Book Review: How Long ‘til Black Future Month? N.K. Jemisin

Book Review: How Long ‘til Black Future Month? N.K. Jemisin

 

How Long ‘til Black Future Month? N.K. Jemisin

Short Story Collection: How Long ‘til Black Future Month? N.K. Jemisin

 

Published as a collection in 2018, How Long ‘til Black Future Month? is a collection of short stories from the imagination of the amazing N.K. Jemisin. Three time winner of the Hugo award for best novel, winner of the Locus and Nebula awards, Jemisin is an acknowledged master of writing and possibly the best SFF writer of her or any generation. This collection of short stories supports that contention.

 

The stories are mostly fantastical. A youth becomes the living embodiment of New York City, guided by the living embodiment of Sao Paolo (the genesis for her novel The City We Became). A witch tries to claim the daughter of a woman in Alabama. A king seeks to eat the heart of a dragon. Spirits follow a man searching for supplies in post-Katrina New Orleans. A few of them are more science fiction–a woman tampers with the water supply of a colony where only women survived. Evaluators seek to determine what happened to a first contact team.

 

Jemisin consistently seeks to celebrate people whom traditional science fiction has overlooked. Most of her protagonists are black. Several are gay. Many are women. And although there are stories featuring New York City, there are also stories featuring New Orleans and Alabama. Whether they are poor, dispossessed, female, gay, black, they are people, people seen by Jemisin and shown to the rest of us by the power of her pen.

 

Jemisin’s writing is hypnotic. She casts a spell with her words and draws readers in with her vivid descriptions of places and people. You can smell the stench of a flooded New Orleans, feel the heat and humidity of rural Alabama, see the oppressive sterility of a hospital intended to transfer aliens into human bodies.

 

How Long ‘til Black Future Month is a tour de force. The stories are angry, proud, and vivid. They reject the tropes of the past and offer an alternative view of today, tomorrow, and yesterday. They give hope that imagination can recreate the world and transform it into someplace where we all have a place.

 

How Long ‘til Black Future Month? N.K. Jemisin

Book Review: How Long ‘til Black Future Month? N.K. Jemisin

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