Light From Uncommon Stars. My forthcoming novel and musings from a quiet summer Pt. 1


Books and Publications / Tuesday, August 25th, 2020

I’ve been more than a little quiet this summer. But much of that has been for a book that I’m very excited about, my forthcoming novel, Light From Uncommon Stars. If all goes well, it should be out by Fall 2021. The publisher is Tor Books.

Not in a million years would I have guessed that I would have landed at Tor Books, “the world’s most successful science fiction and fantasy publisher.” But, when I think about where my writing comes from, and where I want to take it, I realize that yet again the universe flexes on me, shows that it knows far better than I do.

My novel, He Mele a Hilo, explored the magical realism of Hawai’i, and to an extent, fantastical. Yet I always thought my work, at its core was not about “over there,” but about here, now.

Growing up in my home, finding myself as queer and transgender, and, well, being an adjunct professor left me with little time to dream of how things might be. Instead I was constantly assessing, monitoring, working toward things that can be. What do I have to work with? Where can I go? How can I live another day, another year, another life?

Some of you might know that I had a story included in Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy from Transgender Writers, Topside Press (2017). In my story, “The Gift,” I wanted to show how much better our world could be–right here, right now–if could envision ourselves acting way. I think sometimes what I find most disturbing about prejudice and bigotry in all its forms is not the hated, but the lack of faith and imagination. When people do not believe they can survive a paradigm shift, that only their unvarying way of life protects them–this is not merely dangerous, it’s truly sad.

How is it be unable to imagine being better than you were yesterday? To not imagine being surprised, changed, expanded…and have it all start over again tomorrow?  To lack the faith that you, by being you, and all of us, by being all of us, are up to the task of being wrong every day, to love ourselves (and BE loved) every day, to learn every day, and look forward to tomorrow, every day?

And there, I realized that I too, was wrong. Why shouldn’t my work fit in with a press like Tor? My work lives in the speculative. I am constantly asking what if. What would happen if we were nicer to each other, found a mentor, had a chance to recover and redeem. Or just found a chance to say I love you? How is that world any more speculative that any other? <3

So, yes. Here I am, working very hard on getting this book right and ready to share. There will be spaceships. And demons. And donuts. And queer families. And violins. And a lot of gaming and Star Trek references. And an homage to Stargate and Williams Electronics.

more to come. <3 Ryka