Review – Report from Planet Midnight

Cover of Report from Planet Midnight by Nalo HopkinsonReport from Planet Midnight, Nalo Hopkinson

I’ve meant to read something by Hopkinson for a while — in fact, at one point I was a chunk of the way through Midnight Robber. I’m not sure what happened then; had to give it back to the library, maybe? But I’ve been meaning to have another crack at it sometime soon, and this is definitely encouraging. The two short stories are well-crafted, and I especially love the voices she gives to Ariel and Caliban and Sycorax. I didn’t read it as the ‘house nigger’ and the ‘field nigger’, as some of the notes on it mention; afterwards, I immediately felt it was obvious.

The non-fiction commentary is great, too. I felt like despite this being the ‘Outspoken Authors’ series, Hopkinson still felt the need to hold back on/qualify her opinions and feelings a bit; there’s a diffidence, almost defensiveness, that upset me a little. Like, do we really need to make a world where an author of colour feels she has to repeatedly state that books by white men are fine and she reads them and she just wants more diversity? I did the same in my post about my Female Authors Only Month project, it’s true, but… it annoys me. Let’s quit acting like wanting more stories from some people means we want to silence other people, okay?

Still, Hopkinson said a lot of incisive and true things about fandom, race, literature, people. And I’m sure there are white folks reading it who feel like she’s making a stab at them (at a guess, if Vox Day or the Sad and Rabid Puppies read this, they might have apoplexy). And I love that she isn’t a bit ashamed about having fibromyalgia and the effects it has on her: so many people are dismissive about it, and given that Nalo Hopkinson is a woman of colour, I bet there’s plenty of people adding that to their list of reasons why they don’t have to listen to her. Which is rubbish, but definitely what I’ve observed.

Rating: 4/5


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