By James Nicoll Reviews
February 6th, 2018
Nalo Hopkinson’s 2012 Report from Planet Midnight is a collection. It is the ninth volume in PM Press’s Outspoken Authors series.
“Message in a Bottle” • (2004) • short story
Greg feels intense antipathy towards children; nevertheless, he finds himself drawn into the life of an odd child, Kamla. Greg is rewarded for his efforts with a glimpse of his own contribution to the human destiny.
Most of us won’t even make it to “notable smudge between adjacent layers of sedimentary rock.” I don’t know what Greg is so upset about.
Report from Planet Midnight • essay
This is a speech given to the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts on the theme of “Race in the Literature of the Fantastic.” It covers issues raised by events connected with “RaceFail ‘09”, a brief discussion of which may be found here.
In these days of tranquil racial egalitarianism, it may be hard to imagine that once, in the long ago, there was considerable tension whenever persons of colour in SFdom expressed a desire that they be treated with respect and dignity and that characters like them be written from an informed perspective. But yes, children, the conversation re RaceFail was often heated and acrimonious. Indeed I suspect that certain events concerning the Hugos were in part inspired by a particular demographic that reacted angrily to the increased inclusiveness within SF following RaceFail ‘09 and related events.
“Shift” • (2002) • short story
A young man with very specific tastes does his best to woo a young woman despite the ever-present threat that his sister and mother might discover what he is up to and provide unrequested assistance. As it happens, they do discover and do interfere. What is poor Caliban to do?
As it turns out, Caliban is not exactly the victim in all this and his relatives have good reason to be vexed with his habits.
Knowledge of The Tempest is recommended but not necessary in order to enjoy this short piece.
Correcting the Balance • interview of Nalo Hopkinson • interview by Terry Bisson
This is a very wide-ranging discussion, touching on subjects from film adaptations, race in speculative fiction, arts grants, and much more.
Bisson and Hopkinson cover a surprising number of topics given the interview’s limited word count.
Bibliography (Report from Planet Midnight) • essay by uncredited
What it says on the tin.
My only complaint about this book is its brevity. I didn’t think to check the length before I committed to reading and reviewing it. I have nobody to blame but myself. What is here is insightful and engaging. The collection certainly merits the money and time needed to acquire and read it.