April 14, 2015

Echo of Another World - Inkitt's April Writing Contest

Inkitt's Writing Contest for April 2015 Has Begun!
Inkitt's April contest focuses on the sci-fi/fantasy genre this time. The theme is "Echo of Another World" and it's in honor of the late Terry Pratchett. Inkitt wants you to submit stories that will transport readers to another world the way the novels of the great Terry Pratchett did. You could transport readers to outer space, an enchanted castle, a forest filled with fairies - anything with fantastical or science-fictiony leanings is game. 

Submission Details
All fiction up to 15,000 words is eligible for entry. Novel excerpts are encouraged; fanfiction is not. The contest began on April 7th and will close on May 5th. It's FREE to enter, and you'll retain all rights to any work submitted. Collect the most community votes to be bumped into the top 10% of entries, from which the Inkitt staff will choose the winners. 

Winners will receive Amazon gift cards ($40, $30 and $20). The first place winner will also get five printed copies of their story, with a custom cover created by Inkitt's designer!

Got fantasy in your finger-tips, sci-fi on the mind? Enter the competition now at http://www.inkitt.com/anotherworld and do the Discworld proud! 

[Images and post content provided by Inkitt]

April 07, 2015

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah | Book Review

In A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah writes about his years as a boy soldier in Sierra Leone. It's an incredible tale of children trudging through war torn Sierra Leone, armed to the teeth with assorted rifles, raiding villages, killing, and committing abominable atrocities. These kids have been torn away from everything they hold dear either because of the actions of rebel fighters or the actions of soldiers who should be protecting them. They are picked up along the way and trained to maim, loot, and kill. It's crazy. Even as Ishmael describes the horrors of war seen through the eyes of a child you begin to wonder if any child is wholly redeemable from a life this gory. How do you "fix" such children? How can you bring them back to a state of normalcy in all aspects of life? Ishmael Beah is a success story. His story is that of the lucky ones who survive, "successfully rehabilitate", find a passion, and are able to smile as happily, and uninhibitedly as Ishmael does for the photo on the back cover of this novel. For every Ishmael Beah there are countless more who undoubtedly had no choice but to rejoin the fighters and continue with the madness in Sierra Leone.

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier is a standout tale. All the praise for this book is very well deserved. It's a memoir that should be on every shelf. It brings to mind Biyi Bandele's Burma Boy and Uzodinma Iweala's Beasts of No Nation (only because I read those two books first before reading Ishmael's) but as much, much lesser comparisons. All three books deal with protagonists who are child soldiers but neither Bandele nor Iweala were able to hit as hard as Ishmael did. Most likely because Ishmael Beah lived this life. This is his tale to tell and he does so magnificently. There's a lot of things A Long Way Gone does to you, one of which is remind you that there's a lot we all take for granted. No matter what our life story is there's a lot we should still be thankful for. This is an important story. Buy it. Read it. Share it.
Burma Boy by Biyi Bandele - My Thoughts
Beasts of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala - My Thoughts

[Image via Amazon]