Falling in Love with Hominids presents over a dozen years of Hopkinson’s new, uncollected fiction, much of which has been unavailable in print. Her singular, vivid tales, which mix the modern with Afro-Carribean folklore, are occupied by creatures unpredictable and strange: chickens that breathe fire, adults who eat children, and spirits that haunt shopping malls.
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First off, I requested this book for review from Net Galley a while ago, but I never got around to reading it before it’s publication date, so this review is a late one seeing as it has now been published!!
Each short story is preceded by a little authors note, and the first story had a mention of Star Trek in regards to the way train announcements sound. Which of course, had me grinning from the beginning because I am Star Trek Trash™.
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Anyway, the first story is a really strong one and I can see why it was put right at the start. It’s called ‘Easthound‘ and it’s so dark and sad… A post apocalytpic future where there’s some kind of virus that infects you as soon as you hit puberty and so kids are unfortunately always on alert, especially with their own packs as you can never know when someone is going to turn. Or as they say, ‘sprout‘. I almost want to know more about the pandemic, but not really because it is actually quite disturbing and almost Lovecraftian in a way. I know if I read a full book like that it will worm it’s way into my mind and never leave and I will be even more uneasy around 13 year olds than normal.
The explanations before each short are really neat! Nalo Hopkinson often lays out how she came about creating the following story and what inspired her, etc. It gave me a better appreciation and understanding for each short story. Even though the stories were strong as they were, the added explanation helped make their impact stronger!
‘Smile on the Face‘ was really neat!! It’s such a sweet and meaningful little story about self acceptance as a teen. And also what happens if you swallow a cherry pit. Which may or may not be entirely true. I want to believe it’s true because the result is becoming otherworldly and that sounds pretty amazing. Even though all teen girls are amazing otherworldly in their own rights, it’d be neat to amplify your own awesomeness when you needed it as a teen.
‘Left Foot Right‘ was really creepy. Which I think is a running theme with a lot of these stories. Which isn’t bad! Just a lot of these are kind of confusing for me and spooky. Which is not entirely what I enjoy. I enjoy spooky! Just not the confusing part…
‘Old Habits‘ is SUCH a cool concept!! I’ve seen it a handful of times before but I really liked this version of it!! Basically it’s about a bunch of ghosts who are stuck in the mall where they died. It’s quite sad as they have to relive their death at least once a day, if I’m not mistaken. But it’s kind of bittersweet to as it also includes children and babies who died at the mall. They also have no idea what happens if they leave the mall because it’s all emptiness and blackness, but some of them have lost it as they miss having their senses so much – like smell and taste – among other things, and so they have left. Like I said, it’s kind of a bittersweet story but I would totally love to see a full novel of this! Either like a quite Buffy-esque type YA story or even just a novella of the musings of a Mall Ghost.
‘Emily Breakfast‘ was the last story in the collection that I really enjoyed!! I am a bit of a sucker for stories that are told from the point of view of animals, especially cats. Cats are such interesting critters. They are so independent and I’ve always loved to know what they got up to when we’re not around. The other bit I loved about this short was the fact that it seemed to take place in a queer witch/wizard village of sorts. Like a coven of queer magical folk who just decided to settle down somewhere far from non-magical and queer-phobic people. Which I think sounds amazing and I want to go there. Or at least read more about this place. GIVE IT TO ME!!!!!!!!!
Overall I enjoyed this anthology, even though I felt there were some stories that were a bit confusing to me, either with the flow of the story or the concept or what not. I wasn’t disappointed though! The title is a good indication of the content of the anthology. The word Hominid instead of another similar word, makes me think of humanoid creatures, so people who aren’t really human but appear to be. Which a lot of the stories are more or less about, people who aren’t entirely Human or normative. Sneaky sneaky!! But smart. Like I said, this book is about finding ways to feel for a variety of living beings who are, “same same but different“.
FALLING IN LOVE WITH HOMINIDS: 3 Books!
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