Part of what I like about FALLING IN LOVE WITH HOMINIDS is that it’s so very diverse. I don’t think there’s a single white protagonist (which is fine with me, not that Nalo Hopkinson needs my permission; there’s more than enough white protagonists to go around), and several of the protagonists are casually queer. There’s even a casual BDSM relationship in Emily Breakfast (well, the mention of it is casual, the relationship itself is quite serious and long-term). It’s really nice and it’s really beautiful and it’s really, really human.
Hmm, specific stories. The aforementioned Emily Breakfast is fabulous, about cats and chickens and the talents of both. Shift is a take on The Tempest that is just absolutely wonderful, particularly I think for POC (though, again, I’m white, I wouldn’t necessarily know, do NOT take my word for it). Ours Is The Prettiest is a Borderlands story, though you don’t need any Borderlands knowledge, that meditates on humanity, liminal spaces, and liminal people/species. Soul Case is short and heartbreaking, about what you have to trade for safety. Left Foot, Right is a take on Cinderella that prioritizes the sisters and their relationship. Men Sell Not Such In Any Town, which made me pick up Hopkinson’s novel Sister Mine. And Blushing, which you should read if you’re my girlfriend, is a fabulous take on Bluebeard that you just… just read it. I can’t say why it’s so amazing unless you read it.
Having named half the stories in the book, I think I’d better stop before I go on about all of them, but the entire book is wonderful. Definitely give it a shot. A+
In her chronicle about her time at Contact2016, Elizabeth of the Early Grey Services discusses The Sexy Lamps & the Bechdel Test panel.
Sexy Lamps & the Bechdel Test panel offered some interesting
opinions, with panel members stressing that works passing these tests
weren’t necessarily good. The tests simply offer a benchmark, or
place to start. For example, Maria Lewis pointed out that the movie
pass the Bechdel-Wallis test but that Mako Mori is still a badass
character with her own independence. Kate Cuthbert added that female
characters could talk about shoes and still pass the Bechdel-Wallis
test, but that wouldn’t necessarily make them fully realised
characters. It was also suggested that the Bechdel-Wallis test in
particular was easier to pass in literature than on film because
there’s generally more space in which to work.
Maria Lewis, Kate Cuthbert, Karen Simpson-Nikakis and Marlee Jane Ward discuss the Bechdel Test. (Source: Early Grey Services)
Rule is the racial corollary to the Bechdel-Wallis test and was the
topic of one of the panels I sat on with Devin Jeyathurai, Katryna
Starks, Christine Sun and Lois Spangler. Devin discussed what it was
like for him not to see himself represented in any of the literature
he read growing up, while Katryna touched on research that showed the
negative effects this lack of representation can have. Christine
brought up the Minority Highlander Syndrome: the tendency for
creators to think there can be only one in relation to diverse
characters. And I got a chance to fangirl over some positive
representations, citing SORCERER
TO THE CROWN by
Zen Cho, FALLING
IN LOVE WITH HOMINIDS
Nalo Hopkinson, THE
Sunil Patel and the SAGA
novel series by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.
William Doyle-Marshall at DE HATCHETMAN SPEAKS spotlights Nalo Hopkinson in his article “Our Authors Tell Remarkable Cultural Tales.”
February is known as “Black History Month” or “African-Canadian History Month”. I have frequently argued something is wrong with this designation. People of African Heritage make history daily in every field imaginable. This blog emphasizes their involvement in the literary field. A perfect example to be aptly noted. Three of our writers have presented us with material that captures our language and social involvement in this world.
World Fantasy Award Winner Nalo Hopkinson’s “Falling in love with Hominids” captures some Caribbean folklore and other cultural experiences in her science fiction genre. If your roots are implanted in Caribbean soil, you are likely to encounter familiar characters and sayings. In her story “Left Foot, Right” you come face to face with douens. These are characters we never really understood except that adults told us you should not go out at night in the dark yards otherwise you would encounter these creatures who are likely to take you away into the woods. And guess what would happen next? You would never be seen again.
For more information on FALLING IN LOVE WITH HOMINIDS, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover art by Chuma Hill
Design by Elizabeth Story