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PHOTO ESSAY

African American Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers

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N.K. Jemisin

N.K. Jemisin at the Soho Gallery for Digital Art, 3 May 2011. Photo courtesy of Houari B./www.flickr.com.

Since the early 2000s, N(ora) K. Jemisin has been one of the most influential short story writers in science fiction and fantasy, with highly imaginative work appearing in Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, Helix, and Weird Tales. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (book one of The Inheritance Trilogy), tells the story of Yeine Darr, an outsider whose actions help to bring about the downfall of an oppressive plutocracy. Kingdoms was nominated for a Hugo, a Nebula, and a Locus award in 2010–11. Thanks to her growing social media presence, Jemisin has used this subversive theme to discuss the issue of diversity in science fiction and fantasy, a genre that, despite its inherently forward-thinking nature, disproportionately represents white characters. "Revolution is on my mind a lot," she has said (1). The recent apocalyptic trend, in her opinion, reflects fears of societal change that her novel gleefully exploits. But besides providing a unique perspective on a well-worn archetype, Jemisin juggles multiple genres; thus, The Inheritance Trilogy combines elements of fantasy, mystery, romance, and political thriller. Her second series, Dreamblood, began in 2012 with The Killing Moon, and utilizes similar themes of magic and intrigue.

(1) http://whatever.scalzi.com/2011/10/27/the-big-idea-n-k-jemisin-2/

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