AROUND THE HORN AND BACK by Michael Banister (Ethiopia)


What would you do with your dad’s broken time machine, a modified “spherical astrolabe?” You could fix it if you had 21st century tools, but you’re both in the 15th century. You could pretend it’s a normal nautical device and offer it to the 15th century explorer Vasco da Gama. But what if the Great Admiral discovers the true function of the device? How will you edit your dad’s memoir to describe the astrolabe as nothing more than an ancient marine navigation device? Will your dad’s wannabe time-traveling companions find the astrolabe in the future? — Around the Horn and Back

Michael Banister

I’ve always been a voracious reader, and in junior high I published two science fiction stories in my school’s creative writing magazine. After a long hiatus, I began writing again in my junior year of college at UC Berkeley. I joined a group of acquaintances in 1969 who started a poetry magazine called The Open Cell. We contributed the content, did the layout, printed it at Waller Press in the Haight-Ashbury district, and sold it on the streets of Berkeley and San Francisco. That experience rekindled my love of writing. I transferred from Berkeley (where I was a comparative literature major) to SF State as a creative writing major and wrote poetry and a few stories.

Upon graduation in 1972 my first wife and I joined the Peace Corps and worked as ESL teachers in Ethiopia for two years.

Grad school followed, twice, and I obtained a Master in Communication at University of Washington and a Master in Librarianship at UC Berkeley. My writing during those years became decidedly academic and non-creative.

After nine years as a librarian (including two as head librarian at Robert College of Istanbul), followed by a divorce, I decided librarians got no respect, so I went to law school where I wrote a law review article discussing a controversial Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision. I became an attorney, remarried, and worked for 23 years at the California Attorney General’s Office, Criminal Division, and wrote hundreds of appellate briefs.

During my years as a “brief-writing hack,” I dabbled in creative writing. I published two poems in a Baháí magazine called World Order, published a poem in a small magazine put out by a colleague in my writing group at the Mechanics Institute Library in San Francisco, but couldn’t finish a mystery/suspense novel in the mid-90s called L’Ombra, about a mysterious group of savants bent on world domination.

In 2011 I wrote a memoir of my Peace Corps experience that was published in Eritrea Remembered, part of the “Peace Corps Writers” series on Amazon.  In 2012 I wrote a novella called My Brother’s Keeper, which I self-published at CreateSpace.

I’m retired, married, and have two grown sons and a granddaughter who will begin her freshman year at the University of Oregon in the fall. I keep my state bar license active and have a (volunteer) case involving veteran’s benefits.

Around the Horn and Back
by Michael Banister (Ethiopia 1972-74)
Ravenous Press
151 pages
September 2020
$5.99 (Kindle); $9.99 (Paperback)




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