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Book Review: How Long ’til Black Future Month?

How Long ’til Black Future Month is a collection of short stories by NK Jemisin. Ever since I came across her Broken Earth Series, I’ve been a huge fan. It was a real treat to read her explorations in this book.

The Imagination

I gotta give major applause to Jemisin because the range of her imagination is wild! Some stories are sharp and witty in their commentary on society, while others have an undertone of religion, albeit with fresh (may one argue, necessary?) twists. Others have the apocalyptic futuristic sci-fi vibe that we all love. A few were downright hair-rising creepy (in a good way, of course). Not all stories have an equal punch to them, but for me, the great ones definitely outnumbered the ordinary few. Some of my favorites were: Red Dirt Witch, L’Alchimista, The Effluent Engine, The Trojan Girl, and The Narcomancer.

Experiments

Every bit as enjoyable and eye-opening to read is Jemisin’s self-written introduction to How Long ’til Black Future Month. On the writing aspect, it was fascinating because she credits her ability to write longer-form novels to short stories. She says, “writing short stories taught me about the quick hook and the deep character.”

The worlds of her longer series were originally tested out via short story form, and indeed it was cool to see that play out. The short story Stone Hunger became The Broken Earth series, and it was rather nostalgic to see an earlier version of that world.

Black Characters

One of the reasons I love NK Jemisin is that she doesn’t shy away from anger. Of course, POC books can be escapism too, and don’t have to be about social issues all the time. But in the hands of Jemisin, they become both. They are both great escapist avenues while still bringing to light centuries of racism.

“I still wrote black characters into my work because I couldn’t stand excluding myself from my own damn fiction.”

NK Jemisin

NK Jemisin often states that she has no interest in maintaining the status quo, and indeed her writings are about challenging existing paradigms, overthrowing order, and reimagining the future. The vibe of her stories reminds me of the poet Maya Angelou. Jemisin’s own words sum it best:

“Now I am bolder, and angrier, and more joyful; none of these things contradict each other.”

NK Jemisin

Rest assured I am on a mission to read all her works.

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A New Series!

My blog besties, I’m sorry to update y’all kind of late on this new scifi project I’ve started (!!!!). After Elements (Nishaverse #3), I had already plotted out the next book in the series. It’s set to be a standalone happening a couple of years after the final events in Elements. However, as the Muse usually whispers in odd ways, I got this idea…

When the Muse Whispers

Ok it’s not really sudden because I’d been thinking about it for a while. Plus there was this phase of my life back several years ago when I was just obsessed with theoretical physics, string theory, M-dimension, and all that. I’d always wanted to write a story that happens in several dimensions at the same time, and how they (the characters, the dimensions) relate to each other.

Then I kid you not I hear this TikTok sound that’s trending (below) and BAM that was what got this sci-fi romance draft started. So obviously we know that I’m clearly not over my obsession with theoretical physics. Second I am probably having too much fun on TikTok. BUT DO NOT JUDGE THE MUSE! If it comes, it comes.

What’s It About?

So what do we know about this new series? Well, the setting is in Nusantara (the new capital of Indonesia) 25 years from now. Our heroine is inspired by the Netflix Arcane series – Jinx and also her sister Vi. This new series is a young adult science fiction romance. Aaaand, of course, there is a parallel world to which they travel.

I wrote and wrote (and wrote) earlier this year. After the first draft was finished (March 2nd) hubby read it and gave some crucial feedback. This was a very important worldbuilding aspect I hadn’t been able to grasp: how time works in the parallel world they travel to. I also had to go through the whole draft and change ALL the tenses. I’d written it in third person past tense but then felt that first-person present tense was what the story needed.

Draft 2.0

I finished the second version of the draft earlier this month (April 2022) and am now just letting my wonderful beta readers and editor go through it (slay through it is probably more accurate). I’m nervous but well that’s just part of it. In the meanwhile, I’m doing as much reading of classic sci-fi for reference: Dune, Ancillary Justice, and The Left Hand of Darkness. I also plan to check out 2 mangas for reference: Full Metal Alchemist and H2O. I just need to find them…

If you have science fiction recommendations for me, let me know! To read some of my other works, visit the shop. Every purchase helps this wayfaring author, so thank you, readers!!