Writers of fantasy and science fiction know that there are certain leaps they can take into the unknown or impossible and their readers will leap with them. Disregard gravity or the speed of light and you might get somewhere fast, but set it among people who have recently come down from a tree and it's best not to give them chromium spaceships to do it. Works of science fiction and fantasy are created with their own internal rules and regulations and a writer who can't obey his or her own direction is not going to suspend disbelief and direct the readers to the next page. http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wskg/local-wskg-711377.mp3
The great appeal of fantasy in our times may partly be due to the rewards in leaving the constrictions of the everyday for Harry Potter's Hogwarts or the wonders of Tolkien's Middle-earth. For the truly adventurous there is the teeming, troubled city-state of Amenkor and the conflicts fought out in the Throne of Amenkor trilogy by Joshua Palamatier.
During the era of apartheid in South Africa the dominant white minority tried to restrict the black majority (80% of the population) to life in inferior "bantustans", remote from the cities. Those who needed to enter the white areas could be issued a pass, although blacks who might have been employed as servants or in other menial positions might stay longer under the employer's protection. Later, all blacks were required to carry an identification book. Police might regularly raid black settlements around the cities in search of persons living there illegally. http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/national/local-national-799771.mp3
Black South Africans were able to settle in the sprawling and mostly ramshackle townships south-west of Johannesburg, known as Soweto.
Kathye Arrington makes mudcloth paintings, and her exhibit has been extended through March 31, 2008 at the Phelps Mansion Museum in downtown Binghamton. Also this week, we have video excerpts from the Operalog Opera Preview of Carmen, performed by members of the cast of Tri-Cities Opera's recent production at the Forum in Binghamton. Among other selections, see and hear Canadian mezzo-soprano Julie Nesrallah sing Carmen's signature aria, Habanera. And for Valentine's Day, harpist Melissa Collins performs.
A novel about a woman who is determined to pursue her dreams despite the expected and unexpected obstacles can be inspiring. Then bring forth a protagonist like Misha Gaffney - headstrong, emotional, intelligent and caring - and the reader is likely to pull for her through setbacks from sexism, physical danger and just plain nastiness. Add romantic interest and exotic settings and the story becomes even more appealing. "The Watering Hole" is a story of a woman who loves to be around airplanes - "nourished by the smell of jet fuel" - and who advances from a lowly job with an international airline to become one of their first female management trainees, a process that puts her through vindictive military-like training and field experience in some of the foreign airports seemingly selected for their slovenliness. Misha's story moves from New York, where she has just split from a cold marriage, through London, Bombay, Nairobi, Sri Lanka, Johannesburg and even Alaska.