Short Fiction Spotlight: Falling in Love with Hominids by Nalo Hopkinson

Welcome back to the Short Fiction Spotlight, a space for conversation about recent and not-so-recent short stories. While we’ve had a bit of a hiatus, I’m glad to be back—and discussing a recent short story collection by a writer whose work I usually very much enjoy, Nalo Hopkinson. Falling in Love with Hominids contains one original story, “Flying Lessons,” and seventeen reprints spanning the past fifteen or so years. It’s a wide-ranging book, though as Hopkinson’s introduction argues, it is possible to trace the development of the writer’s appreciation for our human species throughout.

This, for me, was also a fascinating look back at reading I’ve done over the past several years. Five of the stories I’ve discussed here previously (“Left Foot, Right” from Monstrous Affections; “Old Habits” from Eclipse 4; and “Ours is the Prettiest” from Welcome to Bordertown; “Shift” and “Message in a Bottle” from Report From Planet Midnight). However, I’d previously read at least half in previous publication—more than usual for most collections.


Series: Short Fiction Spotlight

Japan’s Folklore Chronicler, Shigeru Mizuki (1922-2015)

Have you ever been walking along and felt the creepy, unsettling feeling that something was watching you? You met Betobeto-san, an invisible yōkai, or folklore creature, who follows along behind people on paths and roads, especially at night. To get rid of the creepy feeling, simply step aside and say, “Betobeto-san, please, go on ahead,” and he will politely go on his way.

What we know of Betobeto-san and hundreds of other fantastic creatures of Japan’s folklore tradition, we know largely thanks to the anthropological efforts of historian, biographer and folklorist, Shigeru Mizuki, one of the pillars of Japan’s post-WWII manga boom, who passed away yesterday at the age of 93. A magnificent storyteller, Mizuki recorded, for the first time, hundreds of tales of ghosts and demons from Japan’s endangered rural folklore tradition, and with them one very special tale: his own experience of growing up in Japan in the 1920s through 1940s, when parades of water sprites and sparkling fox spirits gave way to parades of tanks and warships.

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Supergirl Reminds Us Why Female Entrepreneurs and Superheroes Can’t Get Angry

Now that I’m out of the haze of binge-watching Jessica Jones and writing about it, I’m settling back in to watching Supergirl (which just got picked up for a full season!) through what feels like a new lens. Compared to the literal and figurative darkness of Jessica Jones‘ contained miniseries-like structure, Supergirl is sunny and optimistic and open-ended. And whereas Jessica Jones devoted its entire first season to sexual assault and mind control, and the PTSD resulting from these, Supergirl tackles more of the day-to-day sexism women face. There is some overlap, however, such as with the issue of anger: Jessica Jones harnesses hers as fuel, whereas Kara Danvers must restrain hers.

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Time of Departure Sweepstakes!

We want to send you a copy of Douglas Schofield’s Time of Departure, available now from Minotaur Books!

Schofield’s debut novel is a genre-crossing mystery full of spellbinding twists. Florida state prosecutor Claire Talbot is as tough as they come, and not everyone loves her for it. Newly promoted Felony Division Chief, Claire has about as many jealous detractors as she does supporters. Some colleagues are openly skeptical about her youth, her abilities, and even her gender. When a highway project construction crew unearths two skeletons in a common grave, Claire reopens an investigation into a string of abductions that took place before she was born. While researching the file, she meets retired cop Marc Hastings, who once worked on the case. He maneuvers his way into the investigation—and into Claire’s life.

Marc has an uncanny familiarity with Claire’s habits, and she begins to realize that not all is as it seems. The detective urges Claire on, mysteriously convinced that only she can solve the case. Together, they unearth more graves. But then, disaster strikes … and Claire finally discovers what Hastings knew all along. It’s a secret almost too shocking for a sane mind to grasp. The key to the killings may lie deep in Claire’s own past. But what if Claire’s past lies in her future?

Comment in the post to enter!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States and D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec). To enter, comment on this post beginning at 2:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on December 1st. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on December 5th. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor:, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

Spend December Contemplating the Bond Between Animal and Man!

We read fantasy for many reasons, and one of the best reasons is to delight in the wild variety of animal characters that act as the companions, guides, benefactors, and occasional thorn-in-the-side of their fictional humans. Here we’ve corralled and caged some of our favorites—from wolves bonded to humans, half-rats on the run from the law, patriarchal anthropomorphic tigers, and uplifted elephants—into a prose-based Noah’s Ark allegory! Check out all the creatures great, small, and telepathic below, and be sure to add your own favorite fantasy animals in the comments.

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The Wheel of Time Reread Redux: The Great Hunt, Part 26

Hi! The Wheel of Time Reread Redux is, once again, a-go-go! Whoo!

Today’s Redux post will cover Chapters 46 and 47 of The Great Hunt, originally reread in this post.

All original posts are listed in The Wheel of Time Reread Index here, and all Redux posts will also be archived there as well. (The Wheel of Time Master Index, as always, is here, which has links to news, reviews, interviews, and all manner of information about the Wheel of Time in general on

The Wheel of Time Reread is also available as an e-book series! Yay!

All Reread Redux posts will contain spoilers for the entire Wheel of Time series, so if you haven’t read, read at your own risk.

And now, the post!

[Besides, he probably liked the fencing club better anyway. Once he reinvented it, of course]

Series: The Wheel of Time Reread

J.J. Abrams Wrote The Force Awakens’ Cantina Music with Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda

How does a bastard, orphan, son of a Sith and a queen
Dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot on Tattooine…

And here I thought my favorite remix of the Star Wars Cantina music would always be the disco theme. On The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last night, J.J. Abrams revealed yet another talented collaborator on the new Star Wars trilogy: Hamilton creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda!

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Everyone Loves Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Because Han Solo is the Hero

While the first Star Wars film is a cultural landmark, its position in the zeitgeist would be far wobblier (I can use wobblier in this context, right?) if its sequel had been less than stellar. And as I’ve discussed elsewhere on the site, it easily could have been—all you have to do is read Splinter of the Mind’s Eye to glimpse that alternate future.

But this movie? Who could have predicted that the sequel to Star Wars would be considered by most (in this day and age, at least) to be the greatest film of the series?

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Series: Star Wars on

Sometimes a Skull-Faced Lotus is Just a Skull-Faced Lotus: “Ex Oblivione” and “What the Moon Brings”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories.

Today we’re looking at two very short stories: “Ex Oblivione,” written in 1920 or 1921 and first published in the March 1921 issue of The United Amateur, and “What the Moon Brings,” written in June 1922 and first published in the May 1923 issue of The National Amateur. Nowadays we have fewer magazines with “amateur” in the title, and more internet.

Spoilers ahead.

[“Those moon-cursed waters hurried I knew not whither”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread


“One car, five cheerleaders, and a totally disregarded speed limit: these are the things that dreams are made of.” But when Heather and her friends head to a rest stop, they drive straight into the middle of a bad horror movie—well, to be fair, as a former zombie, Heather is always in the middle of a horror movie… is pleased to present Seanan McGuire’s short story, “Fiber”, originally published in the Shawn Speakman’s Unbound anthology—available now from Grim Oak Press. Like Unfettered before it, the contributing writers of Unbound were allowed to submit the tales they wished fans of genre to read—without the constraints of a theme. It is an anthology filled with some spectacularly new and wonderful stories, each one as diverse as its creator.

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Sleeps With Monsters: S.L. Huang Answers Nine Questions

Today we’re joined by S.L. Huang, author of the Cas Russell books—superhero stories in where the main character is less of a hero than the protagonist of batshit pulp noir. Huang’s novels are independently published, and I for one find them an awful lot of fun. Explosions, mysteries, mathematics, and compelling characters: it’s a good mix.

She’s agreed to answer a few questions for us, so without further ado—

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Series: Sleeps With Monsters

What Rape Apologists Need to Learn From Jessica Jones

Kilgrave: “We used to do a lot more than just touch hands.”
Jessica: “Yeah. It’s called rape.”
Kilgrave: “What? Which part of staying in five-star hotels, eating at all the best places, doing whatever the hell you wanted, is rape?”
Jessica: “The part where I didn’t want to do any of it! Not only did you physically rape me, but you violated every cell in my body and every thought in my goddamn head.”
Kilgrave: “That is not what I was trying to do.”
Jessica: “It doesn’t matter what you were trying to do. You raped me again and again and again—”
Kilgrave:How am I supposed to know? I never know if someone is doing what they want, or what I tell them to.”
Jessica: “Poor you.”
Kilgrave: “You have no idea, do you? I have to painstakingly choose every word I say. I once told a man to go screw himself—can you even imagine.”

—Jessica Jones 1×08 “AKA WWJD?”

Marvel’s Jessica Jones is about rape. There’s no way around it. The comic book series Alias, in depicting the villainous Purple Man and his ability to make you follow his every command, skirts the issue. But the Netflix series tackles the subject matter head-on, using the word “rape” unflinchingly, asserting in nearly every episode what Kilgrave did to Jessica. How could it not? 2015 has been the year of rape in fiction and real life, from watching Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz carry her mattress around campus to the triumph of Mad Max: Fury Roads Wives using their own chains to escape Immortan Joe—witnessing survivors of repeated sexual assault and slavery take back their control.

But Jessica Jones isn’t just about a survivor getting retribution for her rapist’s crimes; it also presents us with her rapist, over and over, and his belief that he did nothing wrong.

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Jessica Jones Wants You To Do The Hero Thing

Hot off her Alias reread, Tansy Rayner Roberts reviews Netflix’s Jessica Jones. In this post: “AKA Top Shelf Perverts” and “AKA WWJD.” Spoilers for season 1.

Episode 7: AKA Top Shelf Perverts

Written By: Jenna Reback & Micah Shrift
Directed By: Simon Cellan Jones

Not content with invading her childhood home, Kilgrave spends some personal time in Jessica’s apartment office, spraying his territory by peeing in her toilet.

Enter Ruben the soppy neighbour boy from upstairs, who blurts out to the stranger in the lovely suit that he has brought banana bread for Jessica “because he loves her.” Aw, Ruben, no.

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