The World of Crumbs

Having been commissioned to novelize the independent, post-apocalyptic sci fi film “Crumbs”, written and directed by Miguel Llanso, I decided that the novel needed a map in order to explain all the geographical places visited in the odyssey.

The setting is mostly in the Federal Democratic Republic of Trans Amhara Oromo which is a small, fictional country located in east Africa on the Gulf of Amar. Formerly a European colony, the Amhara Oromans fought for and won their independence from Belgium in 1983.

Here’s a draft version of it that I’ve been working on…

amharaoromo

Hat tip to Joseph Conrad, J.R.R. Tolkein, and an online list of Ethiopian baby names.

The novel is well in to the second draft.

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9 thoughts on “The World of Crumbs

      1. To be clear:

        Your work is located in a part of Africa that has always been proud of defeating European colonizers — TWICE — and being one of the only two African countries that were never colonized (Ethiopia and Liberia). And yet, your work of fiction opts to inject colonialism into the story. And Belgian, at that. Until 1983. Suggested reading: Adam Hochschild’s “King Leopold’s Ghost” and Jeff Pearce’s “Prevail.”

        You decided to call your fictional land “Federal Democratic Republic of Trans Amhara Oromo.” I suggest you look deeper into the complicated history and relationship between the Amhara and Oromo in Ethiopian history before naming a post-apocalyptic wasteland as such.

        You saluted Joseph Conrad, J.R.R. Tolkien, and a list of Ethiopian baby names. This tells me three things: first, your model for writing about Africa is arguably one of the most racist and dehumanizing pieces of literature. (suggested reading: Chinua Achebe’s essay “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness'” http://kirbyk.net/hod/image.of.africa.html). Second, you really like the fantastically exotic; yay J.R.R.! And third, your level of interest into the actual region that you chose to fictionalize is minimal, barely scratching the surface beyond a list of exotic-sounding Ethiopian baby names that you can whimsically repurpose.

        Having said that, I understand it’s a work of fiction, and freedom of expression is alive and well. However, as a “literature of ideas,” I’m sure you’re aware that science fiction is rife with horrible ideas and mediocre literature.

        Or maybe, your working assumption is that no African would read this … or that if they did, they wouldn’t take offense to the absurdity. Either way, I’ve probably wasted my time right now.

        Bonus: Binyavanga Wainaina’s “How to Write About Africa”: https://granta.com/how-to-write-about-africa/

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        1. Thanks for replying.

          Mr. Jones,

          I am well aware of Ethiopia’s history in defeating European colonialism. In the story, Amhara-Oromo (not Ethiopia, by the way), threw off their colonial overlords. The choice of Belgium (over say Italy or Germany) was intentional.

          I also do have some understanding of the complex history between the Amhara and Oromo. That’s the point! I tried to create a ridiculous fictional country emphasized by 1) it being colonized by Belgium (which is hardly a real country, itself), and 2) having a demographic that is implausible. It’s satirical fiction!

          The point is, there are no noble or righteous nation states. ALL nation states are born in violence with the winners writing the history books to propagandize for themselves and brainwash the subsequent generations. There are NO exceptions to that rule.

          I don’t speak Amharic, so I needed place names for the map. Again, it’s satirical fiction. It’s supposed to be absurd. I have great respect for Tolkein who was, by his admission, an anarchist (like me). Also, Judging Conrad’s 19th Century ‘Heart of Darkness’ by modern standards of political correctness and hypersensitivity is way out of context. It’s a great story, wonderfully remade into the finest war movie of all time:’Apocalypse Now’. The setting, themes, protagonists, and antagonists are interchangeable throughout the world and throughout history. The same theme replays everywhere, throughout time. Men kill men and draw imaginary lines on maps to enrich themselves. The villains of my book are Nazis and the United States government and other world governments that foment World War Three for idiotic reasons…but also abetted by the vainglorious generals and corrupt politicians of the fictional Trans Amhara Oromo. Again, all nation states are born in violence and run by the corrupt. That’s always the point of my stories. The imaginary lines on maps and anthems and flags are tools that are used to separate us and convince us to murder each other.

          It’s your right to be offended. I am not saying this is the case with you, but I am of the view that the current state of people being chronically and pervasively offended by everything, at all times, is totally absurd in and of itself.

          I refuse to write in fear of political correct backlash.

          Anyway, I appreciate your comments, and I’m sure I will remember them as I continue the editing process and reworking of the story. If you are of the mind that you will be offended by it then it probably isn’t for you. But I’ll gladly send you a copy.

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