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Alaya Dawn Johnson

Fiction and Excerpts [2]
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Fiction and Excerpts [2]

Read an Excerpt From Alaya Dawn Johnson’s “Reconstruction”

In Reconstruction, award-winning writer and musician Alaya Dawn Johnson digs into the lives of those trodden underfoot by the powers that be: from the lives of vampires and those caught in their circle in Hawai’i to a taxonomy of anger put together by Union soldiers in the American Civil War, these stories will grab you and not let you go.

We’re thrilled to share an excerpt from the title story from the collection, publishing January 5, 2021 with Small Beer Press.

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Downstream From History: What Makes a History ‘Alternate’?

I kept trying to write about alternate history, but the concept turned slippery and strange in my grasp. Alternate history, I thought, over and over, until it became six syllables in an arcane language, a mantra, a riddle. This is just your Covid brain, I thought. I told my editor I’d get it to her in a week. I told her that many weeks ago, and I’m still here, trying to figure out why what ought to be a simple sub-genre label has begun to strike me as a fundamental category error.

It invites a simple definition: alternate history is history that isn’t real. But how is it not real? It diverged from a specific point that we know to be real? It explores history? Or it explores the present through the lens of history? Why do we draw a line between those two things, “present” and “history,” as though there were some clear demarcation between them? If we are living downstream from history, then what is our relationship to imagined history? Is it the same as an imagined present? Are our alternate timelines running alongside us, tumbling forward in our collective memories, yearnings and resentments, constantly reflecting and forming counterpoint to our actual stream?

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Read the First Chapter of Alaya Dawn Johnson’s Trouble the Saints

An assassin falls in love and tries to fight her fate at the dawn of World War II…

Alaya Dawn Johnson’s Trouble the Saints is a magical love story, a compelling exposure of racial fault lines, and an altogether brilliant and deeply American saga. Publishing in June 2020 with Tor Books, we’re excited to preview the first two chapters below!

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