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Daniel José Older

Daniel José Older is the author of the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series from Penguin’s Roc Books and the Young Adult novel Shadowshaper (Scholastic’s Arthur A. Levine Books, 2015), which was nominated for the Kirkus Prize in Young Readers’ Literature. His first collection of short stories, Salsa Nocturna and the Locus and World Fantasy nominated anthology Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, which he co-edited, are available from Crossed Genres Publications. You can find Daniel’s thoughts on writing, read dispatches from his decade-long career as an NYC paramedic and hear his music at ghoststar.net/ and @djolder on twitter and youtube.
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Daniel José Older talks MIDNIGHT TAXI TANGO

Daniel José Older wrote the YA urban fantasy Shadowshaper, co-edited the fantasy anthology Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, and has had his short fiction published at Tor.com. He is the author of the new urban fantasy series BONE STREET RUMBA, the latest of which, Midnight Taxi Tango, was released on January 5, 2016. When he’s not writing fantasy, Older composes and plays music, conducts writing workshops, and blogs about his decade of experiences driving an ambulance. Despite this busy schedule, Older took some time to answer some questions for Marion and Jana about social media, music, and his latest book.

One commenter with an address in th... Read More

Half-Resurrection Blues: This urban fantasy brings a city and a hero to life

Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel José Older

I love the world Daniel José Older creates in his urban fantasy Half-Resurrection Blues. I love the feel of Brooklyn; the sounds, the sights, the sensibilities; the descriptions of the smell of cigar smoke, booze, and food from the bodegas, sushi bars and food carts. This Brooklyn is full of life — and full of ghosts, which is where our protagonist, Carlos Delacruz, comes in.

Carlos is a half-alive; a person who has died but not completely. He “passes” for living even if his skin is a bit gray; he has a slow heartbeat, he breathes, eats, drinks (and smokes). Because of his half-dead condition, though, Carlos can see and interact with ghosts. He works for the intensely bureaucratic Council of the Dead, staffed entirely by ghosts, who have assigned themselves the task of keeping other ghosts in line. They distrust Carlos but he is useful ... Read More

Midnight Taxi Tango: Moves to its own musical beat

Midnight Taxi Tango by Daniel José Older

Midnight Taxi Tango, which was published today, is the second book in Daniel José Older’s BONE STREET RUMBA series. Things have changed dramatically for Carlos Delacruz, the half-alive agent of the Council of the Dead, who monitors badly-behaving ghosts and spirits in Brooklyn. Carlos has learned a bit more about his pre-death existence, and the love of his life has left him.

Carlos and his senior partner the ghost Riley are charged with investigating several strange “random” accidents at a local park, and it is clear that they are not random. Soon he is fighting weaponized child ghosts and trying to keep his friends alive.

Jana and I both read Midnight Taxi Tango and we are commenting on it jointly here.

Marion: I liked this book, although I found the point of view sh... Read More

Battle Hill Bolero: A satisfying conclusion to an important series

Battle Hill Bolero by Daniel José Older

Battle Hill Bolero (2017) is the concluding novel in Daniel José Older’s BONE STREET RUMBA trilogy of urban fantasy novels set amid the hustle and bustle of Brooklyn, NY. While not as strong as the preceding novels, Half-Resurrection Blues (2015) and Midnight Taxi Tango (2016), Battle Hill Bolero does deliver on what Older does best: vibrant and diverse characters, a multi-cultural and multi-faceted city that fully comes to life, and a hefty dose of righteous indignation. Bear in mind that this series really should be read in order, so ... Read More

Shadowshaper: Five-star characters with five-star prose

Reposting to include Kelly's new review.

Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

I’ve commented before that I give very few five-star reviews. Usually, I expect a book to somehow change my thinking, or how I see the world, in order to rate it a five-star book. As I sat down to write this review I was going to say something like, “While that didn’t happen with Shadowshaper, by Daniel José Older, I still…” and then I thought more about it, and decided that Shadowshaper (2015) has changed how I think about the world, mostly because of the time I spent with the main character, Sierra Santiago, who is a hero, an artist and a genuine girl.

As far at the plot goes (and it’s a fast-paced one) in many ways Sierra is a classic Chosen One, a trope that som... Read More

Shadowhouse Fall: Still magical, still powerful, still wonderful

Reposting to include Kelly's new review.

Shadowhouse Fall by Daniel José Older

Daniel José Older’s Shadowshaper was one of the best books of 2015 — not “best YA books” but best books of all categories. It featured an engaging, authentic female hero, an original magical system, mundane issues as well as magical ones, and a distinctive voice and sensibility. 2017’s sequel, Shadowhouse Fall, shows no second-book slump in this series.

Sierra Santiago is mastering her skill as a shadowshaper, an ability that melds spirit contact with art, and adjusting to her new role as the Lucera, but things are not calm or quiet in her neighborhood. A powerful rival group called the Sorrows still purs... Read More

A People’s Future of the United States: Speculative Fiction from 25 Extraordinary Writers

A People's Future of the United States: Speculative Fiction from 25 Extraordinary Writers edited by Victor LaValle & John Joseph Adams

In reaction to the Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States as well as to the rhetoric spewed by his far-right supporters such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham, Victor LaValle & John Joseph Adams wrote to a diverse set of speculative fiction authors with this charge: “We are seeking stories that explore new forms of freedom, love, and justice: narratives that release us from the chokehold of the history and mythology of the past… and writing that gives us new futures to believe in.”

The “mythology” they refer to is the history we learned in school which taught us about all the great white men who accomplished all the significant events in American history. This idea ha... Read More