Stant Litore is the author of Ansible, The Running of the Tyrannosaurs, The Zombie Bible, and Dante’s Heart. Warning: Reading these stories may have unpredictable effects, and Stant offers no assurances that you will emerge unscathed. Best leave all non-essentials behind, take with you only what you need to survive, and venture into the books cautiously and ready to call for backup. Besides science fiction and fantasy, he has written the writers’ toolkits Write Worlds Your Readers Won’t Forget and Write Characters Your Readers Won’t Forget.
He does not currently own a starship or a time machine but would rather like to. He lives in Aurora, Colorado with his wife and three children and hides from visitors in the basement library beneath a heap of toy dinosaurs, tattered novels, comic books, incomprehensibly scribbled drafts, and antique tomes. He is working on his next novel — or several.
Find out more about Litore via:
- His author website, www.stantlitore.com
- His Amazon author page
- His Audible author page
Litore will be donating 50% of profits from Ansible: Rasha’s Letter from 11/23-12/4 to Extended Hands for Hope, which offers safe housing and supportive services to domestic sex trafficking survivors. If you’re not buying a book, you can still donate to Litore’s Colorado Gives Day campaign page, no purchase required.
Why Litore is participating in Colorado #ResistanceReads:
How did current politics become a part of Ansible: Rasha’s Letter?
For four years, I’ve been writing the stories of 25th-century Islamic time travelers attempting to make first contact with other species across space and time, and moving up and down humanity’s timeline to preserve us from a predatory cosmic horror. And then, midseries, our government endorsed an Islamophobic rhetoric and policy.
What do you believe is a writer’s place in the political landscape?
We write about what we love, about what we feel, about what we believe, what makes us rejoice or grieve or yearn or shout in fury. We write about who we love, too. And politics, at its heart, is always the game of deciding who will live and who will die. If my wife and I are working to get my daughter in her wheelchair in to see her congressman when her access to healthcare is threatened, I’m going to write stories about legless hijabi botanists who find a way around the obstacles of their society and grow their own vegetable spaceship to travel. If I’m rallying with others to protect our Muslim neighbors or pleading with my other neighbors to send funds toward one of our world’s refugee crises, I’m going to write science fiction and fantasy about refugees. That’s how it works: I write about who I love, I write about standing against things that would kill our bodies and our hearts, and I write what I care about.
Were you at all nervous about publishing about these political topics? Why?
No. What I was “nervous” about was the local mosque getting vandalized, and I wasn’t nervous, I was angry. I was angry about the mosque that was burned in Texas, and the mosque where peaceful worshippers were gunned down in Quebec City. I was angry at the travel ban and the rising Islamophobia in our country and at the callousness toward refugees.
What kind of feedback have you gotten from readers about the political topics in your story?
Well, there have been moments. I’ve been to a few events where a reader will point to a hijabi character on a cover and demand belligerently, “Why is she there?” But among those who read the book, the feedback has been mostly positive. Honestly, that is the power of storytelling. When you are dealing with Politics, every conversation is a battleground. But when you are dealing with one human story, you can move people to laughter or tears or anger or hope.
Why do you think people should pick up these “resistance reads”?
To rediscover hope. The trick about resisting anything is that what you’re resisting tries to get you to believe that you are alone, or few in number, or that what you’re resisting is now the new order of things and you no more than a fly trying to bore through a plaster wall. Stories make us less alone. They help us remember what’s important. They help us hope. Even the darkest ones do, if they’re good stories.
What’s your relationship with Colorado and your history with Colorado Gives Day?
I moved to Colorado twenty years ago, fell madly in love when I met the woman I married, and fell in love with the state too. We stayed. I grew up as an independent in a blue state. I am still an independent; my wife is a socialist who grew up in Germany. It has been a revelation to me living in a purple state, and one whose people tend to be very independent-minded, whatever party they’re in. It has often been a reminder to me that while the media likes to create a vision of monolithic political parties and movements for us, the real story is that our threatened Union is made up of many, many groups of people with different concerns and different needs and different fears. It may be that a pundit or a demagogue can harness the fears of a lot of people and try to sell the idea of a unitary America into which only some fit, but a Colorado storyteller is maybe in a good place to remind people, through stories, of how diverse we all are, and how tyrannical cramming everyone in one definition can be.
Why did you choose Extended Hands of Hope?
I have chosen Extended Hands of Hope because Colorado has long been an intersection for the underground slave trade in trafficked women and children, and the slavery of children is among the most brutal social ills I can imagine. Extended Hands of Hope provides refuge and education to girls rescued from human trafficking. We usually think of resisting human trafficking in simplistic terms — stop the slavers, rescue children — but the real work, the hard work, the work we have to be committed to supporting, is the labor of helping these children build lives afterward. This organization is helping with that. Let’s throw our weight and our hope behind them too.
Discussion questions for Ansible: Rasha’s Letter
Rasha is a Syrian refugee fleeing war with her infant son. Sahira is a time-traveling, shapeshifting, bisexual hijabi defender of humanity. In a distant future when all humanity flees a predatory and unexpected horror, Rasha’s choices at a critical moment could make the difference between extinction and refuge — if Sahira can get her safely to that day.
Both time-travel thriller and love story, this riveting addition to the Ansible saga takes you from the dust and despair of bombed-out cities and poisoned land to the weird apparitions that can transform a planet’s future. Ansible: Rasha’s Letter is the opening episode of Ansible: Season 3 but can also be read as a standalone.
- What do you think makes Rasha fall in love with Sahira? What makes Sahira fall in love with Rasha?
- What do you imagine each will say to the other, in the conversation that will happen immediately after the end of the story?
- “Islam requires it,” Sahira says twice in the story, when deciding to intervene. How does Sahira’s religion move and drive her?
- What does it mean to Sahira to extend refuge to others? What does it mean to Rasha to extend refuge to others? What does it mean to you to extend refuge to others?
- If Sahira had not intervened on the Day of the Doves, there might have been much loss of life and much terror. But would the Dove Maidens still have been successful? Would their movement and its hope for peace prove more powerful than the supremacists it resists, without the intervention of a time-traveling heroine? Why or why not?
- What would the equivalent of a “Day of the Doves” look like, in our own region and our own time?