For all of you taking part in ludditerobot's Scatterlings and Orphanages: Africander Fiction Challenge, I found an interesting resource.
The 2005 Weblog Awards are up for voting right now, and one of the categories is Best Middle Eastern and African Blog.
While something that focuses on your country may not be there, all major blogs (and to get nominated for the Weblog Awards, you do have to be a major blog) have a blog roll. Trust me. Click through a few links and you're bound to find something helpful.
I'll just echo ludditerobot and offer a list of resources people looking to get raw information:
My Recommended Resources
- 2005 Weblog Awards African Blog Nominees
- Global Security
Focused on international security from an American perspective with an eye to: reduce reliance on nuclear weapons; risk of their use; the worldwide incidence of deadly conflict. Offers a very good round-up of global hotspots, assessment of risk in each area, news, and information. People with Western African countries will find this site a tremendous amount of help. I know I did for The Acme Heartbreak Repair Kit (Warning: It's a WiP until I finish Water Hold Me Down).
For quick fact-checking, it can't be beat. However, approach Wikipedia entries with caution since some of the material in entries can be questionable, especially if politics get involved. However, Wikipedia does offer some excellent external links for more information, which is where I find it most useful. So, word of advice: if you use Wiki, unless you're 100% sure the fact they give is correct, double-check any information you collect from it.
- CIA World Factbook
Gives a good high-level review of a nation's economy, government, and history. It is, shall we say, diplomatically worded more often than not, but it gives you the basic real world facts and minutae upon which you can build your fantasy world. Recommended for basic research.
- Internet Scout Project (Keyword: Africa)
I tend to forget the Internet Scout Project as a resource. It started in 1994 by sending out key links where people could go to find news and information taht was reliable and authoritative. Although the Website has a plethora of general inforamtion, I provided a link to the archive results when you type in "Africa" as a search term.
- The Website for PBS's Africa: From the Sahara to the Serengeti.
This Web site was created for the PBS series Nature and in cooperation with National Geographic (see link to the National Geographic Africa Website below). Might be of limited usefulness since it's "viewer friendly" and focuses only what the documentary series focuses on, but it might be a good starting point.
- Robert Young Pelton's The World's Most Dangerous Places, 5th Edition
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Even when this book was published in 2003, some of the information was out of date (most notably information on Iraq since the U.S. had already invaded by that point and the invasion wasn't covered). However, if you're looking for deep history, a detailed outline of the dangers and players, and most importantly, Web links were you can get more inforamtion, this book cannot be beat. Pelton's name may be on the cover, but the contributors include journalists, adventurers, mercenaries, and war photographers. Serious must. Used copies are currently on Amazon for as little as $11.
- Come Back Alive by Robert Young Pelton
Yes, I own this book. Shut up. It's awesome in its weirdness. Pelton takes you through every extreme environment and extreme situation and tells you how to survive it. Includes everything from sickness, to injury, to animal attacks, to attacks by humans, to how to find your way out of getting lost. Includes environments ranging from the arctic to the tropic. Excellent resource for people writing survival stories. Used copies are available on Amazon for $2.
- The Black Flag Cafe
Loosely associated with Robert Young Pelton, this is a message board from people who do globe trotting in dicey places. Again, approach information on this board with caution and double-check any inforamtion you find here. However, you may find helpful links or sources of information that could send you in the right direction.
Others' Recommended Resources
- whiskyinmind has a solid list of African resources that you should check out here.
- ludditerobot recommends Strategy Page, which offers reporting on world hotspots and international military affairs; a Website with female African names; and the Lonely Planet series of travel guides.
- This resource from ludditerobot is important enough that it should have its own bullet point. National Geographic's Africa Pages. I've used this resource myself, and I can't believe this one slipped my mind. A must to look at, if only for teh pretteh.
I will use this particular post to provide updated links to information and other cool resources. If anything new gets added, I will post a new post that points to this one.
Also, mucho thanks to ludditerobot for making the Africander Fic-A-Thon icon shareable. If you're so inclined, grab, comment in his LJ, and credit the dude.
Finally, as per request, I will upload my Africander Soundtrack later on this week for anyone who wants to download it.