Rachel Thompson

#LitMagLove: The Offing's Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

chanda prescod-weinstein

The Offing is an online literary magazine that publishes "work that pushes literary and artistic forms and conventions" and seeks out and supports work by and about those often marginalized in literary spaces. Their new editor-in-Chief, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, is one of fewer than 100 Black American women to ever earn a Ph.D. in Physics. She is an expert in theoretical cosmology and is also internationally recognized for her anti-racist, feminist, and pro-queer writing and activism.

Our Top Posts of 2016

2016 may have sucked, but on the bright side, it inspired some incredible writing (see #3 on this list). Last year we shared our top 15 most-read posts of 2015, and I thought I'd continue the trend—and so, here are the ten most-read posts on roommagazine.com in 2016.

Falling in Love with Hominids

By 
Nalo Hopkinson
Tachyon Publications, 234 pages, $15.95
2016
Reviewed by 
Rachel Thompson

Falling in Love with Hominids is a collection of fantastical short stories filled with an innovatory mix of characters grappling with existential and everyday questions—what’s for breakfast? should I bring a child into the world? how did that elephant land in my living room? Written over  the course of a decade, many of the stories play well together, sharing a succulent, earthy-otherworldliness that Nalo Hopkinson’s fans know and adore.

Character is king here. Hopkinson always imbues her narratives with awareness of race, class, gender, and privilege that never gets in the way of the story—yet it’s remarkable because it underscores the lack of this awareness in most media. A fierce opening story, “The Easthound” has post-apocalyptic teenagers so fleshed out and intriguing that they blow away the paper-thin “heroes” dominating most YA books and cinema.

Though it’s not a YA book, there are quite a few young characters given the compassionate Hopkinson treatment: notably in a hamadryad-myth based tale, where a “fat” teen fuses with a tree spirit to triumph at a cruel party game. In the book’s introduction, Hopkinson describes her development from despondent teen to a fifty-something optimist who learned to “trust humans in general will strive to make things better for themselves and their communities . . . despite the fact that sometimes I just need to shake my fist at a mofo.”

There are occasions in this book where there isn’t enough room to establish an alternate world and tell a story there, particularly in the micro-fiction pieces. This and a few devices that feel forced, such as the story entirely narrated to a rat-orchid hybrid, are the only things not to fall in love with in this otherwise adoration-worthy collection.

Hopkinson’s reframing of The Tempest uses a dual narrative and themes of internallized racism told by now-siblings Ariel and Caliban: “The real storm? Is our mother Sycorax; his and mine. If you ever see her hair flying around her head when she dash at you in anger.” And the story “Old Habits,” situated in a ghost mall, where in the first paragraph the narrator tells us, “This is not going to be one of those stories where the surprise twist is and he was dead!

All in all, Falling in Love with Hominids is an entertaining and humane book that affirms why Junot Díaz refers to Hopkinson as “one of our most important writers.”

Shelfie Post #7: Rachel Thompson

Getting a peek of an avid reader’s bookshelf is one of life’s simple pleasures. If you’ve ever shown up to a house party and gone straight to the host’s bookshelf, you know how satisfying it is to snoop through other readers’ libraries. The editors of Room love reading (obviously), and we’re giving you a glimpse of our shelves and sharing how we get the most out of our sacred reading time.

Pages

Currently on Newsstands

  • Room Vol 40.1: Food
    Room 40.1, Food
    Edited by Rose Morris, Kayi Wong

    In this issue:

    Sarah Beck, Ashwini Bhasi, Kat Cameron, Lucas Crawford, Dora Dueck, Marilyn Dumont, Rebecca Fishow, Veronica Fredericks, Rachel Jansen, Jane Kirby, Alexis von Konigslow, Lee Lai, Tess Liem, Alice Lowe, Tanis MacDonald , sab meynert, Silvia Pikal, Marika Prokosh, Keyu Song, Sylvia Symons, Ivy Tang, Carol Wainio, Kayi Wong, Catriona Wright, Nicole Xu

    .

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