Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Nalo Hopkinson Is Falling In Love With Hominids
Falling In Love With Hominids is a collection of science fiction short stories from Nalo Hopkinson. I’ve read Nalo Hopkinson’s work before, so her style of writing is not new to me. I had mixed feelings about this selection of stories. Some are my favorite tales from her, others I skimmed just to get through them.
Some of these short stories are exactly that; they have a beginning and an end. Others are snippets from novels not yet written, experiments, and ideas. The former is not my favorite kind of story. I end up feeling like I turned the TV on in the middle of a movie. Who are these people? What are they doing? Where are they going? I need to know things or I’m lost.
I’ll talk about the stories I really enjoyed.
Falling In Love with Hominids starts off well with The Easthound, a werewolf kind of tale where puberty brings unwelcome changes. Message in a Bottle is about an eerily precocious child. The Smile on the Face might be my favorite, a girl going through puberty learns to exert her own power and agency with the help of a tree spirit. It’s such a sweet and uplifting story. Emily Breakfast is different from the other stories. It seems like a tale of an ordinary day with a missing chicken mystery, but some of the people in the neighbourhood might be a little strange, and maybe there’s something about that chicken too. Old Habits involves ghosts who haunt a shopping mall. Blushing is a sinister twist on the Bluebeard tale.
I’ve discussed one of the short stories from this collection before, Left Foot, Right Foot, which appeared in the anthology Monstrous Affections. Also included in Falling In Love with Hominids is a story commissioned by the CBC for Canada Reads. Former jurors were challenged to write a story incorporating the titles of the five contenders, including Oryx and Crake! The result was Snow Day. She deserves a hand for that one.
Something that I liked about Nalo Hopkinson’s writing here is how she takes the legends, myths, and folklore of a number of cultures, including Caribbean, Indian, and European, and puts her own spin on them. The characters are from all walks of life: rich and poor, black and white, straight, gay, and bisexual. It’s most definitely diverse and if you haven’t signed up for Aarti’s A More Diverse Universe, it would be perfect for that. There’s something for everyone who enjoys SF.
Thanks to Tachyon Publishing for the review copy. All opinions are my own.