‘Fish Merchant’ and go further. Authors Tim Powers and Mike Resnick both felt that the story was something interesting and that played to my strengths. So did Scott Edelman when he visited Clarion, and it was he who later purchased the story for Sci Fi Age shortly after Clarion and gave me my first professional short story sale.

The confidence given me there led to many more stories being written over the next six years that drew my interests, backgrounds, and love of genre together:

The Fish Merchant -Science Fiction Age
In Orbite Medievali – Writers of The Future
Spurn Babylon – Whispers From The Cotton Tree Root
Trinkets – The Book of All Flesh
Death’s Dreadlocks – Mojo: Conjure Stories
In The Heart of Kalikuata – Men Writing SF As Women
Four Eyes – New Voices in Science Fiction
Necahual – So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy
Anakoinosis – I Alien
Toy Planes – Nature Magazine
The Silver Streak – Space Cadets
The Duel – Electric Velocipede #11
Manumission – Baen’s Universe (upcoming)

This represents about half of my bibliography (not including the two novels).

When it came time to write my first novel, Crystal Rain, I considered all the concepts and ideas I had, and the most compelling ones drew from many of the same sources as these stories above. As in Toy Planes, I felt that Caribbean people had a place in the future, and that if humanity were to populate the stars, that Caribbean people would immigrate in that great diaspora, and that they should have stories as well. And yet, even as there is the Caribbean take, the Caribbean’s proximity to the cultural West means that a great deal of my influences are still very much recognizable to anyone.

The reason I read genre fiction is entirely different than any other literature. I find the action, high concepts, and sense of wonder the amazing element that separates it from anything else I encounter. I like to think, secretly and to myself, that literature is the soul of humanity, its dreams. Feverish, bizarre, reflections of its processing what has happened to it so far, and figuring out how to store that, remember it, and experience it.

But the genre I work in is something different, it’s the imagination of humanity, its daydreams, its nightmares, its pleasant fantasies, it’s hopes and its inventions. It’s not like the other literatures. And I want people like me to look into the imagination of humanity and see people like himself looking back at him. I may not be perfect, but I am excited that it is something that I’ve been managing to publish and gain a readership for.

Hi, my name is Tobias Buckell, and I am Caribbean. And I’m an SF/F writer. I’m proud of both the genre I write in, and my identity.

74 thoughts on “What does it mean to be this Caribbean writer?

  1. “And now I have to read Tides. BTW- I really enjoyed The Duel- probably one of my favorite short stories of last year.”

    Thank you, I am so pleased you enjoyed it 🙂

    Merrie: thank you.

  2. wow, tobias, great post!

    to be honest, i place myself somewhat in a position of racial gatekeeper by virtue of the work i’ve done for the past several years.

    as lit editor of an asian american magazine, i actually had to fend off submissions from white males who had “spent a third of their lives in hong kong” (as adults, by choice, teaching english and dating asian chicks) so didn’t that make them “asian american”? or who had a russian great-grandfather who looked mongolian so that everyone joked that he was chinese, so didn’t that make them “asian american”?

    these men didn’t understand how important a magazine by asian ams for asian ams is, and their efforts to blur racial borders erected and patrolled specifically for their benefit is an insulting and disgusting instance of privilege.

    i know you, tobias, don’t need me to tell you this, but a lot of your commenters need to hear that other people of color-specific spaces on and off the internet were and are created specifically to counterbalance and counteract the whitecentricity of our american cultural institutions. and whether or not whites here believe it, a very, very common response to white guilt is to attempt to claim a nonwhite identity, however illegitimately.

    so i’m not going to jump on the bandwagon of all of these people here and say that i can’t believe that anyone would demand an accounting from you. under other circumstances, *i* might be the one demanding an accounting from you, although i’d probably accept almost any accounting you chose to give (aside from the third of your life spent teaching english in hong kong.)

    to be honest again: i’m annoyed by all the people commenting here to say that they can’t believe that anyone would question your identity. i can’t help thinking that these comments aren’t in support of you, tobias, at all, but rather are all about proving how open-minded the commenter is. it’s a little bit invalidating, when a writer writes about his experience, and the greek chorus sings, “i can’t believe that your experience is true because I I I I I I I I don’t feel that way! … and did i mention that I I I I I don’t feel that way?”

    frankly, not understanding why people question your identity, or not knowing THAT people would question your identity is proof positive of racial privilege: the one where a person’s racial identity is never questioned, the one where the identity a person feels and expresses is the same one others attribute to them.

    your essay above is about YOU and no one else, about that fact that you are what you are, despite what other people feel, think, need and desire, and they just have to deal with it, for better or worse.

    good for you for saying it out loud.

    your commenters need to know that your essay never was, and never will be, about them, or what they think, or feel, or need, or desire. you’ve opened up a can of worms here. it would be nice if people noticed they aren’t spaghettios.

  3. claire, “i can’t help thinking that these comments aren’t in support of you, tobias, at all, but rather are all about proving how open-minded the commenter is. it’s a little bit invalidating… ”

    Actually it’s from knowing Tobias. Those of us who know him (even the little that I do) find it incomprehensible that someone would question his identity, not that we don’t believe that some idiot did question him. So when the commentors above say, “they can’t believe it” we aren’t saying, “it didn’t happen” (I may have missed a comment, but I’m pretty sure about that). We’re just startled by the ass-hattery of the questioner. As John Scalzi said, anybody that knows him knows he walks the walk.

    As a gatekeeper for a specific topic magazine, I can see your reasons for making sure your contributors are “authentic” (if it is a part of your submission guidelines). Somehow I don’t believe the questions put to Tobias were in the same vein.

  4. I go to SGU, all those locales you enumerated (Grand Anse, Lance aux Epines) make me somewhat reminiscent (though I’ve only been away a matter of weeks).
    As far as the racial dimension: to me, race is irrelevant, as meaningless an indicator of individuality as the shape of your hair. I myself am half-Indian (half-Bengali, to be exact) and half-white. Now, I look white; most people guess, for whatever reason, that I’m “Eastern European” looking, whatever that means. I’ve met people of my specific ethnicity who also look white, and others who look completely Indian (i.e. brown). Most, however, have an olive-like complexion. In other words, skin colour is a completely arbitrary thing. Really, it’s not who your ancestors are that define you, it’s where you come from. And I think people in general may be starting to realize this; back in high school in Georgia, the “good ole’ boy” crowd was actually rather diverse, with at least one black, one Syrian, one Chinese, and several Indians among the whites. Were you to close your eyes and listen to these people speak, they’d have been indistinguishable.

  5. steve: you didn’t say anything that contradicted what i say. i’ve found–i’m multiracial, too, by the way, but can’t pass–that it’s the people who KNOW me who are the most anxious to prove to me that my race doesn’t matter to them.

    by the way, when you said above that asians can pass better than latinos? you make me laugh, and not in a good way. don’t confuse economic privilege with racial privilege. and try to notice that your one example is your transracial adoptee niece. if anyone would have a stake in proving that an asian can pass as white, it would be that asian’s TRANSRACIALLY ADOPTING FAMILY. i’m not saying you’re wrong, i’m just saying that if you’re wrong about your niece, you’d probably be the last one to know.

    just ask the white half of my family if i can pass. see what they say. it won’t be what i say, but they’ve never asked me to tell them what my experience is, nor listened when i tried to tell them. they’ve just made superficial observations and then told ME what to think. it’s amazing how often this happens.

  6. Actually, Claire, my niece feels isolated in her family, that she knows she is different from her parents. That was the point I was trying to make with that statement. When they were out to dinner once, there was an African-American family at the next table and my niece “racially identified” herself with that family, saying, “Look, Mommie, they’re like me.” I’m sorry if I confused you while making the same point you’re making.

    And I’ll have to diasagree with you, seeing racial relations from this end of the argument (the white/privileged side) Asians (east asians specifically) are accepted into white society easier. That doesn’t mean it’s easy being accepted nor does it mean that your viewpoint is validated. It also doesn’t mean that there isn’t a wide prejudicial streak in American White Society against Asians. Yes, it’s all based on stereo typing and perceived economic status. This, of course, may differ in different areas of the country and YMMV.

  7. As a biracial person with roots in the Caribbean I understand perfectly where you’re coming from. It is particularly annoying to have people question who you are, tell you who you are, and ignore what you have to say about the subject. But, as the Jamaican proverb has it, time langa dan rope.

  8. The US is an odd place racially. My son (a very shy kid to begin with) was shocked into silence (for about three months) when his Kindergarten teacher kept telling him he wasn’t black. This was news to him, as he has always self-identified as black. She kept telling him he was Asian. The implication being this was better. My kids are adopted as was I and our collective uncertainty about our past leads to awkward encounters in our present, but only in the US. Anywhere else in the world, my family does not have to “explain” itself. I wish I could understand it, I suspect it’s a form of institutional racism that won’t be going away anytime soon.

  9. I’m racially mixed only if you consider Celts, Slavs, and Teutons separate races. I follow the shadows all the way home every day, because even wearing sunscreen I get sick if I’m in the sun too much (vitamin D poisoning). As to complexion, I easily pass the “blood in the face” test.

    Being a “racially pure” white person (but wait, aren’t those Celts sort of…dirty?), I will ipso facto not live to see a world without any “racially pure” people in it, but that is the world I hope for. Perhaps I’ll be reborn into it. Three of my siblings have married, and not one of them married a Caucasian, so my family is part of the solution, at least for the next generation.

    Tobias, it’s just unbelievably stupid that anyone challenges your right to write about Caribbean characters! Even if you were a white white white guy as I (unfortunately) am, what’s next, telling me I can’t write about heterosexuals, or people who eat meat? And btw I’m not gay enough because I don’t go clubbing every night, use meth, and sleep with 365 different guys a year; I guess that means I can’t write about gay characters either.

    What a stupid species we are, by and large.

  10. Claire,

    Although my family is mostly standard Ohio Irish-English-German so many of my cousins have married other ethnic groups that our family reunion looks a like a mini-UN with Korean, Turkish, Dutch and Sicilian, Cuban and Native American, spouses, nieces and nephews running around. From what I can tell from my family’s experience it’s the ability to speak English, that made people fit into the family not, skin color, or nation of origin.

    I think this sort of mixed ethnicity extended family is becoming more and more common. I work weekends as an education volunteer at the Cincy Zoo and I’d say a good quarter to third of the families I have in my programs are ethnically mixed in one way or another, and there seem to be more of these sort of families every year. I have this gut feeling that much of the turmoil over people saying they are one race/ethnic group or another because there has been so much blurring of the borders that people see their ethnic heritage slipping away or getting diluted beyond recognition.

  11. Steve,
    I have a very good friend who lived in Asia for a number of years and later after having half a dozen miscarriages adopted a baby from China. The day she and her husband were leaving for China to pick-up their daughter she found out she was pregnant again, but was told she had no chance of carrying to term. Of course it turned out that she had a text-book no problem pregnancy and two little girls 18 months apart in age. Because of all the Asian influences in the household the biological daughter goes around telling people she’s going to be Chinese like her big sister when she grows up.

  12. mfitz,

    I have this gut feeling that much of the turmoil over people saying they are one race/ethnic group or another because there has been so much blurring of the borders that people see their ethnic heritage slipping away or getting diluted beyond recognition.

    i’m sorry but this is a simplistic view. you are assuming that people are feeling an “ethnic heritage”, rather than an identity. and yes, there really is a difference.

    i’m asian, but i’m not asian because of my millenia-old “heritage”. i’m asian because of who i am now, how i see myself and my contemporary culture (which is ever-evolving and has nothing to do with fan dances), and how other people, asian and nonasian, treat me. that’s identity, not heritage. my heritage slips away continuously, as does yours. it doesn’t cause me much anxiety because i am asian no matter what happens to my heritage. not everyone feels entirely this way. it’s a complex picture.

    i can’t speak at all for african americans, but from what i’ve observed, african americans have a very complex understanding of their identity. all af ams seem to be aware that their communities are profoundly multiracial–and not because of all the marrying out happening since the civil rights movement. the af am communities have ALWAYS been profoundly multiracial. i won’t elaborate on this; just think about it for a minute.

    af ams also seem to have, to a great extent, internalized the “one drop rule” imposed upon them, which means that anyone who is any part black may be considered all black. this rule is still restrictive, but it is more often than not used to create (and occasionally coerce–see “Tiger Woods”) solidarity, as well as to impose a sort of cultural orthodoxy that doesn’t really exist across all black american communities.

    af ams also seem to be very aware of class differences within their communities and will alternately highlight and obfuscate these as it tends to their advantage.

    boy they sure sound like every other race in this country, don’t they?

    in the case of black americans challenging a white-looking man who claims to be black–or a person of color–it might not be so much the heritage slipping away that people resent, as it is the dilution of their very real experience of oppression by someone they don’t believe has shared their oppression.

    in challenging such a person, all the issues i mentioned above are present: the awareness of historical multiraciality, the desire for a nonexistent community cultural orthodoxy, class resentments, etc. but they are present in fluctuating measure. the biggest fear is still that this person will complicate public understanding of the disadvantages of being black–and threaten the very few, hardwon advantages that might arise out of that public understanding.

    and this is a legitimate concern. someone like tobias DOES complicate the picture, and he is clearly (as evidenced by some of the comments above) someone that whites can use to “prove” their lack of racism without ever leaving their comfort zone. the only time tobias is really discomforting is when he insists on not being white … and then, that’s really kinda cool, as long as he still FEELS white enough.

    for many blacks, the complication that tobias offers is unacceptable, since it represents the contradiction between the one drop rule and an identity built on shared oppression.

    as a clearly multiracial person, i share in a certain amount of white privilege–more than “full” asian americans certainly. it reduces the amount of bullshit i have to deal with for being as am–or more accurately, it changes the nature of the bullshit i have to deal with for being asian, for not being asian, for looking asian but clearly not being asian, for having the audacity to not wear my identity clearly on my face.

    yes, i have problems that monoracials don’t have, but i also have privileges that they don’t have. a multiracial with african heritage who LOOKS white has a whole slew of OPIs (other people’s issues) to deal with, but he DOESN’T, in the day-to-day, have to worry about being stopped more often by the cops, being followed around a store, being denied a fair job interview or trial, being sexually ignored or disgustingly fetishized for his race, and having to listen to bad ebonics.

    people of color have to fight really really hard for the privileged world to recognize the various levels and complexities of their “oppressions”. to have someone claim a poc identity who looks like he doesn’t share that oppression threatens public recognition of it.

    so yeah, it’s complicated, and there are no comfortable places we can come down on this question. there’s no one single true answer. everyone will feel and react differently.

  13. I see your point, but think it’s a little abusrd to say that some sort of external blood quota should be what defines your ethnic identity not the culture you grew up with.

    I don’t know as much about the Black view on this as I do about the Native American. My husband is Appalachian, and part Cherokee. In the circle of his cousins, some trie to pretend this is not the case because they want the social the social sigma of being non-white. They get upset and dismissive when the whole issue comes up. Other family members have persued the legal connection hoping to give their kids an leg up trying for college scolarship money and things like that, but not done much else to become part of the culture. Others have moved to Cherokee communities, learned the language, and gotten very involved in trying to bring Native Culture back to their part of the country. My husband feels since he was not raised in the culture, and isn’t part of it now, it would be false to do the legal paperwork to be part of the tribe, but he has tried to educate himself about the culture, and does nothing to try to cover up the connection. (Interestingly he looks far more native than the relitives who are completely into native culture.)

    I know that you are judged by how you look and that pure biology. My sister-in-law, who looks very native, lived in Alaska for several years in and area with large numbers of native people, and it was interesting to see how differently she was treated than the rest of us when we were out doing tourist stuff. But, personaly identiy is all about how you were raised not what your genes are and it’s this identity that shapes your creative and artisitc output. So, if you think of yourself as part of culture X that’s going to shape your creative output no matter what culture outsiders think you should belong to.

    I think you would be artisticly dishonest if you tried to write from a starting point someone else thought you should have based on your external looks, rather than the natural outlook that evolved from your up bringing. From the point of view of someone who’s tried to write fiction I think it would be almost impossible.

  14. OMG! There’s Caribbean scifi novels? Gimme!!!

    Hi there Tobias.:):)

    I’m a Trini, resident in the UK since aged 3, with the usual rainbow coloured Caribbean family (most look African,some look Chinese, some look Indian, some look white etc) and some Grenadian ancestry (grandmother- hey, we could be cousins!) and I’ve visited your island more than once. Great place to grow up in. I envy you, and recall that fabulous Grand Anse beach. Caribbean people are fitted into racial straight jackets, including those who look 100% African like myself. That’s because people who arent from there are totally unaware of the racial/ethnic mix of the islands and how it reaches into most families. And how it varies from island to island…

    Honestly?I wouldnt let the whole get to you at all. Why not just decribe yourself as Grenadian? Let others get their heads around the ‘what race is he?’ nonsense.

    Im real excited that you’re a scifi writer, because there’s not enough of us doing it and Im in the process of struggling with 4 novels in various stages of development, trying to organically include culture, language, food,religion, folklore from our part of the world in it. To make it flow naturally in work set far far in the future. So, kudos to you if you’ve managed it.
    Are your books available in the UK? I’ll check out bookstores where I live in London, and look on line.I’d like to get to attend Clarion. Any tips?

    Virtual hugs,

    Yinka
    PS which is the other island you regard as home?

  15. I self-identify as white, but I’ve come to discover that’s not as true as I’ve been led to believe. I don’t have any Native American background, but there are some interesting population migrations in my past.

    White skin is a mutation, where we needed to let in more ultraviolet to absorb Vitamin D and evolved rather than succumb to rickets and other deficiencies, including osteoporosis and some cancers.

  16. I see your point, but think it’s a little abusrd to say that some sort of external blood quota should be what defines your ethnic identity not the culture you grew up with.

    That’s what you got out of my comment? yikes. Since I’m obviously not capable of expressing myself clearly, I won’t bother to clarify.

  17. Tobias,

    I loved reading this. I’m of pretty mixed Caribbean ancestry myself – my father is from Trinidad and my mother’s family was from Barbados. I’m American-grown but spent several summers down in Trini (my parents got divorced when I was young). Now, I’ve lived a good bit in Europe. I married a Scot, actually, and have two dual passport carrying kids. I take great pride in all of that, and I appreciate your taking the time to put your story out there as you have. The future is ours as much as it’s anybody else’s, maybe more in some ways.

    I also love it that you’re “Reading and Enjoying” Acacia. Let me know how you like it by the end.

    Best,

    David.

  18. I remember reading The Fish Merchant on the web years ago and immediately being affected by it, and directing everyone to it. I hadn’t properly remembered your name, and it was a great surprise to read this and realise, Ah, *he* wrote that Chinese/fisherman/first contact story!

  19. “Since I’m obviously not capable of expressing myself clearly, I won’t bother to clarify.”

    Might just be me, I often have days when I can’t seem to get the most basic info across to my co-workers and I wonder if everyone else switched languages on me while I was sleeping.

  20. Me again, many days late, always many dollars short. From reading people’s responses to your comments (thank you, Claire and Victor!), I get the feeling that some are presuming that it’s black people questioning your degree of blackness. And I’m quite sure that some of us are that ill-informed. But from talking to you and from my own experience, I suspect that it’s mostly non-black people. More I probably could say on that, but it’s time for me to get back to work.

  21. Hi,

    I just read this for the first time. As a Caribbean writer who has only one published short to her name at Abyss and Apex, and who came through the OWW, you are an inspiration to me.

    Oh, and although I’m from Trinidad, my grandparents and most of my family on my mother’s side are from Grenada too 🙂 I have family in Lance Aux Pines, St. Davids and many other places. It was fun realising we knew the same places and had grown up in them too.

    I hope that no one’s on you about this anymore. As a ‘red woman’, I know how it feels to not quite be accepted. But they know not of what they speak, so rock on!

    R S Garcia

  22. Hey I just discovered you, Tobias after getting a copy of Crystal Rain from the Tor promotion. I was somewhat amazed to see the Caribbean influence in it and to say I was happy would be an understatement. I just had to Google you to find out more – if you really knew what you were writing about or if you were a pretender.

    I’m glad to find that you aren’t, bossman!

    I’m from the Caribbean as well, Barbados, in fact, and even though I have met other Caribbean authors such as Austin Clarke, I never realised that there were good, published (from a major publishing house like Tor) Sci-fic/Fantasy writers from the region!

    I’m working on my first novel now and I was always wondering how best I could incorporate Bajan and Caribbean life into the characters and the plot. I really want to do my people and my region justice. So like I said, I’m glad I came across your book. And I definitely will get a hold of ‘Ragamuffin’. I mean, how could I not? Man, the name itself reminds me of some calypso from Red Plastic Bag!

    I write in these genres as well and I just want to congratulate you on your success, man. It really makes me feel good when folk from the region succeed in their endeavours. I don’t think there’s anyone in the Caribbean without a little mixed blood in them so don’t be bothered about being black, red or white, if you’re a Caribbean man, that’s all that matters.

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