fantasy · own voices · speculative fiction

Falling in Love with Hominids by Nalo Hopkinson

Falling in Love with Hominids

Falling in Love with Hominids by Nalo Hopkinson

Genre: Speculative Fiction

Publication Date: August 7 2015 by Tachyon Publications

Source: ARC via Netgalley

Falling in Love with Hominids presents over a dozen years of Hopkinson’s new, uncollected fiction, much of which has been unavailable in print. Her singular, vivid tales, which mix the modern with Afro-Carribean folklore, are occupied by creatures unpredictable and strange: chickens that breathe fire, adults who eat children, and spirits that haunt shopping malls.

Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this introduction to Nalo Hopkinson’s work. I can’t wait to read more of her work in the future because I loved the speculative worlds in this short story collection. I particularly enjoyed the stories with sensuous and visceral character transformations. I liked the grounded sense of realism in the worldbuilding and diverse mythos across the stories. There is also a short contextual note on inspiration before each piece. A few favourites:

– The Easthound –

It started off with a simple game between wary kids which builds up towards an intense monstrous twist at night.

– Message in a Bottle –

A cynical narrator’s late night conversation with a time-traveler. I loved the humour of the piece and the reflections on life and art:

Every shell is a life journal, made out of the very substance of its creator, and left as a record of what it thought, even if we can’t understand exactly what it thought. Sometimes interpretation is a trap. Sometimes we need to simply observe.

Art helps us know how to do change. That’s made it very valuable to us.

– The Smile on the Face –

I was obsessed with dryads as a child but I love hamadryads even more after reading this coming of age story. In this story, the heroine finds herself empowered by drawing on the words/stories close to her heart in the midst of an ugly (potentially triggering) situation.

– Ours is the Prettiest –

I want to experience a magical masquerade in a Bordertown. I’ve always enjoyed diverse urban fantasy stories. This is no exception.

– Shift –

A wonderful Afro-Caribbean revisionist take on characters from The Tempest.

– Snow Day –

I liked the randomness of this fantastical short story. I appreciate a good Oryx and Crake reference.

– Blushing –

Bluebeard inspired stories always creep me out. This micro-story is for the ones who like horror.

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7 thoughts on “Falling in Love with Hominids by Nalo Hopkinson

    1. I used to only reading collections if one of my favourite authors had contributed to an anthology – but I’m glad I picked up this one. I’m also happy it piqued your curiosity. I usually read and blog about novels but recently, I’ve been on a speculative short story kick.

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  1. This one sounds so interesting, especially the mythology that it uses. They all sound fantastic, especially The Smile On the Place, Ours is the Prettiest and Blushing!

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    1. I’m so glad it caught your eye. I also want to read Welcome to Bordertown (YA urban fantasy anthology) set in the urban realm which inspired Nalo Hopkinson’s ‘Ours in the Prettiest.’ Plus, it has short stories from some of my favourite writers – Catherynne Valente, Patricia Mckillip and Neil Gaiman.

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  2. This sounds so interesting, but… possibly not like something that would suit my reading tastes. A couple of the stories sound really interesting, and the range of ideas is fantastic, but I guess we’re all particular in our reading tastes. I’m glad it was enjoyable for you (if not the Bluebeard one), and I hope you’ll review more of the author’s work! I’d love to see what you thought of a full novel.
    Lovely review.xx

    Liked by 1 person

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