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How Long 'til Black Future Month?: Stories…
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How Long 'til Black Future Month?: Stories (edition 2018)

by N. K. Jemisin (Author)

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1,4794812,638 (4.25)63
N. K. Jemisin is one of the most powerful and acclaimed speculative fiction authors of our time. In the first collection of her evocative short fiction, Jemisin equally challenges and delights readers with thought-provoking narratives of destruction, rebirth, and redemption. In these stories, Jemisin sharply examines modern society, infusing magic into the mundane, and drawing deft parallels in the fantasy realms of her imagination. Dragons and hateful spirits haunt the flooded streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In a parallel universe, a utopian society watches our world, trying to learn from our mistakes. A black mother in the Jim Crow South must save her daughter from a fey offering impossible promises. And in the Hugo award-nominated short story "The City Born Great," a young street kid fights to give birth to an old metropolis's soul.… (more)
Member:tehgrouse
Title:How Long 'til Black Future Month?: Stories
Authors:N. K. Jemisin (Author)
Info:Orbit (2018), Edition: First Edition, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:to-read

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How Long 'Til Black Future Month? by N. K. Jemisin

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» See also 63 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
10 gazillion stars. The writing goddess strikes again. ( )
  jazzbird61 | Feb 29, 2024 |
A solid collection, with some real bangers in the back half! Jemisin's fantasy is great, but I think the more sci-fi mood stories were some of the highlights. And it ends super strong - both 'On the Banks of the River Lex' and 'Sinners, Saints, Dragons, And Haints...' were heartbreaking and uplifting! I'll surely read both of them again. ( )
  Magus_Manders | Feb 7, 2024 |
First of all, I’d like to thank Vroman’s Bookstore of Pasadena, California, for sending me this book. I don’t doubt for a moment that I never would have found my way to these fascinating, metaphorical stories, told in N.K. Jemisin’s meticulous, crystalline, prose without Vroman’s generosity. The simple fact of the matter is that with very few exceptions, science fiction and fantasy have never been my cup of tea. I bear the genre no intellectual or readerly malice—it was just never something I developed an interest in reading.

So, I make an odd choice to receive, read, and consequently review a book like this one. Now that I’ve said that, I want to be very careful not to pigeonhole a writer of Ms. Jemisin’s talent and intelligence in the box that a genre identification can create; it is worth mentioning, in this connection, however, that she has apparently won all the major awards—Hugo, Nebula, and Locus—conferred on writers of science fiction and fantasy. Nonetheless, these are allegorical stories rife with highly literate and allusive plots and characterizations; they are more akin to what are called, at least in a course I took in one of this nation’s best liberal arts colleges, “novels of ideas.” This is a short story collection, so I suppose one would call these “stories of ideas.”

My own frame of reference for understanding these stories springs from philosophical allegories in fiction. But I also see them through the extremely limited frame of reference that my small amount of reading in science fiction—to wit, Philip K. Dick and William Gibson, furnishes me. To evaluate Ms. Jemisin’s stories through the lens of my experience of these two authors is of course reductive. I will say this, though: I’ve read most of Mr. Dick’s novels twice, and their salient characteristic, in my experience, is their concern with what it is that makes us human. You may recall, if you’ve read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? or seen the movie which sprang from it, Blade Runner, that the means to discover whether or not someone was a replicant (a cybernetic organism) was to test him or her for empathy. I rest my case.

A similar concern for humanity and humanness pervade Ms. Jemisin’s stories. The first story in the collection, “The Ones Who Stay and Fight” describes a city called Um-Helat that by any standard is a utopia—but for one of those hitches that…well, I’ll leave it at that, rather than spoil the story. The subtle way that Ms. Jemisin delivers the devastating contradiction in the story—and, well, the story itself—quickly acquainted me with Ms. Jemisin’s gifts as a writer.

Food serves as a metaphor for life in two of the most compelling stories, to my sensibilities, in this collection. To describe them in any detail (this might be said of just about every story in this book) is to betray their confidences, so I’ll simply name them and move on: “L’Alchimista,” a fascinating tale, and “Cuisine des Memoires.”

To my mind, the standout story in this collection, for a variety of reasons, is “The Effluence Engine.” Owing to my rather limited horizons in this genre, I couldn’t help but hear sonic resonance, even to the degree of syllabification, of Bruce Sterling and William Gibson’s masterpiece of counterfactual history (which as a genre of fiction is known as alternate history, speculative history, and hypothetical history) The Difference Engine. Again, this story will suffer from a summary, but it is certainly well within the genre of speculative history. For me, it was an exercise in wish fulfillment: in the time of the Haitian Revolution, the new nation is on the verge of becoming an economic superpower. Is there anyone who wouldn’t want that?

Blurbs are notoriously unreliable, and even dishonest at times; they are more an economic than a cultural enterprise. But one of the blurbs on this book, from award-winning science fiction and fantasy writer Connie Willis, really does accurately describe its content and merit: “Every single story here is riveting, provocative, and remarkable.” I agree, and I agree with the stipulation that I didn’t fully understand every one of these stories.

So, thanks again to Vroman’s for exposing me to this fine book. And Pasadenans? Get yourselves to Vromans! It looks like you might have one of the great American independent bookstores in your midst.
  Mark_Feltskog | Dec 23, 2023 |
Would give 10 stars if I could! Jemisin's writing is so vivid and engaging. I really wished that many of these tales were longer... What happened next?! A superior talent, for sure! ( )
  decaturmamaof2 | Nov 22, 2023 |
"Once upon a time, I didn't think I could write short stories." Thus begins the introduction to one of the absolute best short fiction collections that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Ranging the gamut of speculative fiction from fantasy through paranormal into science fiction and then to dystopian along with everything in between, these stories are dark and deep. Full of rich description, they sweep you away into worlds that seem impossibly well-constructed for being assembled in only a few pages. Each and every tale was a delight to read.

My author-crush on Jemisin is blooming into full-fledged love.

STORY BY STORY
The Ones Who Stay and Fight
5 stars
A powerful science fiction tale written in response to Ursula K. Le Guin's The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas that examines the truth of utopia.

The City Born Great
5 stars
A thrilling paranormal horror story with a Lovecraftian feel and a chase scene that left me both holding my breath and winded at the end.

Red Dirt Witch
5 stars
A witch faces down a fairy in a battle for her people in this historical paranormal tale.

L'Alchimista
5 stars
A charming tale of modern cookery and ancient witchcraft.

The Effluent Engine
4 stars
A woman from Haiti finds more than she is expecting in slavery-era New Orleans in this alternate history short.

Cloud Dragon Skies
5 stars
A vision of a far distant post-apocalyptic future revealing the relationship between those of us who fled and those who remained.

The Trojan Girl
5 stars
A science fiction tale focusing on the social lives and desires of A.I. born in the Internet.

Valedictorian
4 stars
In a dystopian post-war society, a girl flaunts social expectations in the face of dreadful consequences.

The Storyteller's Replacement
4.5 stars
A dark fantasy reminiscent of One Thousand and One Nights that leaves one faintly disturbed yet intrigued.

The Brides of Heaven
5 stars
A chilling science-fiction short where interplanetary colonists face hopeless odds including the madness of one of their own.

The Evaluators
5 stars
A first contact story that reveals a startling societal arrangement which could change humanity forever.

Walking Awake
5 stars
A dystopian short with themes of collaboration through ignorance, the self-destructive nature of humankind, and the pain of awakening.

The Elevator Dancer
5 stars
A dark and dystopian short about temptation, oppression, and perception of reality.

Cuisine des Mémoires
4 stars
A melancholy short fantasy centered around food and memories. It may leave you hungry as well as wondering about your choices in life.

Stone Hunger
4.5 stars
This is the story that eventually became the Broken Earth series. The story itself has a complete arc, yet it feels somehow incomplete. I suppose the author felt much the same. Perhaps it’s less that it’s incomplete and more that it leaves one eager to know more about this universe of magic, destruction, and, above all, hunger.

On the Banks of the River Lex
5 stars
In which the question is asked—what happens to our gods and incarcerations once humankind has finally self-destructed.

The Narcomancer
4.5 stars
One man struggles to find the path of righteousness when faced with a temptation that is both a sacred obligation and a violation of faith.

Henosis
5 stars
A dark examination of what it truly means to honor an artist. Written in an unusual sequence which may be read in two ways, which I highly recommend doing.

Too Many Yesterdays, Not Enough Tomorrows
5 stars
In a fragmented universe, with the survivors existing in isolated quantum islands, what makes the difference between survival and extinction?

The You Train
4 stars
A haunting tale of one woman’s journey of self-discovery in the subways of New York.

Non-Zero Probabilities
4 stars
When probability spirals out of control making both the best and worst kind of luck an everyday occurrence, a young woman finds her life entirely changed.

Sinners, Saints, Dragons, and Haints, in the City Beneath the Still Waters
5 stars
A man finds he has to battle more than he expected as he fights for survival after the levee breaks in New Orleans. ( )
  Zoes_Human | Oct 17, 2023 |
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
N. K. Jemisinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Butler, RonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eller, Robin RayNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lewin, PaulIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nelson-Holgate, GailNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Panepinto, LaurenCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Small, ShaynaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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N. K. Jemisin is one of the most powerful and acclaimed speculative fiction authors of our time. In the first collection of her evocative short fiction, Jemisin equally challenges and delights readers with thought-provoking narratives of destruction, rebirth, and redemption. In these stories, Jemisin sharply examines modern society, infusing magic into the mundane, and drawing deft parallels in the fantasy realms of her imagination. Dragons and hateful spirits haunt the flooded streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In a parallel universe, a utopian society watches our world, trying to learn from our mistakes. A black mother in the Jim Crow South must save her daughter from a fey offering impossible promises. And in the Hugo award-nominated short story "The City Born Great," a young street kid fights to give birth to an old metropolis's soul.

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