Flash! Future: N.K. Jemisin

HAPPY SUNDAY, you ice-bright dragons! To those who left offerings at the foot of the hoard–thank you! And to those who didn’t quite make it before close of contest, never fear, there’s always next Friday. 😀

While a whole entire day still lies between us and Fire&Ice results, I thought I might welcome you virtually to the glacial lair (not the afore-pictured, of course. We ice dragons like our secrets), to recognize one of the multiverse’s most luminary writers: N.K. Jemisin

N.K. Jemison

N.K. Jemisin, Laura Hanifin, copyright 2015.

So, who is this towering Flash! Future figure?

Name: N.K. Jemisin

Nationality: American

Best known for: The Broken Earth Trilogy


      • The Hugo Award, Best Novelette: “Emergency Skin” (2020)
      • The Hugo Award, Best Novel: The Fifth Season (2016), The Obelisk Gate (2017), The Stone Sky (2018)
      • The Nebula Award, Best Novel: The Stone Sky (2018), with 6 other nominations
      • Locus Award, Best Fantasy: The Stone Sky (2018) & The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (2011)

What she writes & why every SF/F reader should know her name.

In the world of Science Fiction & Fantasy, N.K. Jemisin is the future. Not only has she earned two of SF/F’s biggest awards–The Nebula & The Hugo–multiple times (to say nothing of her many, many nominations), she’s made Hugo history with three consecutive wins for a single series, The Broken Earth Trilogy. Just this month, she won The Hugo for her novelette “Emergency Skin,” and her latest novel The City We Became has already garnered high praise since its March release.

The shimmering wall of praise!

On Jemisin herself: “Jemisin’s realms are epic, lush, and peculiar. They feel lived in, painstakingly thought-through.” ~ Wired

On The City We Became: “It’s a glorious fantasy, set in that most imaginary of cities, New York. It’s inclusive in all the best ways, and manages to contain both Borges and Lovecraft in its fabric, but the unique voice and viewpoint are Jemisin’s alone.” ~ Neil Gaiman

On The Broken Earth Trilogy: “She burst on the epic fantasy scene with her earlier Inheritance trilogy (completed in 2011) and has pretty well conquered it with the Broken Earth.” ~ , The New York Times


World-building & Characterization: Just two of the Why’s for this ice dragon’s reverential regard.

Jemisin writes raw, skin and bone and spit characters. The kind that fight us, refuse to be fully loved or fully hated. The ones that reveal us, our prejudices, our assumptions, and demand we grow. She writes these characters and then plants them in worlds that, to paraphrase Jemisin herself, seem determined to break them. Worlds with depth and breadth. Worlds that echo our own.

But enough bellowing. Her own voice speaks.

“Tookie sat on the porch of his shotgun house, watching the rain fall sideways. A lizard strolled by on the worn dirt–strip that passed for a sidewalk, easy as you please, as if there wasn’t an inch of water already collected around its paws. It noticed him and stopped.

“Hey,” it said, inclining its head to him in a neighborly fashion.

“’Sup,” Tookie replied, jerking his chin up in return.

“You gon’ stay put?” it asked. “Storm comin’.”

“Yeah,” said Tookie. “I got food from the grocery.”

“Ain’ gon’ need no food if you drown, man.”

Tookie shrugged.

The lizard sat down on the sidewalk, oblivious to the driving wind, and joined Tookie in watching the rain fall. Tookie idly reflected that the lizard might be an alligator, in which case he should maybe go get his gun. He decided against it, though, because the creature had wide batlike wings and he was fairly certain gators didn’t have those. These wings were the color of rusty, jaundiced clouds, like those he’d seen approaching from the southeast just before the rain began.

From the short story “Sinners, Saints, Dragons, and Haints, in the City Beneath the Still Waters,” from the collection How Long ‘Til Black Future Month

Where can the hungry go for more? To the hyperlinks!  

This is barely a talon’s scratch across the iceberg, friends! For more info on N.K. Jemisin and her latest novel The City We Became, check out her website. You’ll find all her works there, with multiple sellers listed (in case Amazon isn’t to your dragony taste). Follow her on Twitter to stay future-informed!

2 thoughts on “Flash! Future: N.K. Jemisin

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