At BOOK RIOT, Liberty Hardy includes Nalo Hopkinson’s FALLING IN LOVE WITH HOMINIDS among the 100 must-read contemporary short story collections.
Of all of the 100 must-read lists I have done so far, this was probably the easiest, because there are so many amazing contemporary short story collections. Story collections are such a gift: a whole bunch of different stories in one convenient place! What fun! The following list is made up of the first 100 collections that popped into my head. I have read and loved each of them. (And I probably have enough titles to do a sequel—stay tuned!) And by “contemporary” I mean “published this century.” (Which still gave me eighteen amazing years to choose from!)
Cover art by Nilah Magruder
UNCANNY (March/April 2018) reprints Hopkinson’s story “Old Habits,” which also appears in FALLING IN LOVE WITH HOMINIDS.
Ghost malls are even sadder than living people malls, even though malls of the living are already pretty damned sad places to be. And let me get this out of the way right now, before we go any farther; I’m dead, okay? I’m fucking dead. This is not going to be one of those stories where the surprise twist is and he was dead! I’m not a bloody surprise twist. I’m just a guy who wanted to buy a necktie to wear at his son’s high school graduation.
I wander through Sears department store for a bit, past a pyramid of shiny boxes with action heroes peeking out of their cellophane windows, another one of hard-bodied girl dolls with permanently pointed toes and tight pink clothing, past a rack of identical women’s cashmere sweaters in different colours; purple, black, red and green. The sign on the rack reads 30% off, today only! It’s Christmas season. Everywhere I wander, I’m followed by elevator music versions of the usual hoary Christmas classics. Funny, a ghost being haunted by music.
I make a right at the perfume counter. It’s kind of a relief to no longer be able to smell it before I see it, to no longer have to hold my breath to avoid inhaling the migraine-inducing esters cloying the air around it.
Photo: Sanna Pudas
Ryan B. Patrick for CBC shares the books and writers that changed Nalo Hopkinson’s life.
“My father was a Shakespearean-trained actor, so I got to see a lot of the plays performed. This meant they made much more sense to me when I read them. And Shakespeare, of course, has a fair number of fantastical elements in his work.”
Shattered Like A Glass Goblin by Harlan Ellison
“I read works that were fantastical because my brain is skewed that way. I could figure out life — because I was having one — so I wanted something that was outside the ordinary. Not to say that regular fiction can’t be outside the ordinary, but I wanted folklore, futuristic stories and magical stuff. So that’s what I always looked for
Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany
"Delany’s approach to writing is what many define as postmodern today. He broke science fiction and opened up the idea of what was possible. Dhalgren was a very experimental novel in many ways. He had characters of colour at the centre. Eventually, at some point, I realized he was Black and that was wonderful — to see that there were other people like me in the genre.”
Alice B. Sheldon/James Tiptree Jr.
“I was a voracious reader in the past. I was reading a host of feminist writers, particularly Alice B. Sheldon, known by the pen name of James Tiptree Jr. Her analysis of male-female relationships in science fiction had a big effect on me.”
For more information on FALLING IN LOVE WITH HOMINIDS, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover art by Chuma Hill
Design by Elizabeth Story