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Dare Segun Falowo

Once, in a moment before the final birth my mother molded me to life.

After ten years of being the most prolific sculptor in the village of Ala, bending stone, clay, wood and metal to the kinesis of her hands, the woman who was to become my mother, Wura, was still without a child.

The that all of the village took in her craft, the smile on her husband’s face as he filled hemp bags with cowries, and the thrill Wura felt when she worked , all paled when she realized the her womb was cursed never to bring forth a child that would stay to be soaked in her care and love. She was abundant with them; Ojo, her husband had glowing skin and the healthiest of bellies. He even lorded over a farm that she had acquired, five hundred arm lengths wide. There, an abundance of beast and crop thrived – goats and tomatoes, sheep and corn, turkeys and yams, chickens and peppers. Everything other than a living child.

- “We are Born”

“We are Born” is the first story by Dare Segun Falowo to sell to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. To come clean—I met Dare at the first Ake Festival in 2016, when much of this interview took place. I asked his help with transcribing the interviews—and was then knocked out by the quality of his prose fiction and his imagination. We’ve become good friends, and we travelled to Ake 2017 together. Since the 2016 interview he sold a second story to F&SF, ‘Ku’gbo’.

Both ‘We Are Born’ and ‘Ku’gbo’ are set in the same village and have overlapping casts of characters.

Dare: “Yeah, it was my attempt at worldbuilding, but without taking any notes. I would just write and then try to thread them together. The name of the village is Ala, which means ‘dream’ in Yoruba. So it’s that idea of like a place where all these fantastical things could happen and I could get all my fantasy stories without having to reference actual places, actual Yoruba places.”

Dare has published a lot of fiction previously in his own and other people’s blogs. I remind him that one of his stories—a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood published in The Naked Convos—is not based on Yoruba tradition.

Dare: “Yeah, the theme of that year was fairytales rewritten. For Lights Out, the Naked Convos. It’s like a Halloween thing. The Naked Convos was organized by Wole Talabi and Chioma, whose surname I can’t remember right now (Odukwe). They were the curators, they have been doing it for a while, since about 2012. My first ever horror story was written for them. It was titled ‘Udu’. It was, is, an Igbo folktale. It means vessel in Igbo. It’s about revenge. The woman has her child killed and is cast out into the forest where she becomes an Udu, a vessel for the spirits of the dead. In this case, a hundred children who have been killed to make a dibia (or healer) immortal.

“After that story, there was ‘Mask’ and the Riding Hood story (Ajanlekoko), all in The Naked Convos too, in their Lights Out series. I think I wrote for like four consecutive years. But I didn’t write for this last one.

“Mask was an actual Yoruba thing, the mask of Oro, which no woman is supposed to see. So the story starts with a woman, her husband has a forbidden room and she goes in there and sees the mask and the mask kind of curses her, and she gets lost inside her mind, inside these repeating cycles of her witnessing the death of her children and her dying too; it just keeps building, building, building.

“The mask is probably a source of power for him. Probably money. It draws a bit from Yoruba movies, because there’s always the Yoruba husband doing something he shouldn’t be doing, sacrificing his children or people to gain power and money. But I didn’t explain what the mask was about, it was just about her, like, what was going on in her mind—that was where the horror story came from.

“Well, before I was being published by Wole, I was in a virtual band, a music band that didn’t really exist (alongside Edwin Okolo), called Pass the Salt. We had our blog, and that was where I cut my teeth, in a sense. We didn’t have a publisher or whatever and we just had a blog and we’d write whatever. We’d reference someone on Twitter and in the next breath, reference some archangel and then reference some mythical figure, it was just a mash-up.

“We had been reading a lot of this guy, I can’t remember his name right now (Simon R. Green). He does similar things, where he just fuses everything together; Marilyn Monroe, the Devil, that sort of thing, it was just all mixed up in his stories, it was like this gumbo of whatever, that was where I got the idea for my blog, so after Pass the Salt, I started my own blog which I named DragonsInLagos, but before that it was named AcrossTheStyx ...

 The first story I ever wrote for AcrosstheStyx was about a Nigerian boy who is a writer and who like, finds himself being driven across the Styx to some library, some infinite library and he meets Chiron and he does the whole giving-him-metal thing, he gives him a pendant ‘cause he didn’t have a coin and Chiron rejected his naira, then he got in there (the library) and he’s seeing books, the library is like, the books keep reducing or expanding, every author, or everybody who is to be a writer has a book there, basically containing all they would ever write.

“It was a very lofty idea, so I didn’t explain it well. The whole point is that Chiron took him there to the place and showed him how his book was thinning. He showed him that his Book as a Writer was thinning, which means he wasn’t writing, that means he had to write, and he told him that if he didn’t write, bad things would happen to him, and then he woke up from his dream.

“I then wrote a story about a dragon in Lagos, titled ‘Waterwidower!’. It was the one that got me called to the Goethe Institute, and after that I changed the name of my blog.

 “It was a talk by authors. It was me, Tricia Nwabani and Iquo Eke. Abubakar Adam Ibrahim was supposed to be there, but he didn’t come, he wasn’t able to make it at the time. So they searched and found my story, and said we would like you to come read your story at our thing.”

Dare is the first of the writers I’ve interviewed to talk directly about cultural opposition to fantasy writing in Nigeria.

Dare: “It was very nerve-wracking, and I got there and I read the story and people were like ‘Oh they love it, etcetera’. Then someone asked me, ‘Isn’t a dragon witchcraft?’ And I was so rude, and I was like, ‘I don’t care what Christians or the Church think, I will write whatever I want’. But I was quite affected by that in a sense, that just writing a fantasy story could make Nigerians think straight to witchcraft, it was just a story, and she was like, ‘What do you think the influence of this will be on our children?’ And there was one man, I think a critic, was like, ‘What’s the use of the dragon? We’re in Nigeria, there’s reality to face.’ And I was like, ‘Well, the dragon could be a metaphor for our government’. I just ran with it that day, since I was nervous and Teju Cole was there and Akwaeke Emezi, and I just felt very out of place.”

GR: “Who is Akwaeke Emezi?”

Dare: “Oh, Akwaeke is awesome, she’s like a film person but she also writes, almost too well. She used to write these really awesome—it was because of her I started writing flash fiction, actually, because she would write these pieces, like three hundred words and it would be so amazing. I don’t think she’s like a fantastical writer, or even magical realist. She simply uses traditional fantastical ideas as metaphor or scaffolding to build these deep emotional worlds.”

Again to come clean—Dare’s interview came down to five huge sound files, so he transcribed these excerpts himself. He’s excised some of the material about his own spirituality in the Yoruba tradition. One of the recordings I have is of a discussion he has with a Christian taxi driver. Dare argues for the validity of Yoruba spiritual practice. The taxi driver and the author parted as friends.

Dare: “After that reading, I met Ibrahim Ganiyu (who has an interview in the next chapter of this series), and he was like, ‘I run a comic imprint and I think your story (‘Waterwidower’) will translate well’. The Goethe Institute paid me N15,000 which was nice, but Ibrahim Ganiyu didn’t get back to me, I even got back to him telling him I had more stories but they didn’t respond so I was like, ‘whatever’.

“Then I changed the name of my blog to DragonsInLagos because of that story and I now had this idea of there being a market/menagerie of fantastical creatures, but I wanted to explain how they got their dragons, like that was supposed to be the idea of the blog from that point on.”

GR: “But that’s so much like the J.K. Rowling thing, yeah?”

Dare: “Yeah. That was why I didn’t want to go on with it because it would have been derivative, but I really like the idea of documenting fantastical creatures and their zoological names and their habits and mating patterns and all that stuff. But I wasn’t able to do any other dragons once the blog got underway, but the idea is still there.

“If I were going to write a book, it would be set in that place, it’s called Eleyele. It means “Has Birds at Home,” someone who is flighty in thought. I think it’s an insult. It’s supposed to be Eleyele and Takiti. Takiti is like the hotel and inn for fantastical people who wish to rest. It’s like these two places and they feed into each other, so Eleyele is the animal market and Takiti is like the inn for all the strange beings to come and stay and then there’s the woman in the center. It’s a matriarchy. That’s the idea I really want to explore.

“At the end of ‘Waterwidower,’ her son is the one who comes to collect the waterwidower from the two characters. Her son is the one I was trying to get to when I wrote ‘We are Born’ about a claygirl, because he’s also molded from clay. I haven’t been able to write it because I can’t expand the world beyond that. There was also a sky city, but then I read N.K. Jemisin’s A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.”

GR: “How do you get your books?”

Dare: “I download them off the internet, for free, to the detriment of my conscience. I really hope to buy and build a library in time. My phone and laptop serve me in reading pdfs.”

GR: “Isn’t the electricity a problem?”

Dare: “It is, it is. Lately, I haven’t been reading any fiction, more psychology, just trying to understand what fantasy might mean to society, and its actual practical uses, rather than just being an escape—I’m not thinking deeply or clearly because of this food.

“I think there’s anomalies of it (fantasy). If you watch Yoruba films, there is fantasy but there’s no break, there’s literally no, ‘Oh, something magical is about to happen.’ It just happens. People just get attacked by demons and curses and hexes and the witches fly, and there’s also the good guys too who wear white and fight evil and it’s all just very naturalistic. It’s like Yoruba culture has found a way to merge both reality and fantasy in film, and I think that might have been the way it would have been in precolonial cultures, where there was no break between. You have stuff like trees talking. Do I really just keep on talking?”

GR: “Mhm hmm.”

Dare: ‘So I was talking about Ofe, Takiti/Eleyele. Takiti/Eleyele is the two spaces that run each other, Ofe is the sky-city above it, which is like a place you go to, after you’ve – it’s not really death—it’s like after you’ve done certain things that you have to do. Fall in love, do a good deed. It often involves like a vision quest and if you make it through you get to go to Ofe, which is like this paradise.

“Ofe means air. It’s a thing that I got from the Yoruba films. Nowadays, Yoruba films are more about people cheating and sleeping with each other. I mean films from when I was younger, when the films were all-out magic, that’s what the witches and the wizards used to say when they wanted to disappear. So they would go up to a wall and put up their foot and just say ofe and they would disappear. That’s where that came from. A lot of my magical ideas, if I would ever write them, would actually come from the Yoruba cinema I consumed as a child that I still remember.

“I also found another facet of this, because in Yoruba culture Apaadi is Hell. Orun Apaadi. So it’s like Other Heaven. You know how there is Orun in front of that word. Orun means heaven, so Orun Apaadi is like Void Heaven, that’s the closest I can get. So it’s where all the people who have done bad and evil in the world go to, and so I had this idea of Orun Apaadi being right beneath the Takiti/Eleyele place, that Ofe is above. So that triple thing is like the core of the worlds, but I still can’t figure out what to do with it. It’s obviously like alternate dimensions, it’s linked to our real world.”

I ask about how, with all his interest in Yoruba belief, he reconciles writing about European legends like dragons and werewolves with material from Yoruba or Igbo cultures.

Dare: “I think it all comes from a central web and that a dragon could mean as much to a Nigerian as it does to a European. A dragon could mean as much fear and awe.

“A lot of Nigerians are very much like ‘Oh, a dragon can’t come here, or oh, aliens can’t come to Lagos or Nigeria,’ but in my head it’s like if they come you’ll feel dread. They mean just as much to us symbolically as they mean to Europeans. If they’ve become incorporated into our culture I’m pretty sure they come from a very deep place in the psyche, and so they have a use in our fantasy literature.

“I don’t think I would cancel dragons because I’m Nigerian or because I’m Yoruba. You also find similarities, like the story of the selkie. There’s a Yoruba story too, we have a selkie goddess—Oya, the deer woman.”

At this point we take a break for food. We talk about some of his more recent fiction, then Dare tells me he took his earlier stories offline when he started work on the story that became ‘Ku’gbo’.

Dare: “I deleted the AcrosstheStyx things, the stories that were there. There was a story about some mutant children that are trying to escape this facility. Once I wrote the story that became ‘Kug’bo’, all the old writing on AcrosstheStyx, I couldn’t look at it anymore.

GR: “Are those stories still up anywhere? Do they exist?”

Dare: “No, I can’t find my files. They were probably on the last two laptops that I’ve had stolen. One belonged to the church and one was a bonus laptop I got from work; graphic design, which I was doing to support myself.

“So ‘Ku’gbo’ was like, I just woke up that morning. I had not written any notes, I had been looking at pictures of faun and I had just seen Pan’s Labyrinth. I don’t know which of the two things triggered it.

“Usually, I don’t like sitting down with my laptop screen facing outwards where people can see, and I remember that day, my mom kept coming over and looking over my shoulder like, ‘What are you doing? Won’t you go to school?’ I just sat down and wrote a very rough first draft, and it came together with some editing. Around 2012, there was no Omenana, and the stories on Tor were very far ahead from what I had written, and I didn’t think they would accept it basically, I felt I had to brush up on my concepts and writing to be able to send to those guys.

“So, I decided to just use my blog, restarting it with the story that became ‘Ku’gbo’, and then working as much as I could with The Naked Convos and even visiting The Phantom Pages once; it’s a blog run by Chioma, predominantly horror and poetry and some drawing by her; I wrote a story called ‘Legion’ for her, it’s about the biblical demon and the pigs. It’s about a woman who meets a man and she has sex with him and within twenty-four hours she’s pregnant and the man kidnaps her and she births a full-grown man that looks exactly like that man, and it happens to be that the Legion spirit from the Bible is reproducing himself in that sense, and they rear pigs.

“Writing those things isn’t fun for me, but it’s kind of therapeutic, I think—a lot of emotions get felt and released and I hope that’s what people who read these things feel, and that through this feeling they get to let go of something. That’s what horror will do, should do, bring to surface the fears and then let them go. I would like to write horror and fantasy and science fiction, predominantly.”

We go back to talking about ‘Ku’gbo’ the second story to be sold to F&SF. At first it had the more European title of ‘Faun’.

Dare: So, ‘Faun’ is the story of the fauns who come to this village and eat their fruit and are invisible to people but the central character of the story, this child, can see them, but his mother is like, ‘You don’t go around telling that to anybody, they’ll just toss you out of the village’. The story is about him being a faun too.

“He’s the faun’s son and they both get shot, and then the boy dies and on waking transforms into a faun, then runs into the forest, which is also a very big metaphor that appears in Yoruba culture, the Forest.

“Also, in Yoruba culture, there are some examples of humans transforming into beast-like creatures. There’s no faun in Yoruba culture. It’s the Forest, as an always present presence – you always have these people running into the Forest carrying sacrifices and seeking ancient totems and flowers with healing powers and stuff, so the Forest is the place where anything could happen.

GR: “The spirit realm?”

Dare: “Yes. The spirit realm, basically. Amos Tutuola did a lot of that—he even has a novel titled My Life in the Bush of Ghosts.

“It happens that after two years of what-not and dealing with queerness, I then go back to read the story, ‘Faun’, and realize that it’s such a blatant metaphor for queerness.

“I didn’t know about Pan and all that when I wrote it, so I’m guessing it’s something that came from somewhere within. A lot of the ideas I had had about queerness and homosexuality sort of made sense when I reread it. I think it’s a metaphor for coming out, though I didn’t come out to anybody, probably a metaphor for coming out to myself and trying to understand myself better. After writing the story, I didn’t try to read more into it or decipher it since I was the one who wrote it, but going back to it and seeing more between the lines that related to parts of myself that I was having problems with was very interesting.

“After that, ‘We Are Born’ happened. I don’t think I was thinking explicitly about transgendered individuals. I was thinking about what it must feel like to be born in another gender, that is, for someone to know one gender and then visualize the part where they become another gender, in a sort of spirit sense.

“In older Yoruba cultures, the stories about children framed them as revered because they seemed to be closer to the spirit world, and the things they said were listened to and not pushed aside, but I think nowadays they’re just beaten up and just told to shut up and sent to school.

“In those dim, past times, we’d even have children be king and a child could be said to be the harbinger of something—they were saviors and messiahs. They had a lot of the spiritual life able to rest on them, that’s also where the abiku comes in.”

The concept of the abiku has a long tradition in classic African tradition and writing, including The Famished Road by Ben Okri, which won the Booker Prize.

GR: “Is Ben Okri Igbo?”

Dare: “Not completely Igbo.”

GR: “In The Famished Road he calls them abiku.”

Dare: “He could. Since we are all Nigerians, I mean we could borrow each other’s terms.

GR: “As I understand abiku, it’s a vexatious rebirth, and it’s a spirit that keeps being reborn to the same parents and dying, over and over, taking all the family’s children.”

Dare: “Yes. The way it’s viewed is as a curse. They try to die as terribly and leave as much sorrow with their parents as possible.

“But here I’m trying to view it through a different lens. The spirit that enters the effigy of clay is the spirit of an abiku that is passing by. There’s the idea that the abiku move in groups called egbe. So, it was just like a synchronicity at the time that she molded and sculpted the girl that she wanted, then the spirit was passing. I like to leave a lot unsaid, but possibly it was the spirit that called her out to make her a body. Then the spirit goes into the body and lives a bit, not comfortably because she has to grapple with having a body. When I wrote this I was quite young, about four or five years ago.”

“In Yoruba culture we have the Ifa Corpus, called the Odu; a book of 256 incantations that tell stories about everything—ontologies, creation, fate, the future, fables and parables and documentations of treaties between God (Olorun) and man. Ifa is called a religion, but it’s not one really.

“That’s where my name comes from. My name is Falowo; Ifa l’owo, which means ‘Ifa has respect’. So I have an idea that maybe sometime in the distant past, there was a man whose first name, like my name is Dare (short for Oluwadamilare), his name was Falowo, and he used the Ifa Corpus to lead his life.

“Knowing how to do this is a positive. It’s not a cult. It’s like Buddhism, that’s the closest thing that I can compare it to.

“You just have to know how to read the Odu. Then you lay out, lay out the animal skin, you throw the beads on it and then you divine futures, but you learn how to do that as if you go to school under an older priest who has more experience in the spirit work. There is an ultra-spiritual aspect, but it’s more logical than anything. There are things that are said before the beads are thrown.”

GR: “What are the beads called?”

Dare: “Opele.”

GR: “The Ifa are the people who use the beads to divine?”

Dare: “No, Ifa is the god of, and also the system of, divination, who never walked the earth but gave his knowledge (the Odu) to Orunmila, an orisha who walked on earth as an early man, a sort of Prometheus who brought divination and prophecy to the heart of the Yoruba culture; he was the first Grand Priest of Ifa.

“Orisha are mediatory energies/forces that act as bridges between God and man, and Yoruba myths center on when these orisha walked the earth in human form, shaping the subconscious, just before the proper rise of humanity itself. The babalawo is the person who uses beads to divine. There are also other priests who are dedicated to other orisha who might not have as much of a moral stand as Ifa does on the ways that man should lead his life. The followers of Ifa were known for their purity and quest for clarity for themselves and the world around them, not unlike the Buddha and his bodhisattvas’ hope that the world becomes enlightened.”

We go on to discuss a surrealistic short story of his called ‘What Not to Do When Spelunking in Anambra’, the first story of Dare’s to show me how unusual his writing was. Heads raining from the sky? What does it mean?

Dare: “Okay, I was horribly depressed at that point. I wasn’t going to school, that was why I was depressed. That would be the simplest explanation. I was out of school, staying at some place and the person that owned the place hadn’t been there in like a year, and it was this empty flat, and it was dark and there was mostly no light and I was just at some really terrible place, and then I drank some alcohol and sat down and tried to focus the feeling I was having in its purest sense.

“Normally whenever I’m depressed I sleep, or dissociate, or do one of the things that people who are in that state do and around that time, my identity was being shaped greatly by the idea of being a ‘Writer’ and that was the only thing I could do then. The reason I wasn’t going to school was because I felt that I should be a writer. I was failing in school. I had just transferred from Biochemistry to Psychology, and Psychology, despite being one of the most interesting courses I’ve come across in my life, wouldn’t stick because of my mental state and the school environment, though I am grateful I found Carl Jung through my four years of partially studying Psychology.

“So, on that day, I was thinking of nothing but the fact that my head felt like it was going to explode from all these ideas and I just sat down and tried to think of the worst. Now that I think of the story, it’s like a projection of depression and poor mental health in a sense and how it must feel, digging to the bottom of that feeling, so I just wove as many symbolic images and poetics and attached it to a linear story. And then someone said it reminded them of Chuck Palahniuk, and I wrote back that I was trying to understand my id.

“I haven’t written in about two years, (this was in November 2016) because I’ve been depressed and I just didn’t feel that I should write anything.

“I took off a lot of these stories because I was trying to apply to a writer’s colony in New Hampshire and I didn’t want them to see a story that I had sent them in the portfolio I put together. The MacDowell Colony. Supposed to be a place where writers can go for eight weeks, some cottages, forest, sounded calm, but it seems like it was for more established people, rather than someone who is starting out.”

“There’s another story there called ‘Lucky Ones’, and it’s about this couple who take an oath as the sun is about to explode and swallow the earth.”

GR: “Oh. I love that. There’s a lovely little piece about the desert.”

Dare: “That’s called ‘Oases’. It was published in Klorofyl. (See the 2014 issue of this spectacularly designed African journal online at issuu)”

GR: “And that’s an American thing?”

Dare: “No. Nigerian. Ibadan. Klorfyl is run by Tolu Oloruntoba”.

GR: “Is Klorofyl literary fiction?”

Dare: “It’s poetry, prose, art. It takes up so much time to put together and though it’s an annual mag, it ends up being released like biannually because of the sheer amount of work that goes into it.

“I think my biggest sell so far (in November 2016), was Saraba, a story called ‘The Visions of Atanda Ekun’. It’s the closest to the ‘What Not to Do When Spelunking in Anambra’ thing in tone. The issue was about solitude, so I was trying to explore the relationship between mental health, spirituality and creativity. It’s kind of like an alter ego thing and that character shows up in the Takiti place. I don’t like how it ends, maybe when you read it you’ll tell what you think.”

GR: “In Nigeria, it’s not legal, this kind of stuff (homosexuality, queerness). What I noticed is that really in Africa, despite the image of it being so intolerant, actually the people on the ground have been talking about it a lot.”

Dare: “Well, only queer people are talking about it, to keep from falling into the boxes that have been set up for us by the ignorance and dogma of repression and religion, where we are filthy animals deserving of gruesome deaths.

“I get the sense that there was a pre-colonial understanding of stuff like gender and sexuality that we’ve lost. When colonialism happened, it sort of erased that sense. There was an understanding. There wasn’t outright hate or violence towards these people, they were understood and they had their roles in society. This is people who aren’t gender specific, I’m not talking about the story (‘We Are Born’) specifically anymore, just in that sense, but that was what made me go towards that side and wonder how such a person might feel or might come to be.”

On deadbeat fathers and single mothers:

Dare: “There is a belief in Nigeria that once you have money everything falls into place and that works for absent fathers and working mothers too.

“When a father deserts his family in the lower classes, the illusion is shattered so deeply for the women or mothers and the dream of perfection cultivated through building such wholesome married homes that they end up putting undue pressure on their sons to make up for the sins of their fathers, and this creates a specific type of brokenness in the child that is very fertile ground for emotional manipulations that may lead to horrible mental conditions.

“The upper classes have child support, family ties might mean safety from distress, and money can ease a lot of stress and create more conducive conditions in which a child might grow less fucked up.

“My mum, she’s the only person supporting me and she was really disappointed and angry and basically there was no space to write. We live in a room. It’s very packed up. It’s just not the easiest set-up for me. I feel like if I had lived alone, I’d probably have been writing and not even gone to school, because I’m someone who absorbs information easily and could have been reading a lot of fantasy and sci-fi stories and produced my own versions of that, but now I just have to go off on other tangents when I try to write.

“I don’t have any direct influences that I can point to. All I have is to reach to like the old Yoruba arm of Nollywood or fading folktales. One of the things I hope to do is to study fantasy and science-fiction literature and see what I’m trying to do.

“Being at the Ake Festival, I’ve realized that creating and writing is one of the ways that you can ease these things.”

GR: “If you are a writer, if you should be a writer, then start writing.”

Dare: “Another reason I stopped using my blog was because Wole Talabi told me that I should stop sharing on it because there would be too little exposure and traffic on a personal blog compared to on Omenana or Interzone or Lightspeed ...

GR: “Strange Horizons is a great magazine for diverse work. But my advice is always remember that African fiction needs African audiences.”

Dare: “I definitely write with African audiences in mind, but I would like to send it out. It really doesn’t matter where I sell it, and I just want to write a very good story and hopefully find a good place to put it.”


Dare found a good place. ‘We Are Born’ was published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, in the Sept/Oct 2017. At the time of writing, ‘Ku’gbo’ has been accepted for publication, also by F&SF. Dare is working on a set of linked stories in the same village as these two stories and on a futurist novella, set in a mystically powerful future Lagos.

He still lives in that room with his mum and step-siblings.

DragonsInLagos still exists at


Geoff Ryman is Senior Lecturer in School of Arts, Languages and Cultures at the University of Manchester. He is a writer of short stories and novels, and science fiction and literary fiction. His work has won numerous awards including the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award (twice), the James Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, the British Science Fiction Association Award (twice), and the Canadian Sunburst Award (twice). In 2012 he won a Nebula Award for his Nigeria-set novelette "What We Found." His story "Capitalism in the 22nd Century" is part of Stories for Chip, edited by Bill Campbell and Nisi Shawl and published by Rosarium.
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