Thursday, September 5, 2013




Editor Ron Fortier has announced that noted fantasy author, Charles R. Saunders, will write Lulama, Witch Queen of the Jungle, as his second novel for Airship 27 Productions. Fortier is the Managing Editor of the Colorado based book publisher. 

Saunders is best known for his creation of the heroic Sword and Sorcery genre character, Imaro, who initially appeared in a series of DAW paperback novels during the 1970s.

Also at the urging of Fortier, Saunders had previously written the novel Damballa in 2011, creating the first black 1930s pulp avenger in the history of the genre.  In addition to its historic significance to the pulp community, the book went on to win the prestigious "Pulp Factory Award for Best Pulp Novel of the Year".

Earlier in 2013, another publisher, Pro Se Productions, released a critically acclaimed anthology, Black Pulp, that featured a Saunders' short story called “Mtimu” which featured a black hero in the tradition of Tarzan of the Apes.  In the story was a secondary character, Lulama, an African witch, who struck a chord with Fortier. 

“For a long while, I’d been thinking of doing a pulp book featuring a black jungle queen,” he elaborated.  “As Damballa had put a new spin on the iconic pulp masked hero, I thought it was time to do the same for the jungle queen genre.”

Lulama was exactly what Fortier had been envisioning and he quickly contacted Saunders, suggesting he develop the character further and spotlight her in a new series.  The African American author was surprised by Fortier’s enthusiasm for the character and agreed to give the concept some thought. 

A few months later, fellow writer, Percival Constantine, wrote an insightful essay concerning racism in early pulp magazines and used Saunders’ “Mtimu” as an example of the New Pulp movement of today that is expanding the field of pulp literature by boldly confronting those past wrongs.  In his essay, Constantine purposely used Lulama as a symbol of the former African persona now evolving into a fully realized and self sufficient character. 

Saunders was delighted as he read the essay as it supported Fortier’s claims to Lulama’s potential for future adventures.

That settled, Saunders is now writing; Lulama, Witch Queen of the Jungle for Airship 27 Productions. 

“If all goes smoothly, we hope to have it out by the start of 2014,” Fortier predicted, his own enthusiasm bubbling over from the potential.  “And we couldn’t be happier.  Charles Saunders is a great writer, and having him do another book for us is an early Christmas gift here at Hangar 27.”

Charles R. Saunders, also credited as Charles Saunders, is a Canadian African-American writer and journalist. He is a retired copy editor for a newspaper. Saunders was born in Pennsylvania and graduated from Lincoln University.

His fiction books include Imaro, The Quest for Cush, The Trail of Bohu, Dossouye, and The Naama War, and Damballa. His non-fiction work includes Sweat and Soul: The Saga of Black Boxers from the Halifax Forum to Caesars Palace, Spirit of Africville, Share & Care: The Story of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, and Black & Bluenose: The Contemporary History of a Community.


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