New Barbadian Fantasy: “And Sometimes They Fly” by Robert Edison Sandiford

And Sometimes They Fly expands on Robert Edison Sandiford’s tradition of telling “real stories about the Caribbean,” often by way of Canada. As enchanted by the legends of the Diaspora’s folklore as Nalo Hopkinson, as curious about the nature of human courage as C.S. Lewis, his first novel is a comic-book-flavoured quest story that asks: How are heroes and villains defined in a post-9/11 world? What role is there for the global citizen when the Super Powers fail to serve and protect? Robert’s extraordinary characters leave the reader wondering about the choices they make right up to the novel’s final chapter. The book’s Barbadian leg is expected to be available in time for Anime Kon 2013 at the end of August later this year…

Robert Edison Sandiford is the author of three short story collections, Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall (1995) and The Tree of Youth (2005) and Intimacy 101: Rooms & Suites (2013); the graphic novels Attractive Forces (1997), Stray Moonbeams (2002) and Great Moves (2010); a travel memoir, Sand for Snow: A Caribbean-Canadian Chronicle (2003); and edited with Linda M. Deane (in background) Shouts from the Outfield: The ArtsEtc Cricket Anthology (2007).  He is a founding editor of ArtsEtc: The Premier Cultural Guide to Barbados (artsetcbarbados.com), and has worked as a journalist, book publisher, video producer with Warm Water Productions, and teacher.  He has won awards for both his writing and editing, including Barbados’ Governor General’s Award of Excellence in Literary Arts and the Harold Hoyte Award, and been shortlisted for the Frank Collymore Literary Award.  He still divides his time between Canada and Barbados.

Robert Edison Sandiford (at microphone) is the author of three short story collections, Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall (1995) and The Tree of Youth (2005) and Intimacy 101: Rooms & Suites (2013); the graphic novels Attractive Forces (1997), Stray Moonbeams (2002) and Great Moves (2010); a travel memoir, Sand for Snow: A Caribbean-Canadian Chronicle (2003); and edited with Linda M. Deane (in background) Shouts from the Outfield: The ArtsEtc Cricket Anthology (2007). He is a founding editor of ArtsEtc: The Premier Cultural Guide to Barbados (artsetcbarbados.com), and has worked as a journalist, book publisher, video producer with Warm Water Productions, and teacher. He has won awards for both his writing and editing, including Barbados’ Governor General’s Award of Excellence in Literary Arts and the Harold Hoyte Award, and been shortlisted for the Frank Collymore Literary Award. He still divides his time between Canada and Barbados.

The disasters of 9/11 trigger a Cataclysm that is unleashed every so many cycles. It can only be averted by the selfless act of the Elect, a trio of exceptional humans who are guided by Milton, a being known as an Elder. The three, all Barbadians, are David Rayside, Marsha Durant and Franck Hurley. And it is their time: to save the world before the deadliest characters of their legends and myths – the baccou, the steel donkey, la djablès & the heart man – destroy it.

{EXCERPT - AUTHOR'S CONSENT}  “I still can’t believe what them gone and do.  Be Christ,” said a man in a Polo shirt  and gold watch seated at the bar, shaking his goatee above his drink.  Milton looked at  him; his name was Cooper, Cooper Johnson.  “Look what them Muslims gone and do to  Merica.  Look what them gone and do.”  Milton closed his eyes, opened them.  The man  was a taxi driver and auto mechanic.  He drove a 1993 Nissan Sunny.  Forty-four.  Had a  wife to whom he was usually faithful and two young sons.  Except he still had a weakness for Sam, who was tending the bar but cooked the food in the kitchen and had a  child for him and was gap-toothed, so laughed only when he was around.  Milton closed  his eyes again; it was getting easier, he was becoming accustomed to the rhythm of  human minds again—of these human minds.  Sam, short for Samara, a combination of  Samantha and Sahara concocted by her parents.  Cooper got his nickname from the first  car he ever owned: a 1967 Mini Cooper S.  His real name was Emile.      Milton left their thoughts alone.

{EXCERPT - AUTHOR’S CONSENT} “I still can’t believe what them gone and do. Be Christ,” said a man in a Polo shirt
and gold watch seated at the bar, shaking his goatee above his drink. Milton looked at
him; his name was Cooper, Cooper Johnson. “Look what them Muslims gone and do to
Merica. Look what them gone and do.” Milton closed his eyes, opened them. The man
was a taxi driver and auto mechanic. He drove a 1993 Nissan Sunny. Forty-four. Had a
wife to whom he was usually faithful and two young sons. Except he still had a weakness for Sam, who was tending the bar but cooked the food in the kitchen and had a
child for him and was gap-toothed, so laughed only when he was around. Milton closed
his eyes again; it was getting easier, he was becoming accustomed to the rhythm of
human minds again—of these human minds. Sam, short for Samara, a combination of
Samantha and Sahara concocted by her parents. Cooper got his nickname from the first
car he ever owned: a 1967 Mini Cooper S. His real name was Emile.
Milton left their thoughts alone.

All their lives, the Elect have had their abilities: David, the power of flight; Marsha, incredible strength; and Franck, super speed. With great power may come great responsibility, yet the choice to act or not remains theirs. Milton, like his adversary, Mackie (short for Machiavelli), is an Elder who can inform, not influence, the course of events. Are the Elect mature enough to decide what’s best for humanity? The longer they take to agree to Milton’s plan, which he can’t reveal until they are all on board, the more their world is overrun with Caribbean folklore creatures.

Set in Bridgetown, and Montreal (“where much of the Diaspora live”), And Sometimes They Fly questions notions of the heroic. Where do heroes - not just a region’s but also a culture’s heroes – come from? George Woodcock once noted that, unlike Americans or the British, “Canadians do not like heroes, and so they do not have them.” Humanity is in trouble if this is also true about Barbadians.

One Response

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

Pingbacks

Comments

add a comment

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.