Nalo Hopkinson Special on Strange Horizons!

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Awesome! Strange Horizons are doing a special issue focusing on Nalo Hopkinson’s writing. Her short-story collection Falling in Love with Hominids was among my favourite reads of 2015, so I was super pleased to be asked to contribute a review.

As a fan of Weird fiction, which is a genre that has long been dominated by Old White Men, I can only recommend this book. I picked it up as soon as I saw the cover—an illustration of a dreaming young black woman with awesome hair and also fully dressed, which is still not something you automatically get with your generic SFF anthology or short story collection. I was so smitten with the stories contained therein that I changed the reading list for my upcoming course on Weird short fiction to incorporate “The Easthound” (the first story in the book), which offers a fascinating twist on zombie tropes, a children’s commune, solidarity, oral storytelling games, and world-building based on mondegreens. Like Angela Carter (but more radically so in my view), Hopkinson picks up old myths and fairy tales—in her case mostly Caribbean ones—and revives them using contemporary topics and characters with transcultural, postcolonial, feminist, and/or LGBT backgrounds. Her stories are very much about finding one’s place in the world, about battling hierarchies and systems of oppression, and about empowerment. Female readers need voices like hers, LGBT readers need voices like hers, and so does the genre of Weird fiction. (read more)

Review: Beauty Secrets of the Martyrs by Verity Holloway

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Happy New Year, everyone!

For me, the new year started with a look at my favourite reads of 2015, and then I went straight back to (academic and creative) writing.

But of course I can’t stop talking about books, which is why you’re already getting a new review. Beauty Secrets of the Martyrs is Verity Holloway’s debut novella. “If you like things that share the aesthetic of the Penny Dreadful TV series, with maybe a bit of the undead Jane Austen remix thrown in, you might like this book.”

Review: Three Moments of an Explosion by China Miéville

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My review of China’s new short story collection is up on Strange Horizons. This book has something for (almost) every kind of reader: composite monsters, complex characters, new and radically different zombies, fascinating worldmaking, unspeakable horror from deep underwater, sentient (socialist) dust, friendship and romance, archaeology, uncanny scrimshaw, burning stags, fake movie trailers, and even a touch of military SF. And my review even comes with a TL;DR, so don’t waste any more time and get the book. ;)