Three-time Hugo Award winner and NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin challenges and delights readers with thought-provoking narratives of destruction, rebirth, and redemption that sharply examine modern society in her first collection of short fiction, which includes never-before-seen stories.
"Marvelous and wide-ranging." -- Los Angeles Times"Gorgeous" -- NPR Books"Breathtakingly imaginative and narratively bold." -- Entertainment Weekly
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In this excellently titled collection, Hugo Award–winning novelist N. K. Jemisin gathers her vivid and sumptuous Afrofuturist tales, which blur the line between fantasy, science fiction, and magical realism. The stories cut across time and space—they’re set in parallel worlds or post-Katrina New Orleans or 1950s Alabama—and explore identity, belonging, and empowerment. First and foremost, though, these short fictions are enchanting and exciting stories, peppered with dragons, alchemy, and utopian alien civilizations. Jemisin isn’t just critiquing our everyday world with her mind-expanding speculative fiction—she’s celebrating its magical potential.
In 22 powerful and mind-expanding stories, several of which appear for the first time here, Hugo winner Jemisin (The Stone Sky) pushes boundaries, experiments with format and theme, and challenges expectations. While her tales span science fiction and fantasy, certain themes of defiance, feminism, and self-acceptance shine through no matter what the setting or premise. A king devours a dragon's heart to restore his virility in "The Storyteller's Replacement," only to experience unexpected consequences. A gifted chef is challenged to test new recipes by a mysterious benefactor in "L'Alchimista." In "The Effluent Engine," a Haitian spy meets her match in an American inventor. In "Walking Awake," a tale inspired by Robert A. Heinlein's The Puppet Masters, a woman enslaved by parasitic aliens is given a chance to both avenge and free humankind. Throughout these stories, Jemisin's versatility is on full display, giving her diverse protagonists numerous chances to shine. Though not every story will resonate with every reader, there's something in this collection for just about everyone, and many of the works are memorable gems. Those who only know Jemisin for her groundbreaking novels will be impressed all over again by her short fiction, and it serves as an excellent introduction for those unfamiliar with her work.