Over the holiday, The Fifth Season author N.K. Jemisin shared some exciting news on her blog: her occasional reviews of science fiction and fantasy books for The New York Times Book Review has now become a new column focusing entirely on science fiction and fantasy! The first installment of “Otherworldly,” a bimonthly column, highlights new works by China Miéville, Emma Newman, Charlie Jane Anders, and Keith Lee Morris (along with a lovely illustration by Jing Wei).
“As a black woman,” Jemisin told The Guardian in 2015, “I have no particular interest in maintaining the status quo. Why would I?” On her blog, she gives an idea of what speaks to her:
I like books that feature complex characters, period, but stereotypes piss me off and stuff I’ve seen too often bores the shit out of me. I don’t “believe in” the Campbellian Hero’s Journey, for pretty much the same reasons as Laurie Penny. Obviously I’ve got a thing for worldbuilding and secondary world or offworld stuff. I believe wholeheartedly in the idea that we all should get to dream, and I look for books that let me.
Readers can expect the following formats to shine in “Otherworldly”:
I’m an eclectic reader, so the new column will obviously feature science fiction, fantasy, horror, some YA, some graphic novels, some anthologies, and even some nonfiction where it impacts the genre. I’ve got no problem with self-published or small-press books, although I believe the NYT has a policy forbidding selfpubs if they can’t be found in “general interest” bookstores, whatever that means.
A note to authors and writers: Works should be sent to the New York Times’ general review address, Jemisin stresses, otherwise she won’t see them. Neither will the Times’ small army of book reviewers, many of whom will be reviewing science fiction, fantasy, and horror outside of the “Otherworldly” column.
The first installment of “Otherworldly” appears in print in the January 3rd edition of The New York Times Book Review.