Tag Archives: Science Fiction

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.

Marion’s Favorites: Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin Documentary

I just finished watching a documentary on Ursula K. Le Guin, the great writer of Imaginative and speculative fiction. I know that Le Guin has categorized and championed herself as a science fiction and fantasy writer.  After watching this documentary, I get why she has embraced the genre as where she belongs. However, I believe… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Review 51: Pacific Edge by Kim Stanley Robinson

Kim Stanley Robinson is one of the science fiction writers I have read throughout my reading life.  He joins Octavia Butler, Greg Bear, and Robert Silverberg as the science fiction writers I have found interesting and thought provoking to read. Pacific Edge is the third book of The Three Californias Trilogy and a book that… 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

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 31: Ascending by Meg Pechenick

What if you were the only person on a spaceship with an alien race? You were the person groomed to speak an alien language and take part in an intercultural exchange between planets? You would want to do it in the first place? If you did, how you feel about it? Excited? Optimistic? Groundbreaking? Or… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 20: Recursion by Blake Crouch

                I rarely read the “Summer Blockbuster Read” or “the book everyone is reading now”. However, I have seen Recursion by Blake Crouch all over book social media (Goodreads, Litsy, and Instagram) and people giving it high praise. Well, I stopped reading the Long Price Quartet by Abraham… Continue Reading