By Nalo Hopkinson
Caribbean culture meets sci-fi meets folklore meets thriller! This looks enormously fun — a unique story and a bewildering blend of influences; striking language and “lushly detailed worlds”, that add up to a special sui generis sort of book.
The book features “[c]omplex, clearly evoked characters, haunting descriptions of exotic planets, and a stirring story…” And it’s marked by very particular language and voice: “Caribbean patois adorns this novel with graceful rhythms…”
Many of the chapters open with myths, tales describing a planet of lore, drawing us with them into the story. There’s a kind of meta-narrator, perhaps an omniscient voice, denoted in a different font. Late in the book, we see this voice, these prefaces, merge with the main thread of the story in some as-yet-unknown way.
The striking cover caught my eye, but what sold me on this book as worth a second look and more is that it made me realize how impoverished so much science fiction is, and how a seemingly simple blend of topics and stylistic features can make a story stand out. Diverse and ambitiously creative voices like Hopkinson’s are vital for moving forward not only the genre, but all of literature, our entire capacity for imagining different worlds and possible futures.