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The Bennu Project (Book Review Request)

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Guest Aha Mena

      Good morning, My name is Tyrone Givens/Aha Mena. I have two self published sci fi novels and I wanted to submit both of them for review. I'm an African american writer out of cincinnati but, more than that, i'm an Afrocentric author. I believe that we must teach our children about our history and that we have a duty to prevent them from being convinced that we have no history before the triangle trade. To that end, I have started a series of educational books that are designed as an entertaining metaphor for the rich history of African people. I'm a fan of science fiction, so instead of writing a boring reference tool filled with information that kids would never commit to memory, I chose to make it fun. People of all ages will enjoy the action, excitement and suspense of the book even though they may or may not realize that they are learning about our history. Names, dates, location and many references are sourced from true historical events and locations. As authors in our community, I believe we have a responsibility to promote positive influences for our people to look up to instead of the negative influences that further the conditioning. You wont find any cowardly, weak or criminal minded black males in my series. What you will find is respect for elders, ancestral reverence, respect for nature, balance and respect in relationships, strong black females who are also leaders and heroes in their own right. You'll find a sense of community and common goals in the black community. 

      A video of me explaining in depth can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dh4Xs7pQgo and one of the reader's comments can be found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=US3JaBfAKow 


A free preview of the first book, titled "The Bennu Project," can be read on goodreads right in your browser (without downloading anything) http://www.goodreads.com/reader/67558-the-bennu-project?return_to=%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F25294652-the-bennu-project (ISBN: 9781620309582 Pub: 27 Mar 2014)


and the second book, titled "M Hsst Drtyu," can be read here http://www.goodreads.com/reader/72060-m-hsst-drtyu?return_to=%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F27302922-m-hsst-drtyu                                                  (ISBN: 9781682730928 27 Oct 2015) 


      Thank you for your time and consideration.?type=3&theater

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That is a very common question.  

Reach out to other sci-fi writers, who currently have agents for recommendations and suggestions on how to proceed.  You can search for names of sci-fi authors to reach out to, most of the ones on this site are quite approachable.  Visit their websites or look for them on social media.

Also research which agents have recently sold sci-fi books, you can use http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/  There is a $25 monthly fee to access their database, but if set aside some time you may only need access for a month.

Many people use The Guide to Literary Agents, it is always a bestselling book on this site, but some people say by the time the book hits the stores it is already dated.

Getting a good agent is perhaps harder than getting published.  No agent will work with you unless they thing you have a book they can sell.

Of course, never give an agent payment up front--for anything.


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31 minutes ago, Sara said:

Very interesting novel. Reminds one, perhaps a bit "too" obviously, of the rape and depopulation of the motherland, as well as Star Wars' Princess Leia.

Thank you for the kind words @Sarah. Obvious, was the goal when it came to the colonial African themes. I want to give the reader an unfiltered crash course in true historical events via metaphor. Yet I purposely make it obvious because so much more is subtly waiting below the surface. If you have amazon prime you can read the ebook for free. Ironically, most people (including myself) are surprised to discover that George Lucas got his star wars ideas from Ancient Kemetic mythology and draw connections from my series to star wars without ever knowing the common source. That's part of the reason why I wanted to write using Kemetic mythology. I hope you'll be interested in reading it. I love feedback and the opportunity to discuss my novels with readers. Thanks again for the feedback.

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8 hours ago, Sara said:

Ah! In a way, not so good (obvious rarely is), but in another, absolutely essential. Reading popular Sci-Fi, one could easily come to the conclusion that in the future, the black race is wiped out. Which is why, after reading your response, I dug up an old review of Samuel Delaney's "Nova" and posted it. Other than him, and now yourself :wub: I can think of no Sci-Fi novels with "obviously" black characters, certainly not as the main character(s). But then, I don't read that many Sci-Fi authors, either ...lol.

Why is "obvious" necessary in fiction? Your reasoning is for black people of TODAY to grasp an African civilization and put it into an illuminating historical framework. For me, it is to ensure that as a race, we are represented in the visions of young black children via an imaginary future (in the stars?). White people are so very good at 'white-washing' every good and noble accomplishment of our black ancestors, even white-washing the ancestors, themselves! This leaching of melanin from our historical greats has gone on for centuries - no reason to think it won't continue. Thus an author needs, at times, to be so obvious in their terms and descriptors that there can be no mistaking about what and whom one is writing about. For instance, Delaney describes his main character as having "Negro" hair. At first blush, I went "Negro?!!!" Then it occurred to me - if he said the character had black or dark hair, even if describing it as kinky, whites would twist it to say he was talking about a Caucasian. Negro hair? You can't twist that.

Oh! As good, if not better an example. In 'The Hunger Games' novels, the little girl is described as being dark-skinned and having some other no-race-BUT African facial or bodily feature. And yet, the little actress who played her in the film (forget her name - she's really something though - love her intelligence and black fire!).... got flamed, slammed, PILLORIED by white movie-goers. They did NOT want to see a black girl playing, well, a black girl! lol

So, yea, when writing of black people, "obvious" is good.

                               SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER 

                                   There are possible spoilers ahead.


      GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE! I was already thinking about the hunger games as an example of what your first paragraph alluded to and then BAM there you were saying exactly what I was thinking in your second paragraph. Her name is Amandla Stenberg and I remember when it happened that those people were delusional. (Shes a very outspoken activist by the way) Thats the problem with hollywood though. Movies are not meant to portray us in any sort of favorable light EVEN WHEN the characters are described as Negroid in feature. (Thats part of the reason why I push for our community to promote our own media, stories and movies).

      Anyway, I digress. A lot of the names, dates and locations are from true historical events. (Examples were edited out to avoid possible spoilers) I could go on and on but why ruin it ;) . Ultimately, I agree with you especially when you said, "For me, it is to ensure that as a race, we are represented in the visions of young black children via an imaginary future (in the stars?)." I couldnt agree more here but more on that priority as the book progresses, especially transitioning into the sequel. But the first half of the book has to lay the foundation for the reader and that is in the historical framework. As the main protagonists advance in technology and understanding, so will the reader transition from the historical framework toward "represented in the visions of young black children via an imaginary future (in the stars?)." Some in our community are satisfied with having a black superhero side kick in white scifi movies. I am not so easily please and believe we should completely make our own heroes and stories. Enter one of my main motivations for writing this series.

Edited by Aha Mena
Removing Spoilers
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7 hours ago, Sara said:

Kinda did already with your mixing of the factual with the fictional, i.e., real historical personages with the fictional Willie Lynch. :(

As for Amandla Sternberg, she is MY hero! :lol: 

      Sorry, ill go edit that post now to avoid anyone else reading that part. Trust me though, there is so much more than that going on in this book that it has not been spoiled and you would not be disappointed. I'm so glad Amandla exists. Young black girls need to someone to look up to that looks like them instead of the superficial kardashian types. Not to mention that Amandla is a shining example from that generation. She's simply fantastic as a role model for young black girls.

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  • 3 months later...

Came back to this thread to share that both books have just been accepted in the catalogue of The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. I can't express in words how excited I am about this achievement. I'll definitely be looking to increase advertising opportunities. I've spent the early hours of this morning looking into the AALBC advertising options. https://www.nypl.org/locations/schomburg 

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