Karen Lord and Tobias Buckell’s “The Mighty Slinger”

New Worlds, Old Ways: Speculative Tales from the Caribbean
New Worlds, Old Ways: Speculative Tales from the Caribbean

Q: Tell us about your story in Bridging Infinity?

We wanted to tell an unapologetically Caribbean story, no explanations, no watering-down. People from small nations often travel far for work and get overlooked by large corporate and political interests. We made them the heroes that saved and mended our broken, used-up Earth when no-one else was willing to give it a chance.

Q: What was the inspiration behind your story?

A little bit of history, a little bit of now. There’s a hint of the building of the Panama Canal in there (many West Indians were part of that), and the tradition of sociopolitical commentary in kaiso goes back for generations and remains strong.

And the in-crowd knows that The Mighty Sparrow’s real name is Slinger Francisco. Our protagonist’s name is a nod to that. The people who travel to labor bring their memories and culture with them, so we wanted to show a future where diaspora continued and how vibrant it was.

Q: What do you believe makes a good science fiction story?

A good science fiction story isn’t so much the extrapolation, but the part where it holds up a mirror to a very important part of us that exists right now.

Q:  What are you working on now? And if people like your story in the book, what other work of yours should they seek out?

Read more Caribbean SF! The anthology New Worlds, Old Ways: Speculative Tales from the Caribbean (edited by Karen Lord) is already out in the UK and will be released in the US very soon, in mid-November. Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review, so we’re not being biased when we say it’s brilliant!

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