- After Five
- Special Issue: Warrior of the Wind Launch!
Special Issue: Warrior of the Wind Launch!
Tonight @ Bakka-Phoenix, Toronto, 6:30PM
Dehje, friends new and old. Today’s letter is a special issue with no fluff. Give me 10-ish minutes of your time, will you?
(If you’d like to ask more questions about anything you see in this letter, come by our water cooler AKA our private Discord and do so!)
As I write to you this morning, I’m on the train to Toronto, to attend the launch of Warrior of the Wind at Bakka-Phoenix, the oldest SFF bookstore in North America (big shout out to the publicity director at Hachette Canada, Dominique Delmas, for putting this together). Everything is finally over—two years of writing, revisions, countless edits, a publicity train and preorder campaigns. A day that once felt like forever in the future is finally here.
I’m excited, naturally. I get to meet a bunch of SFF-loving Torontonians on their own turf, as well as chat with some folks I haven’t seen in years (one of them being Chinelo Onwualu, who published one of my first ever stories in Omenana magazine, and who I’ll be in conversation with this evening). Also, I’m looking forward to my favourite thing that happens each time I visit a new city for a book event: running into someone who asks, “Why do you write speculative fiction? Why not write about real stuff?”
Gets me every time, this question. If only one would read the story (or pretty much any of my stories, really) and look up from the page after, around them, it’ll be so easy to see the kinds of things spoken about happening in the real world. “Politics” and “war” are literally two things raging in the news media right now, and The Nameless Republic tackles them in great detail (to the point that readers are begging me to include more “action scenes”, haha).
(Another question I was asked recently by someone: “Why don’t you publicly take a stand with regards to the ongoing genocide in Palestine?” My answer is the same each time: If you’ve read anything I’ve written—like, say, “The Fantasy of Warfare” or “Choose Your Own Privilege”—you would know. Barring any kind of cognitive dissonance—which I admit, is rampant, particularly in this information age of propaganda and virtual personas—I can’t see why I, a child of a former imperial colony and witness to decades of brutality by both authoritarian and occupation forces would ever say, “Hmm, murdering innocent people for nationalistic and hegemonic purposes sounds right.” I insist on living a life beyond social media, which is why you’ll barely see me posting non-author stuff these days. IRL, however, I’ve spent as much time as I can afford attending anti-genocide protests at Ottawa’s parliament hill, and supporting as many close friends as I can—now, but also in the past. My answer to this person, therefore, is that I try my best not to live by news cycles.)
All this to say that launching a book is a tortuous affair, swinging from the highest highs to the most confusing middling conceits. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.
Welcome to the world, Warrior of the Wind. And to those of you who’ve stuck with me through this series: thank you. There is more good yet to come.
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Endnotes from Oon: 30 songs to read Warrior of the Wind to
As part of the launch day festivities, in usual tradition, I have released the Warrior of the Wind playlist of 30 songs. They capture both the moment in time in which I wrote and revised this book, as well as the general feel of the work. As stated in the linked post, here are my top 5:
Sixteen Tons – Jerry Reed: If, like me, you’re familiar with Apple TV’s The Morning Show (which I started watching while writing this novel), you may recognize this song from S02, E08. In this Jerry Reed iteration (the original song was by Merle Travis in 1946), an upbeat coal miner sings: “You load 16 tons, what do you get? / Another day older and deeper in debt / I owe my soul to the company store,” which pretty much captures the state Lilong & co find themselves in at the start of the novel, indebted to their rescuers. It truly embodies the idea that even liberation efforts are not free from the long arm of the capitalist. So, clearly, this became my “capitalism is evil” track.
Uptown Funk – Vitamin String Quartet: Couldn’t name a better “heist” track. The staccatto violins move at just the right pace, and it all feels very espionage-y in a James-Bond-y way. VSQ (of Bridgerton fame) really know how to make their strings do the work.
Brisa – IZA: This is my “quest/journey” track. Iza sings in Portuguese: “Eu tô na brisa / E nada me abala” which translates to “I'm in the breeze / Nothing shakes me” which captures, for me, the feeling of a traveler meeting a world bigger than they are, just like our fugitives moving through the Savanna Belt do. This is a departure from the string ensemble quest music prevalent in dominant culture, and I like the idea of enjoying the journey despite the dangers that loom.
Water – Naïka: The third quarter of this tracklist is occupied by water-themed songs, mirroring the tail end of the novel, which [no spoiler] spends time in water-adjacent spaces. Of these songs, I most like Naïka’s because it’s a praise song of sorts, carrying the energetic spirit of those who most closely associate themselves with (and therefore appreciate) the energy of water. This is my “water” track.
Egedege – Larry Gaaga, Theresa Onuorah, Flavour, Phyno, Pete Edochie: This, I imagine to be my “end credits” track. If you’ve ever seen any Nigerian/Nollywood film, you’ll know why—this song just makes sense. It’s really a celebration of Igbo language and culture, via the praise of the ijele dance (the crooner, Theresa Onuorah, opens the chorus with: Ijele eruwegonu muna onye ga agba egwu eh? = It’s almost time for the ijele dance; who will I dance with?). But of course, the song is more than that: the mix of oldie and new afrobeat rhythms, Flavour’s cheeky pronouncements (ị na-eme guy, achọrọ m ịma? = You’re playing hard to get; does it look like I care?), Phyno’s rap bars (Kasala pass m aka, just malu na alert ama ada = If the problem passes & I don’t solve it, just know that you won’t get a credit alert), and Pete Edochie’s aphorisms (Mma onye nwee ka oji ana aka = What you have is what you flaunt).
Where to find me in the coming weeks
If you’d like to ask a question that’ll be featured in a future letter and answered in an essay, you can drop your question in our private Discord channel. Feel free to share this letter with a friend who may find it useful. See you at the next go-around! —Suyi.