Saturday, October 23, 2021
Black authors have been at the vanguard of speculative fiction and fantasy for the past few decades, and today we have three talented practitioners to introduce us to the breadth and scope of the genre. Author and activist Lucinda Roy is perhaps best known for her poetry, essays, and literary fiction, but her new novel The Freedom Race is Roy’s first foray into speculative fiction, imagining a near-future Second Civil War, the reinstitution of slavery, and a high-stakes race where first prize equals freedom. In Shallow Waters, debut novelist Anita Kopacz imagines a mystical antebellum past, one where a powerful Orisha, a deity from Africa’s Yoruba people, travels to America in 1849 and, in the guise of a young Black woman, interacts with figures both historical and imagined. In A Master of Djinn, his first full-length novel following several successful novellas, P. Djèlí Clark also sets up an alternate history, this one set in 1912 in Egypt, whose people have embraced magical beings who both inspired innovation and also drove away the colonial powers. But all is not perfect in Cairo, as an investigation into a mysterious murder makes all too clear. Our guide on this journey through time and space is Quentin Lucas, a storyteller, Emerson MFA candidate, and GrubStreet writing instructor.
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