Shoreline of Infinity 18 Opinion

I was recently published in Shoreline of Infinity 18. I finally got around to reading the stories and essays and they’re amazing! We’re all running around selling diversity these days, and this anthology really nails it. I’m largely involved in the African Speculative Fiction scene, but issue 18 of Shoreline was a BAME (black and minority ethnic) issue. This allowed me to branch my reading out further as I’ve been dying to get into more Asian Speculative Fiction.

We have stories from writers of Malaysian, Jamaican, Indian, Sri Lankan, and Nigerian descent. I enjoyed all the short stories, though I have two picks.

  • Odette by Zen Cho: A lovely horror short with the ever ominous presence of Uncle Andrew. Much to my horror preferences the supernatural elements link to trauma. It’s a familiar tale: ill-tempered Uncle feels sense of ownership over a young person since they’ve provided for them, and has razor sharp claws of passive-aggressive condescension, because why? Because I own you bitch! Excuse my french. This tale’s themes reminded me a lot about similar themes you see in African Speculative Fiction from the younger generation. Difficulties with family accepting you for who you are, accepting your career paths, accepting you’re not useless just because you’re over 25 five and you don’t have a decent job, family, house, oh and gasp, you’re not a good Christian. Woe is me, how can you not believe in the big colonial white guy living in the sky, you heathen! Speculative Fiction seems to be the way many of us are processing these domestic traumas, and this short does it specifically well.
  • Perumal and the God of Words by Prashanth Srivatsa: The power of language. This story revolves around language in a fantastical setting. Words of invocation are a common staple of fantasy narratives, but the usage here really stands out. I’m not too clued up on Tamil vs Hindi cleavages, but being South African I’m all to familiar with cleavages. And yes, I am talking about boobs and not the political kind. I’m also familiar with fears around language loss vs dominance. I’m not particularly sure how stories like this read to readers who don’t confront these kinds of issues daily, but this one certainly hit home for me. Mobs lining the street on a witch hunt for people who are ‘different’ to them. Being able to insulate themselves from the mob simply by changing language, as you probably look similar, and have a shared heritage that was butchered at some time or another. For me, that kind of setting was all to familiar, and held a strong emotional resonance. The fantasy element is deftly woven into the fracas in a way I’m sure many will appreciate.

Apart from the fiction, I recommend reading Stepping Through the Portal, the chat between guest editors Tendai Huchu and Raman Mundair. There are many fascinating tidbits on the diversity of Speculative Fiction and the difficulty in editing diversity. My experience has certainly been trying to retain South Africanisms in my short fiction, even when it reduces your chances of getting published in certain places. This conversation broadens these experiences, with every country having it’s own idiosyncrasies in culture and language that Western editors often interpret incorrectly as unrealistic or incorrect. Tendai even touches on his own possible mistakes in interpreting Asian stories, while editing Shoreline of Infinity 18. This humble attitude to editing is exactly what is needed when editing a diverse lineup.

There are some great essays as well. The Danger of Expectation in African Fiction was great, but there was not much in it that I didn’t know, or haven’t experienced. If however, you’re not particularly clued up on the recent history of African publishing, and the difficulties we face on the continent you might find it informative. If you’ve picked up the the undercurrent of rage and despondency towards non-fiction from young African fiction writers, this also might explain a lot to you. There are a lot of archaic confines many of us are actively raging against, like the still existing, embarrassing, and extremely condescending concept that Africans only read non-fiction, and can’t fathom fiction, let alone Speculative Fiction. This misconception is often propagated by Africans themselves no less. Ludicrous!

Finally, and another personal favorite as I’m rather ignorant to the scene, is The History of Japanese Science Fiction: from the 1930s to the 2010s. I’ve already made a long list of (and purchased, ha!) a number of works I uncovered through this essay. I’m a bit of an anime and manga fan, so learning a bit more about the rich history of Japanese prose Speculative Fiction was really exciting for me.

Admittedly I didn’t go through the reviews, as I like to cold read stuff, so I tend to stay away from reviews until after the fact. I also won’t comment on the poetry section as I’m in it, and that would be kind of weird. But for the short fiction and essays alone, Shoreline of Infinity 18 comes highly recommended.

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Today’s Episode of “Fuck These Platforms. Let’s Just Blog About Ourselves Bro!”

What’s been keeping me up at night? We unhealthily compartmentalize the world burning of course. So other than the end of humanity as we know it, what else?

The abundance of indie/small pub/small label music and writing there is. In this crazy information age you find yourself constantly drowning. There’s good drowning and there’s bad drowning. The abundance of amazing art drowning tends towards the good I rate.

I posted about African Speculative Fiction earlier in the year. Keeping that line of thought, I’ve purchased and am excited to read Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and The African Diaspora, Stephen Embleton’s Soul Searching , and I’ve been eying Mia Arderne’s Mermaid Fillet rather greedily. That sound’s gross somehow. The new issue of Omenana is coming in October, and the line up looks great! Also, I’m in it! Sorry, nobody has marketing budgets anymore, ok! We’re all our own promoters down here, in this grimdark rabbit hole.

On the music end, this weird thing’s been happening over the last couple of years where I’ve been interacting (on the internet haha, still don’t leave the house) with a lot of South African producers over the last couple of years. It’s a very surreal experience really. This all seemed to get rolling when I left Cape Town somehow. My cousin asked me the other day how I like rural life, and I told him it agrees with me. I told him I’ve somehow, very ironically, been networking more. The irony being, when I was right in the CBD and had access to everyone and everything, the madness of living in the CBD left me so mentally exhausted, I never had the energy to deal with people anyway. In person or online.

Somehow, now that my headspace is clearer I’m a bit more friendly. On the internet at least, can’t say much about phonecalls.  I’ve been engaging with South Africa’s producer scene a bit more, and have been finding amazing talent, and amazing music.  Seventhgaze, another South African talent, put together a really diverse list of South African music. This list isn’t just producers. It runs the gamut right up to our vibrant jazz scene.

Here’s the list:

I can’t vouch for everything on here, as I haven’t listened to all of it. My intention is to go down the list, check out the stuff I don’t know, see what tickles my fancy. However, some projects or artists I’m familiar with.

I’m a huge Reza Khota fan, and his latest Liminal, is a phenomenal record. Also caught his quartet live when they were trying the songs out, so obviously it has sentimental value too. But it’s amazing. A journey. Find some time, sit down, and just listen to that album. The album art is also amazing!

I’m not too familiar with Asher Gamedze, but Buddy Wells (also on Liminal) plays sax on the album recommended on the list, and posted about it, so I’ll just assume it’s good. Blind buy good I’m assuming. (Update: I’m listening to it while writing this. It’s fucking good, what did I say!?)

Keenan Ahrends is on there. Not familiar with the project on the list, but I own his Narrative album, which is good, Nick William killing the keys like a mofo. So yeah, I’ll just assume that’s good too.

Tune Recreation Committee is one of Mandla Mlangeni’s bands, and you generally can’t go wrong there either. I have the previous album, Voices of Our Vision and its good. Good good!

The Brother Moves On is on there. Another local great! Amazing live shows! I’ve seen them play with Shabaka Hutchings whom they collaborate with frequently. So that album is a definite want as well.

I’m on there, lol. Next to some of my favorite people, which is sick! And weird…

That’s about all the stuff I know know, and honestly it’s mostly the jazz stuff. Specifically I’m saying I’ve delved into those catalogs, seen them live a bunch of times, that kind of thing. So this isn’t some kind of ranking system. I’m aware of a lot of the names on the list, and I can assure you there’s a lot of talent to go around, depending on your personal tastes. So if you’re not necessarily a jazz fan boy like myself, I recommend going down the list according to your own genre preferences. I’m sure you’ll find something you like!

The African Speculative Fiction StoryBundle curated by Ivor W. Hartmann

Hey everyone! Here’s a press release regarding the latest African Speculative Fiction bundle curated by Ivor Hartmann. Its pretty much a great list of Speculative Fiction by Africans at a steal. I own four of these works, and regularly read Omenana, so I highly recommend it, especially at the price. You can get the rest of the information below, from a press release provided by Ivor himself. Also, proceeds go to the hardworking folk at the African Speculative Fiction Society!


All Covers Large

The African Speculative Fiction StoryBundle curated by Ivor W. Hartmann

Welcome to the African Speculative Fiction Bundle!

This is the most comprehensive collection of African speculative fiction authors ever assembled. With the complete bundle containing nearly 100 authors and over 145 works it stands both as an excellent introduction to the rapidly evolving canon of African SF and a unique one-time collection of their works. From established stars you might know such as Nnedi Okorafor, Tade Thompson, and Sarah Lotz, to upcomers like Wole Talabi, Chinelo Onwualu, Nerine Dorman, Dilman Dila, and so many more.

The bundle starts in 2012 with the first AfroSF and goes right through to 2020 with the first special edition anthology from Omenana magazine, providing a healthy cross-section of African SF over eight years and in some cases the development of individual authors from their first publication onwards. And it is precisely for these reasons I have selected anthologies over novels in this inaugural bundle so as to better represent the full scale of African SF, though you will find too the bonus individual collections Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor and A Killing in the Sun by Dilman Dila.

The road to this bundle has been paved by the work of countless African writers, editors, publishers, and most importantly readers. For too long was the African experience, imagination, and insight, held captive and until relatively recently only glimpsed through the thick lens of other cultures and their inherent biases. In a big way this is what the new wave of African Speculative Fiction is about: telling our own stories, revealing our vibrant cultures from within, sharing our unique perspectives, and writing ourselves into futures that for so long seemed to spell our doom by virtue of our absence.

Indeed, our progress over just the last eight years has been phenomenal. We have not only won international awards like Arthur C. Clarke, World Fantasy, and Nebula, etc., but gone on to create our own like the Nommos now in its fourth year, the SSDA Award now in its eight year. African publishers such as Jalada Africa, Seven Hills Media, StoryTime, Short Story Day Africa, DADA books, Pan African Publishers, and Black Letter Media, all of whom contributed to make this bundle, have actively encouraged and published more speculative fiction than ever before, and we have only just begun.

In this vein, the charity giving chosen for this bundle is the African Speculative Fiction Society, to help with the tireless unpaid work of this collective NPO. The ASFS was formed in 2016 and primarily at present is focused on the Nommo awards. The awards are nominated and voted upon by ASFS members for excellence in four Speculative Fiction categories. The importance of these independent awards and the ASFS as a part of building a robust and diverse homegrown African SF canon cannot be overstated nor underestimated.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I trust you will enjoy all the works in this bundle as much as we did in writing and publishing them for you. I hope you will be introduced to new authors to look out for, new ideas about the world from our perspectives, and see an inclusive future that proves we are so much stronger together than we can ever be apart, especially in these trying times and the times still ahead.

A massive big thanks goes out to all the authors, editors, and publishers, who made this possible, and especially Jason Chen of Storybundle for giving us this chance to present our works to you. – Ivor W. Hartmann

* * *

For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you’re feeling generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of four books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE.


  • AfroSFv1 edited by Ivor W. Hartmann
  • Lagos_2060 edited by Ayodele Arigbabu
  • Terra Incognita by Nerine Dorman
  • Jalada 2: AfroFuture(s) by Jalada Africa



If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all four of the regular books, plus six more more books, for a total of ten! That’s a total of five StoryBundle exclusives!


  • A Killing in the Sun by Dilman Dila
  • Kabu-Kabu Stories by Nnedi Okorafor
  • AfroSFv2 edited by Ivor W. Hartmann
  • AfroSFv3 edited by Ivor W. Hartmann
  • Omenana to Infinity by Omenana
  • Imagine Africa 500 edited by Billy Kahora



This bundle is available only for a limited time via It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub, .mobi) for all books!

It’s also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.

Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.

  • Get quality reads: We’ve chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.
  • Pay what you want (minimum $5): You decide how much these fantastic books are worth. If you can only spare a little, that’s fine! You’ll still get access to a batch of exceptional titles.
  • Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their catalog. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there’s nothing wrong with ditching DRM.
  • Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to the African Speculative Fiction Society!
  • Receive extra books: If you beat the bonus price, you’ll get the bonus books!

StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for and

For more information, visit our website at, tweet us at @storybundle and like us on Facebook. For press inquiries, please email

African Spec Fic I’ve Been Enjoying

I’ve been reading a whole bunch (SNAFU), though mostly African Speculative Fiction as it’s Nommo Nomination period. If you’re unsure what Speculative Fiction is, or want to know more about the Nommo awards for African Speculative Fiction, head here: .

For this post, I just want to jump right in. As of writing, the period is pretty much over, and we’ll be moving to the voting stage. You can get updates at the African Speculative Fiction Society’s Facebook page:

A Spy In Time – Imraan Coovadia (Novel) : A great novel. It’s a mash of time travel and a spy thriller, but written with a ‘literary’ bent. It reads easily and has a number of interesting ideas within. Most interesting to me were time travel and race. Much of the novel grapples with how we might morally judge humanity in the past and present according to our current racial prejudices. It also has an interesting take on the multiverse, and the moral conundrums of racially a charged species such as ours learning how to freely move through the multiverse.

When We Dream We Are Our God – Wole Talabi (Short Story) : Ahhhh, where to begin? I can’t say much about this gem, but if you’re intrigued by AI and the possibility of human hive mind via technology, then this is for you! The story is quite utopian which I really enjoyed that on paper. Since we literally live in dystopian times, it was fresh narratively. In reality though, there’s not enough money on this planet that would make me to willingly hive mind with you crazy fucks! I’ve seen y’all on twitter,  and no thanks! But seriously, read this short story.

The Border Keeper – Kerstin Hall (Novella) : I thoroughly enjoyed this novella. Two of my soft spots are non-traditional fantasy elements and excellent prose. This novella has both. If I were to identify a fantastical trope, it would be heaven vs hell, angels vs demons, but that is more the bare bones. The world building around it is still rather unique, so it doesn’t feel like a run of the mill angels vs demons type universe. The plot twists and turns quite a lot, perhaps too much at times, so I don’t want to give away too much about that. I don’t want to give away too much about the universe either, as the unique world building is part of the fun, so I’ll just leave the official blurb here.

“Vasethe, a man with a troubled past, comes to seek a favor from a woman who is not what she seems, and must enter the nine hundred and ninety-nine realms of Mkalis, the world of spirits, where gods and demons wage endless war.”

The Cure – Tariro Ndoro (Short Story) : So again, all bias here, but this a whimsical little urban fantasy tale that also hit my soft spots. It’s set in South Africa (check!), but its not bogged down with over explanations, and language translations (check!). So the prose is nice and fluid. Shout out to the author and editors for that. It covers some great themes, like being an outcast, living in the city, and every South African’s favorite topic of choice after Coronavirus, crime. I mean, it seems silly at this stage of regularly reading African Spec Fic, but enjoying a fantastical short set in a place like Joburg, still really hits the spot!

Tends to Zero – Wole Talabi : Cheated with this one. Said I wasn’t going to read it, as Wole is already on this list, but curiosity got the better of me. The short is fucking brilliant! It’s a dark emotional tale, with themes of mental turmoil, which is my bread and butter I guess. It also plays with the age old trope in weird fiction of cities, and if they manifested themselves in some supernatural/fantastical form. The city in question here is Lagos. It reminded me a bit of a short I published in the Kalahari Review, also dealing with cities manifesting themselves.