Q&A with Stefan Spjut

SpjutS-AuthorPicWhat inspired you to write a book about the stallo people and how did the idea for Stallo originate?

I didn’t set out to write a book about the stallo people, I more or less stumbled across their mythological footprints when expanding my troll story geographically. What is a troll? It’s a makeshift denomination for an elusive, mischievous supernatural being, originating from the stories of our oral tradition, therefore pertaining a certain degree of authenticity. In the sami culture of old, such beings, roaming the borders of reality, were referred to as stallo, or stallú, which is a sami word of obscure origin. Maybe it means steel, maybe it doesn’t – the etymological obscurity contributes to the sense of mystery. So the troll and the stallo are essentially the same. It’s obviously part of my literary method to adumbrate a hidden connection like that. The idea popped up when I moved a lawn and happened to find out where or rather how the troll was hiding. All these long years it was hiding in our domestic fauna, under my very nose. Hidden, however, is not forgotten. Continue reading

Review: FALLING IN LOVE WITH HOMINIDS by Nalo Hopkinson (Tachyon)

HopkinsonN-FallingInLoveWithHominidsA new anthology of short stories

Nalo Hopkinson (Brown Girl in the Ring, Skin Folk) has been widely hailed as a highly significant voice in Caribbean and American fiction. She has been dubbed “one of our most important writers,” (Junot Diaz), with “an imagination that most of us would kill for” (Los Angeles Times), and her work has been called “stunning,” (New York Times) “rich in voice, humor, and dazzling imagery” (Kirkus), and “simply triumphant” (Dorothy Allison).

Falling in Love with Hominids presents more than a dozen years of Hopkinson’s new, uncollected fiction, much of which has been unavailable in print, including one original story. Her singular, vivid tales, which mix the modern with Afro-Carribean folklore, are occupied by creatures unpredictable and strange: chickens that breathe fire, adults who eat children, and spirits that haunt shopping malls.

Reviewed by Ryan Frye

I typically read short fiction for one of two reasons, either it’s an author whom I love, and I’ve devoured everything else of theirs so I dig into their short-form stuff, or it’s an author whom I’ve never read before and I want to sample their work without trying to pick out a full-length book to start with. The latter was the case with Nalo Hopkinson’s Falling in Love with Hominids. Hopkinson is an author who’s been on my radar for a while now, so when the opportunity came along to check out her yet-to-be-released short fiction collection I jumped at the chance. Continue reading