How Long ‘Til Black Future Month [N K Jemisin]

Start Date: 25 June 2019

Finish Date: 28 June 2019

Source: National Library Board Singapore

Goodreads link.


I loved this. The stories aren’t all consistent either in quality or in theme, but there are some amazing ones that knock it out of the park. Because of the way the stories are laid out, the initial few stories left me with a strong feeling of this being very much like a Neil Gaiman collection; though later on different strands and influences started showing through. The most notable stories for me were:

The City Born Great: reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s city writing – both the one issue of Sandman and the introduction he wrote for the Sim City manual

Red Dirt Witch: Gaimanesque in the choice of villain, but I loved how it brought a black American twist / perspective to the story

L’Alchimista: a very sweet short story of the sort I read in fantasy anthologies growing up and can’t put a specific name to the exact parallels

The Effluent Engine: alternate methanepunk history! New Orleans and Haiti! Lesbian James Bond! This story is delightful.

The Trojan Girl: notable in that I disliked it – The Matrix style fiction seems a little overdone now. Even the twist / Aesop at the end didn’t make up for it despite being good.

Valedictorian: not sure how I feel about this. It appeals a little too much to a sense of being a special snowflake, I think. Still very good.

The Storyteller’s Replacement: very Gaimanlike again.

The Evaluators: epistolary. Reminiscent of 1960s-70s (I think) Asimov type science fiction / horror.

Walking Awake: creepy as hell. I recommend like anything.

The Elevator Dancer: a very nicely done vignette out of a dystopia

On the Banks of the River Lex: What happens to the gods after human extinction? Surprisingly upbeat.

Too Many Yesterdays, Not Enough Tomorrows: I didn’t think this was that great. But it tickled a sense of nostalgia for when everybody was blogging. It is such a product of those times and I don’t think anybody could write anything like this again.

Non-Zero Probabilities: Seems like a quick response to a writing prompt, with no plot. Lots of fun anyway.

Sinners, Saints, Dragons, and Haints, in the City Beneath the Still Waters: Hurricane Katrina fiction that’s thematically similar to The City Born Great

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