Tag Archives: Afrofuturism

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 87: How Long ‘Til Black Future Month by N.K. Jemisin

I have a question for readers.  Has there been an author or authors you have tried repeatedly to read? N.K. Jemisin has been one of those authors for me. Jemisin has gained recognition in the science fiction and fantasy genre over the past several years with groundbreaking works like the Broken Earth and Dreamblood series. I have tried several of her novels and never been able to finish any of them.  However, I can be a stubborn reader and not give up on an author so quickly after disappointment.

Finally, I have made my way through one of Jemisin’s books and her short story collection, How Long ‘Til Black Future Month, finally provides the entryway to her interesting and thought-provoking storytelling. I consider short story collections the stepchildren of an author’s oeuvre. Most readers prefer novels and short story collections are mostly for diehard fans of that author.  However, I believe they can be a gateway to an author’s body of work and should not be overlooked if that writer’s novels don’t grab your attention initially.

Jemisin writes in her introduction that she is not a short story writer but puts this collection together as another avenue to reach readers.  I would agree with her initial assessment as a short story writer because some stories in the collection felt like they were preludes to longer pieces of fiction. However, there are several stories that stood out like L’Alchimista, the story of a chef that receives unusual ingredients from a mysterious customer who wants her to create the perfect dish.  Cloud Dragon Skies is Jemisin’s take on the dragon trope that is a staple of fantasy fiction and she does an excellent job of subversion in that story. Red Dirt Witch is a fantastic story that blends the Celtic Fey mythology with a black woman that has visions about the Civil Rights Movement and the result of those efforts.

As with all short story collections, the reader will not connect with every story in the book. However, I have learned about Jemisin’s incredible skills as a writer and storyteller.  She has a fantastic imagination and knows how to build worlds as well as anyone in the science fiction and fantasy genre.  How Long ‘Til Black Future Month (I love the title and cover) is a solid place to start for those readers who have not read her work.

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 73: The Dark Fantastic by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas

“The principles of the dark fantastic are so ingrained in our collective consciousness that when the expected pattern is subverted, most audiences cannot suspend disbelief. Readers and viewers complain that dark heroic protagonists are not likable. Critics observe that the characters, settings, circumstances, and resolutions are unbelievable. Agents regret that they just cannot connect with… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 66: Brown Girl In The Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

Nalo Hopkinson is an author I have been wanting to read for a long time.  I have seen her novels over the years but had not gotten around to reading one until now.  Hopkinson tends to get overlooked in the current trend of black authors writing science fiction or fantasy. I don’t why that has… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 50: Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

I want to update a review from 2012 for one of my all-time favorite novels, Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. Parable of the Sower is the story of Lauren Olamina, a teenager growing up in a grim LA suburb where their gated community provided a semblance of a normal life while anarchy reigned… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 36: Binti Home by Nnedi Okorafor

Can you ever go home again? Binti Home by Nnedi Okorafor attempts to answer that question. Binti returns home after a year away on a spaceship at Oozma University. She brings her friend, Okwu, for support. However, the homecoming does not go as expected and the family treats Binti like a pariah. She discovers a… Continue Reading

Cassandra’s Revelation: A Kammbia Short Story

“Cassandra’s Revelation,” is about a chance meeting between Cassandra Applebaum, a sultry-voiced singer who hadn’t sung in years, and an old friend—one who saw Diondray stop a rainstorm. Inspired by her friend’s account, Cassandra penned a new song, “The One Who Made the Rain Go Away.” After a few days, she received a call from… Continue Reading