Archive for the ‘#speculativefiction’ Tag

Announcing: Unbound (Clarion Call Vol 3)   Leave a comment

The latest anthology project from Agorist Writers Workshop, of which I am a contributor, is live — just in time for holiday gift-buying season.

Interview #2 with Bokerah Brumley   1 comment

Bokerah BrumleyI’m welcoming back Bokerah Brumley to the blog. When I interviewed Bokerah in April, she and I were probably both writing pieces for the Agorist Writers Workshop’s anthology Echoes of Liberty which asked for an alternative history short with a twist … focusing on agorist, libertarian, voluntaryist themes. When my short was accepted, I offered to interview the other authors and then discovered Bokerah’s name in the list. Welcome back.

Thanks, Lela! It’s great to be back. I was happy to see your name on the list, too. I’ve poked around your blog, and I like what I see, so I was very much: “Oh, oh! Yay! I know her!” J


You write fantasy, so you’re clearly interested in speculative fiction. Agorist Writers Workshop has produced two anthologies that are speculative fiction focus on libertarian themes. Tell me what first attracted you to the Agorist Writers Workshop?

I write mostly clean fiction (i.e. no excessive swearing or graphic sex) and a whole lot of hope all under the Speculative Fiction heading. It’s my favorite because I can make up the world. I think Alternate Histories sort of falls under that umbrella, too. I wasn’t in last year’s anthology, but it sounds like it would have been right up my alley. Mostly, I write fantasy and science fiction. I’ve been on a fantasy stint this year, but I think I’m going Sci-Fi next year. Give me some space ships and ray guns. Shiny.


For this Echoes of Liberty piece, Marilyn Reimagined, it was actually a bit of a circle-around that got me involved.


Random day-in-the-life of me:


In my world, we’re big fans of home education, and my five kids and I watched the 2002 movie adaption of The Count of Monte Cristo over our lunch break—the one with Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce, and Richard Harris. When Edmond asks who will get the letter, it’s to be given to Monsieur Clarion.  Out of curiosity, I chased that word, Clarion, down on Google.


A day or so later, the Clarion Call account followed mine on Twitter. So I followed the social media trail, and I was intrigued by the premise of the anthology. I had a delicious idea, but I didn’t know if I could pull it off.


Funny aside: it’s because of The Count of Monte Cristo movie that my nine year-old middle son flubs a bit on Kokomo by The Beach Boys. He sings, “Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I want to take you to Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama. Key Largo, [Mondego], baby why don’t we go…”


I found myself challenged by the alternate history aspect of this project. I love history, I write fantasy, but I’d never done them together before. I eventually loved it, but it is definitely a different genre that isn’t done as much as others. What about you?


I’ve never written alternate history before, but I love history, too. And all the what-ifs and how ONE PERSON can make a huge difference that ripples through time. I’ve made up all sorts of things mentally before (I might have a hint of conspiracy theorist in me), but I’ve never tried to get one down in a cohesive story. This was the first time I did that, and I loved it.



Talk a little about your philosophical beliefs. Why libertarian, anarchy, agorism, voluntaryist?


To be honest, I’ve been circling around some of these ideas for a long time.


I don’t want a government that defines things like marriage for me. That isn’t their business. I’m not one side or the other. I’m the one over here, hollering, “Don’t you see the problem with this? The government shouldn’t think they have the right to define it AT ALL.”


Besides, in my opinion, if the government opted out of defining anything, it’d be more fair anyway. But, as we know, the government never downsizes voluntarily. Not really. Not for Red or Blue or Purple.


{I like teal. Can I be teal?}


I don’t require politicians to define it all for me. That’s between me and Yahweh. I believe in the right of self-governance from conception. And protecting that right for any and every soul until they are able to self-govern.


I’m not an anarchist, but I do think local people can locally govern themselves better than a Fed-sized government can. I hate that the Fed defines everything, employs the most people, and manages my healthcare. I don’t need them to do that.


The government does not give me my rights. My Creator did that already.


Do we need some laws? Yes. Absolutely.


But, I think, as it is with our food systems, it is with governance. The farther away from the point of origin we get, the LESS healthy it is.


I don’t need dudes in D.C. defining my life or making up rules that I break by accident because nobody knows them all until I’m slapped with a fine or whatever.


It’s convoluted, and we want out. We want our kids out. We want our food outside of this messed-up, cardboard calories manufacturing system. We want our healthcare to come from beyond this dumbed-down, medicate-the-symptoms system. We don’t want to stand in line for a law-mandated injection, and we demand the liberty to decline participation. We’d rather use whole foods, herbs, vitamins, etc. And we should have the right to be out of the system without being penalized.


We can argue about which laws and context and whatever until we’re red or blue in the face. Primarily, I want local politicians governing locally. I want to know where my food comes from and where my mayor lives. That’s what I want. And that’s why this anthology appealed to me.


One person, one difference can change so much.



Marilyn Monroe. That’s not like way-back history and I don’t think libertarian when I think of her. Without giving away too much of the story, how’d you come to picking Marilyn Monroe?


I love Marilyn Monroe and JFK. Since the sixties, there’s always been a distinct attempt to romanticize this elitist idea of a Kennedy’s Camelot. And, historically, Marilyn wasn’t Libertarian. But I wondered if I could write a successful fiction using these historical pieces, but re-imagined inside a different framework. I hint at A LOT in my short, but this was how I satisfied the perimeters for the anthology and was still able to use a couple of my favorites from history. I suppose it went well. J



Echoes of Liberty (The Clarion Call Book 2) by [Walsh,Richard, Andersen,Diane, Brumley,Bokerah, Knowles,Joseph, Markham,Lela, Chiavari,Lyssa, Biedermann,Heather, Schulz,Cara, Johnson,Mark, Mickel,Calvin]The libertarian anarchists I know here in Alaska don’t vote, which is why I can’t quite claim I am one. But, this being an election year, what do you think of the shenanigans that we’re witnessing? If you vote at all, would you vote for any of them and why?


I do vote.


Ugh. That’s all I’ve got. UGH.


Yeah, me too. I feel voting is the only way that we’re allowed to make changes that don’t lead to bloodshed, so stopping just cedes that power to the the elites and will eventually lead to bloodshed. Certainly, I can’t reasonably vote for Trump or Clinton and I don’t think Gary Johnson is my perfect candidate … but I’m going to vote for him because I think he’ll do the least damage and nobody had to cart him off a stage where he’d been told he wasn’t welcome. But UGH! This has been a difficult year and the political mess has pushed me closer to becoming an anarchist than reading anarcho-capitalist literature ever has.

Where do readers find you and your books?



Echoes of Liberty   Leave a comment

echoes-of-liberty-coverEchoes of Liberty – Out September 27 Watch for Interviews with some of the authors of this liberty-minded anthology right here on the Aurorawatcher Alaska blog.


Lela Markham is a speculative fiction author whose 4th publication Objects in View will be out October 4. If you’re interested in reviewing this apocalyptic tale, contact the author at for an advanced review copy.

When Redemption Is Epic   Leave a comment

Zachary Totah recently explored the topic “Should Villains Be Redeemed?” on the Speculative Faith blog.

What a wonderful question for Christian speculative fiction writers to ask! If you’re a Christian, you should believe that redemption is an option for everyone … including villains and the guy that cuts you off in traffic. Of course, non-Christians can see villains (and heroes for that matter) as black and white without choices, but God tells us that we do have choices.

We see this on display with Smeegol/Golum in Lord of the Rings. He appears irredeemable when we first meet him, but later, his interactions with Frodo and, to a lesser extent, Sam, cause this creature twisted by darkness to soften and consider redemption for himself. To me, Golum/Smeegol’s struggle to choose which side of his damaged nature to be in control is one of the most compelling every written and it speaks right to the heart of Christian salvation. Later, Smeegol believes himself betrayed and abandoned and he chooses to return to his evil ways, but that return was no inevitable. If things had turned out differently or Golum had chosen differently, he could have avoided Mt. Doom altogether.

Often writers are recreating myth and allegory. Khan in earlier Star Trek movies is an archetype for the Nazi regime. As an archetype,  he can’t be redeemed because he is not so much a character as a historical concept. Khan must be destroyed simply because he represents the destructive nature of vengeance and hatred and, although newer viewers may not see it, the Nazi regimes doomed ideology. It would also make little dramatic sense for him to change his mind and decide to be friends with Kirk.

On the other hand, there’s a debate going on over whether Kylo Ren (The Force Awakens) can or should be redeemed. The movie spends some effort in showing his conflict. He enjoys the power of the Dark Side, but he desires to move to the Light. He’s committed atrocities, but does that doom him to villainy?

Front Cover LAWKI no windowOf course, that’s not something I can decide for those writers. In my own writings, sometimes my villains are irredeemable. I can’t imagine Talidd being anything but what Talidd is – evil. Now Jaryn and Gregyn — well, we’ll see. And, Gil … what would that unstable character say if someone offered to forgive him?

Wait … is that a bread crumb? Not telling.

I think there’s a lot to work with when a hero is not wholly a white hat. Shane has dark places in his soul that could do great harm to those who get in his way. I find that intriguing in a hero because it means you the reader are not 100% assured that Shane will do the right thing. Maybe he’ll save that family of refugees and maybe he’ll gun them down in the road because Emmaus can’t afford to feed them.

I also think there’s a lot of dramatic potential in a villain who is not wholly a black hat. I get why Tolkien couldn’t abide allegory. It sort of writes you into a corner. Allegory is very black and white. Villains are villains and redemption doesn’t exist. Working in shadow and light allows for a great deal more nuance and surprise both for the writer and her audience.

Here’s to writing in shadow and light and allowing for the possibility of an epic redemption.


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