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Aqueduct Press
PO Box 95787
Seattle, WA 98145-2787

Ancient, Ancient

by Kiini Ibura Salaam

$18.00 (paperback)
 
$9.95 (e-book) EPUB
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MOBI (Kindle)
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Co-winner of the 2012 James Tiptree, Jr. Award
a Locus remmended book

Acclaimed author and critic Nalo Hopkinson writes, “Salaam treats words like the seductive weapons they are. She wields them to weave fierce, gorgeous stories that stroke your sensibilities, challenge your preconceptions, and leave you breathless with their beauty.” Indeed, Ms. Salaam's stories are so permeated with sensuality that in her introduction to Ancient, Ancient, Nisi Shawl, author of the award-winning Filter House, writes, “Sexuality-cum-sensuality is the experiential link between mind and matter, the vivid and eternal refutation of the alleged dichotomy between them. This understanding is the foundation of my 2004 pronouncement on the burgeoning sexuality implicit in sf's Afro-diasporization. It is the core of many African-based philosophies. And it is the throbbing, glistening heart of Kiini's body of work. This book is alive. Be not afraid.”

A new voice in the field, Ms. Salaam, as Jack Womack writes, “deserves to be considered as one of today's most promising contemporary genre writers. With writing that challenges assumptions on gender, the nature of fantasy, the uses of myth and much more, she offers the readers stories that they will not soon forget. [Ancient, Ancient is] a marvelous introduction to a marvelous writer.”

Advance Praise

"Salaam treats words like the seductive weapons they are. She wields them to weave fierce, gorgeous stories that stroke your sensibilities, challenge your preconceptions, and leave you breathless with their beauty."
  — Nalo Hopkinson, author of The New Moon's Arms and The Salt Roads

"Kiini Ibura Salaam's collection of short fiction, Ancient, Ancient, demonstrates that she deserves to be considered as one of today's most promising contemporary genre writers. With writing that challenges assumptions on gender, the nature of fantasy, the uses of myth and much more, she offers the readers stories that they will not soon forget. A marvelous introduction to a marvelous writer."
  — Jack Womack, author of Random Acts of Senseless Violence

"Kiini Ibura Salaam is a natural-born storyteller and a gorgeous writer who chooses her characters and words with the care and skill of a poet. Her stories are transformative, wise and vivid with the quality of fantasy and fable. I loved reading this!"
  — Sheree Renée Thomas, author of Shotgun Lullabies: Stories and Poems and editor of the Dark Matter anthologies

"My favorite piece is one of three original to this collection, “Pod Rendezvous.” A long and entrancing look at the last libertine hours of a future female who must dedicate her remaining life to selfless nurturing, it swoops on gossamer contrails from crèche to club, from finger-shoveled cafeteria food to bars dispensing star juice. It is the book’s final story. At its end the heroine disappears, a bright spark flying out of sight, and the story is done but not over, or over but not yet done. The pull, the sometimes literally visceral attraction of what Kiini does with words, continues on beyond them."
  — Nisi Shawl, author of Filter House, from her introduction to Ancient, Ancient

Reviews

“Salaam's collection of 10 reprints and 3 original stories introduces readers to alternate worlds built around magic, sensuality, sexuality and the search for emotional comfort, however tenuous. A lusty god temporarily bestows his sexual spark on a worn-out and unappreciated young woman in ‘Desire’. The world of mothlike aliens who feed on the heated ‘nectar’ of human sexual energies is explored in three linked tales. A young man’s grandfather sends him time traveling into danger as a punishment in ‘Battle Royale,’ while ‘Rosamojo’ is a straightforward revenge story about a young girl who uses magic to punish her rapist father. Unearthly magics frame ‘Ferret,’ an intriguing snippet about a space colony ship guided by animal divination, and ‘Marie,’ in which a pregnant Creole woman is willing to sacrifice anything to feel at home in New York City. Salaam’s unusual settings and lonely characters will call to readers who hunger for sex, identity, or just a place to belong.”
   —Publishers Weekly, March 5 2012

This collection of moving stories interleaves many themes, perhaps the most effective for me being the alienation of the foreigner....Throughout the language is stunning, like music become words. I found my own mind dazzled and my imagination stretched to keep up with the flow of images.

   — Martha Hubbard , The Future Fire, July 10, 2012 (read the whole review)

The world as Salaam paints it is full of harsh and beautiful things: she insists that we must venture into dark places to emerge as who we are meant to be. The best of her work is imbued with subtle interventions which ultimately provide the reader with sharply felt revelations, the secrets within the text that we must each decipher independently and which speak to each other to reveal a larger project. The stories work from mutual touchstones: the illustration of sex as an act of power; a visceral relationship to the human body as a mode of currency as well as a site of rebellion; and the examination of the struggle to find oneself, particularly as a woman, in a world that offers so few options. Few writers pay such focused attention to a specific set of ideas and concerns, and this accomplished collection provides a vigorous exploration into Salaam's unique vision.
   —Richard Larson, Strange Horizons, Oct 5, 2012 (read the whole review)

The ancient mysteries of life hold in their grasp the power of seduction. We find seduction, being led away, in a sexual experience, a sensual touch, the coming of a new life or death, the physical movement of bodies in a dance, the allure of magic, the call of nature, the possibility of a new truth or that a truth was a lie, or to experience the life of another. There is a freedom and danger, a pleasure and pain in seduction, and Kiini Ibura Salaam compellingly explores them in her collection of speculative short fiction stories, Ancient Ancient.
  —Modern Griots Review, October 11, 2012 (read the whold review)

ISBN: 978-1-933500-96-6 (13 digit)
Publication Date: 2012
paperback 272 pages