I have a huge soft spot in my heart for hurricane victims.

About six weeks after Hurricane Katrina, I flew down to Mississippi where I spent the next six months living in a town that was about 98% demolished and roughly ten miles east of where the eye had passed. Before that experience, hurricanes were sad, and the people who lost everything to them were tragic, but it was abstract. I’d care for a few minutes before my own life made me forget about it. I never realized just how tragic and how horrible it all was until I toured a completely leveled city with people who had spent their entire lives there.

My experience with Hurricane Katrina changed my life forever. I wasn’t much of a humanitarian before I spent my time in Mississippi, but now I have a bleeding heart. I watched strangers help each other fix roofs, protect each other, feed each other, donate clothes and medical supplies, help clean up demolished property, help each other deal with loss and so much more. I saw how much one person could change a community and I saw how important the effort of one individual was in the face of such calamity. Now I can’t seem to stop myself from participating in humanitarian efforts, especially ones focusing on hurricane relief.

When author R. T. Kaelin asked me to spread the word about Triumph Over Tragedy on Twitter, it plucked at my Hurricane Katrina heartstrings. I tweeted about his project. Then I wrote a blog post about it. Then I emailed Kaelin and basically threw myself into the project. Now I’m helping him edit the stories as they come in, spending several hours a night trying to keep up with the impressive flow of literary donations. I’m also driving everyone who follows my blog, Twitter or Facebook crazy with posts about Triumph Over Tragedy in an effort to spread the word as far as I can. It’s impossible for me not to help somehow. I grew up in the general area of Hurricane Sandy. Many of my childhood memories take place on the Jersey Shore. It’s hard for me to see these places ruined, and be stuck in Utah unable to help the way I could when Katrina hit.

Books bring people together. That’s the incredible part of this project. Not only will all the funds this anthology raises be donated to Hurricane Sandy relief, but people forget how incredibly powerful literature can be. When people lose themselves in a good story, they forget their surroundings. They forget about politics, or the latest drama at work, or how their neighbor’s dog won’t stop barking. All that matters is finding out how the story ends, and when they can start the next one. It’s truly wonderful to be part of a project that helps so many people in such incredible ways, whether through donations, or by giving someone a little necessary time to lose themselves in a great yarn.

It’s quite amazing to see how much the speculative fiction community pulls together in the face of disaster and I’m humbled to be part of this massive group effort, though Kaelin really deserves all of the credit for this project. Right now, we’ve raised almost $1000 for the Red Cross. Through his hard effort we’ve signed the following authors onto the project (note: we have been getting stories weekly so the list has been constantly growing.):

  • Robert Silverberg (Hugo and Nebular Award winner)
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley (Locus Award winner) (donated by the MZB Literary Trust)
  • Elizabeth Bear
  • Michael J. Sullivan
  • Mark Lawrence
  • Bradley P. Beaulieu
  • Phillip Athans
  • Stephen D. Sullivan
  • Rick Novy
  • Jean Rabe
  • Maxwell Alexander Drake
  • SM Blooding
  • Erik Scott de Bie
  • Alex Bledsoe
  • Matthew Wayne Selznick
  • R.T. Kaelin
  • Ari Marmell
  • Jaym Gates
  • C.S. Marks
  • C.J. Henderson
  • Marian Allen
  • Bryan Young
  • Donald Bingle
  • Janine Spendlove
  • T.L. Gray
  • Miya Kressin
  • Steven Saus
  • Addie King
  • Rob Knipe
  • Vicki Johnson-Steger
  • Tracy Chowdhury
  • Doris Stever
  • Gregory Wilson

To donate to this project, or preorder a book, please check out the Triumph Over Tragedy project page for more details about this anthology. We are hoping that this book will not only bring people together through the enjoyment of some wonderful stories, but we are also hoping to spread the word as much as we can so we can help as many people who need aid as possible. The more people who hear about this project, the more people we (and you) can help.

Never underestimate the power of a good book, or how much one person can make a difference, even through a donation.

Tagged with:

Filed under: Books

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!