READING 1000 LIVES
praises Nalo Hopkinson’s FALLING IN LOVE WITH HOMINIDS.
The uniqueness of
her perspective also doesn’t mean that her writing is just for
people like her. It’s really important to have books by all kinds
of people, not just straight, white men. But that doesn’t mean that
a book by a straight, white man can’t speak to a queer, black
woman. Or in this case, the reverse. Hopkinson’s writing touches
all those qualities that her quote on Cordwainer Smith mentions. She
writes universal, core themes of what it is to be human, to deal with
despair and to fight it.
The opening story of
this collection, “The Easthound”, is an exquisite introduction to
the range of Hopkinson’s writing. Set in a post-apocalyptic world
where adults become ‘sprouted’ into creatures that kill and feed
upon the living, the story uses setting and a minimized plot as
backdrop to focus on characters and emotion. This balance – tending
towards what typically gets called literary – is typical of
Hopkinson’s stories. Also common for her work, here she takes a
general premise that should be familiar to science fiction fans and
puts on her unique twist. Her writing is not usually ‘light’
reading and some of her stories benefit from multiple reads because
nuanced characteristics aren’t at first registered. Yet, “The
Easthound” demonstrates that Hopkinson can write taut action
sequences amid more quiet moments of deep character introspection.
The language can vary from the straight-forward to a more artistic
poetry, such as lines in this story that form part of a ‘Loup-de-lou‘
game that children play.
collection conveys a feeling of reading folklore. Readers
particularly drawn to that style of fantasy will probably easily
enjoy Falling in Love with Hominids, as Hopkinson uses the style
effectively even in the context of a science fiction tale. Some of
the stories here have been included elsewhere, including “Best of…”
anthologies, pointing to Hopkinson’s success and recognition. If
you haven’t yet experienced her writing, there is no better place
to get a representative view of it as this.
Photo by David
Naz at READ DIVERSE
BOOKS includes the collection in their article Black Women As Heroes
And Role Models – A Reading List.
FALLING IN LOVE WITH
HOMINIDS – Nalo Hopkinson
This brilliant short
story collection has several stories with black women and girls as
leads. These girls and women defend their village from invading
European conquerors, have divine powers of creation, and overall
epitomize Black Girl Magic, sometimes literally!
At REDDIT, keshanu
compiles a selection of Recommended black science fiction and fantasy
This is a list of
black science fiction and fantasy authors that I decided to write in
the wake of the controversial posts made in the last couple of days
(here and here) about Fireside Fiction’s study on the lack of black
authors published in SFF short fiction magazines. I didn’t want to
be too presumptuous in making this post, because a number of authors
were already suggested in those threads. Ultimately, I went through
with posting anyways, because I am sure a lot of people missed or
intentionally skipped over those threads and the sub doesn’t have a
list of black fantasy authors yet like the one for women who write
fantasy. Besides, I love talking about favorite authors of mine.
One of the
traditionally recognized four black SFF authors N.K. Jemisin listed
in her interview with Fireside Fiction, Nalo Hopkinson is one of my
favorite writers, period, so I’m going to start with her. Born in
Jamaica, she’s lived in a whole lot of places, including Canada,
where she moved to with her family as a teenager, and the U.S., where
she currently lives. Her works have won numerous awards. Hopkinson’s
Caribbean influences are infused throughout her work. She’s also
your go-to author if you want to read about black LGBTQ characters.
Really for characters of all sorts of backgrounds, she’s got you
covered. She’s a great author to start this list off with, because
while some of her work won’t appeal to a lot of people, she’s got
a wide-range of styles, so I think there is something for just about
anyone in her work.
My favorite book by
her is undoubtedly THE SALT ROADS, a historical fantasy which follows
three different black women from different places and time periods
(pre-revolution Haiti, 19th-century Paris, & Ancient Egypt), who
are all bound by their connection to a sea-goddess, Ezili. If you
like your fantasy light on the magic, heavy on the history, and more
literary, this is your book. This isn’t a light read, if that’s
not your thing. There are great queer women in this book, beautiful
relationships, and it is probably the most erotic of her books that
I’ve read, for those of you whose thing that is. Word of warning:
Early on in the book is a scene with a chamber pot full of urine and
menstrual blood, which I know will put some people off of this book,
but I promise the rest of the book is not like that at all, so if you
can make it past that one scene, you’ll be fine.
On the fence about
Hopkinson and not sure if you have the time to try one of her books
out? Last year, she published a collection of some of her short
fiction, FALLING IN LOVE WITH HOMINIDS. This collection of full of
wonderful stories, mostly reprints, and I loved almost every single
one of them. Like her books, the stories are very diverse in
settings, style, themes, and characters.
For more information on FALLING IN LOVE WITH HOMINIDS,
visit the Tachyon
Cover art by Chuma
Design by Elizabeth Story