Daniel José Older
Daniel José Older
|Genre||Fantasy, young adult fiction|
|Relatives||Malka Older (sister)|
Older’s career as a writer began in 2014, in the back of the ambulance where he worked as an EMT in New York City. Older has said that he sees himself as an outsider to the publishing and literary scene. Describing himself as a disruptor, saying, “I entered the writing world clearly and strategically to do this thing, to write these books, to get them into the world and fuck with people…to generally fuck shit up.”
Older’s formal writing foray onto the writing scene came with Salsa Nocturna, in 2012. A collection of stories from the living, the dead, and those in between, Salsa Nocturna serves as an introduction to key characters from his first series, Bone Street Rumba.
Older’s debut novel, Half-Resurrection Blues, was published by Penguin Books in the first week of 2015. By the end of January 2015, the production company owned by Anika Noni Rose had optioned the television and films rights to the novel and the following two novels in the Bone Street Rumba series.
Later in 2015, Older’s sophomore novel and series, Shadowshaper, was published by Scholastic. Following Older’s tradition of inclusive writing, it follows a young Afro-Latina named Sierra who discovers her family’s history of supernatural powers and her ability to interact with the spirit world. The book is the first of five works in the Shadowshaper Cypher.
Older has been critical of works that fail to include racial diversity. While he admires The Hunger Games series of novels, he was disappointed in the casting of the film series based on them, writing that the "whitewashing of Katniss was a tremendously unimaginative and useless act." Older has also been critical of "the popular surge of YA dystopias that followed in the wake of the Hunger Games trilogy," calling it "wildly undiverse." He attributes this lack of diversity to a "phenomenal lack of imagination" on the part of the authors, and a laziness, he feels, designed to keep some people out of the picture, saying: "To be able to figure out all these quirky things about what you imagine the future will be like, and not somehow have any folks of color doing anything heroic or worthwhile in it, what happened?"
In 2018 Older released his first Star Wars novel Last Shot, which serves as a tie-in to Solo: A Star Wars Story. It stars Han Solo and Lando Calrissian and takes place between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens with flashback settings before and after Solo.
World Fantasy Award Petition
In August 2014, Older started a petition to change the World Fantasy Award statuette from a bust of H. P. Lovecraft to one of African-American author Octavia Butler, on account of Lovecraft's racism, and concerns that it would be disrespectful to recipients, in particular those belonging to non-white ethnicities that Lovecraft held in particular contempt. Kevin J. Maroney, editor of The New York Review of Science Fiction, also supported the call for the WFA to be changed from Lovecraft's face, suggesting it be replaced with a symbol representing the fantasy genre. Maroney argued this should be done "not out of disrespect for Lovecraft as a writer or as a central figure in fantasy, but as a courtesy to generations of writers whom the WFA hopes to honor."
In November 2015 it was announced that the World Fantasy Award trophy would no longer be modelled on H. P. Lovecraft, following the 2014 campaign that called the author out as an "avowed racist" with "hideous opinions". Older expressed delight at the news and posted on his Twitter account, "They just announced the World Fantasy Award will no longer be HP Lovecraft. We did it. You did it. It's done. Yessssssss," Older tweeted.
Older later told The Guardian newspaper by email, "If fantasy as a genre truly wants to embrace all of its fans, and I believe it does, we can't keep lionising a man who used literature as a weapon against entire races. Writers of color have always had to struggle with the question of how to love a genre that seems so intent on proving it doesn't love us back. We raised our voices collectively, en masse, and the World Fantasy folks heard us. Today, fantasy is a better, more inclusive, and stronger genre because of it."
Shadowshaper Cypher series (Young Adult)
- Shadowshaper (2015)
- Ghost Girl in the Corner (2016)
- Dead Light March (2017)
- Shadowhouse Fall (2017)
- Shadowshaper Legacy (2020)
Bone Street Rumba series (Adult)
- Half-Resurrection Blues (2015)
- Midnight Taxi Tango (2016)
- Battle Hill Bolero (2017)
Dactyl Hill Squad series (Middle Grade)
- Dactyl Hill Squad (2018)
- Freedom Fire (2019)
- Thunder Run (2020)
- Last Shot (2018)
- The High Republic Adventures (2021)
- Race To Crashpoint Tower (2021)
- Trail of Shadows (2021)
The Book of Lost Saints (2019)
Flood City (2021)
- Anyway: Angie (2014) a Bone Street Rumba novella
- Kia and Gio (2015) a Bone Street Rumba novella
- Ginga (2015) a Bone Street Rumba novella
- Ghost Girl in the Corner (2016) a Shadowshaper novella
- Dead Light March (2017) a Shadowshaper novella
- Salsa Nocturna (2012)
- Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History (with Rose Fox, 2014)
- Fantasy Magazine: People of Color Destroy Fantasy (2016)
- Rao, Mallika (December 28, 2016). "Democracy Won't Die (Not if Malka Older Has Her Way)". The Village Voice. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
- Ford, Ashley C. (June 29, 2015). "Daniel José Older creates female black heroes to make fantasy more real". The Guardian.
- Older, Daniel José (December 2, 2015). "A Clarification about the Hunger Games". Retrieved December 7, 2015.
- Floyd, James. "LAST SHOT AUTHOR DANIEL JOSÉ OLDER ON HAN SOLO THE DAD AND WHY LANDO NEEDS L3-37". StarWars.com. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
- Flood, Allison (September 17, 2014). "World Fantasy awards pressed to drop HP Lovecraft trophy in racism row". The Guardian. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
- "Editorial: Chance of Face, Change of Heart". The New York Review of Science Fiction (312). August 2014.
- Flood, Alison (November 9, 2015). "World Fantasy award drops HP Lovecraft as prize image". The Guardian.
- White, Caitlin (May 6, 2016). "Daniel Jose Older Announces Two 'Shadowshaper' Sequels And This Is The Best News Ever". Bustle.
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