Published by Orbit on November 27, 2018
Genres: science fiction, short stories
Also by this author: The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate
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 city 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 figure out how to 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.
This was a gorgeous collection of short stories by the ever-brilliant Jemisin. The settings ranged from the past to the future and everywhere in-between, in this universe and the next. A few of the stories were a little heavy on the science for my taste, but there was always something compelling to keep me interested.
Some of my favorites were:
The Effluent Engine – steampunk and sapphic and set in 18th century New Orleans
Valedictorian – a world where being the best may mean giving up your family
Walking Awake – the story of a caregiver in a Get Out-esque situation
Stone Hunger – Set in Jemisin’s Broken Earth universe
I read this for the following reading challenges:
- 2021 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge — a book found on a Black Lives Matter reading list
- “Like, I loved so many stories in this anthology and I think it’s one of the best fantastical reads I have ever experienced. That’s what this was. An experience. Highly recommended if you want to step into this genre.” — Something Bookish
- “One thing through nearly all the stories is of course the discussion of the Black experience, including racism and being Black in America.” — Hedwig’s World
- “These are intelligent stories, full of commentary on the current state of our world. From the Jim Crow South to the abandonment of New Orleans to floodwaters, to future apocalypses brought on by our negligence and space exploration spurred by climate destruction, Jemisin’s stories have footholds in reality that are hard to ignore.” — Goddess in the Stacks