Thursday, April 11, 2019

How Long 'til Black Future Month?

N.K. Jemisin won three consecutive Hugo Awards for the three volumes of her Broken Earth trilogy. Not wishing to embark on a trilogy at the present time, I thought I'd try Jemisin's new short story collection, How Long 'till Black Future Month? (2018), as a taster before approaching her novels.  It contains twenty-two short stories, plus an interesting introduction by the author. One expects the first story in a collection to be a standout, and in this case, "The Ones Who Stay and Fight" (a kind of oblique response to Ursula K. Le Guin's famous story "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas") is a standout for all the wrong reasons. I found it dull and diffuse, and my reaction tempered my interest in reading further.  But I persevered, and found some better tales in "The City Born Great" and "Stone Hunger."  But the author's style never really won me over.  It might be described as stream-of-consciousness surreal.  The fantastical elements don't really make a great deal of sense.  They are just there as plot-devices or plot impediments.  I'm still planning to give the first volume of the Broken Earth series a try, but my interest has diminished.

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