For this first Short Stacks in 2020 I am sharing some of the novella’s I read last year. All of these are diverse in various ways. Either the authors are POC, the characters are POC or there is LGBTQ+ content. And some have it all.
Title: The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion (Danielle Cain 1) by Margaret Killjoy
Release Date: 2017
So many interesting ideas in this lovely novella that i througly enjoyed. I had honestly not heard of this before Tor had it as a free ebook of the month. But I am glad I grabbed it because this was great. A horror fantasy with queer representation. We need more of those.
You get dropped right into the action and I found that a little confusing at first but we get explanations quickly. It deals with anarchy, utopia and violence. Who can you really trust? The age old question in horror but it worked great here. The ending kind of lost me because I didn’t feel that we needed the addition of the police. And I thought the ending was a bit too easy. But everything else was just too great to be bothered by that for too long.
Title: Passing Strange by Ellen Klages
Release Date: 2017
Trigger Warnings: Suicide / Racial Slurs / Domestic Abuse / Prosecution for sexuality
Another one of those Tor free ebooks of the month and this one was a bit different. It is more of a historical romance with a dash of magic thrown in. The first part and last part are set in our world but everything inbetween tells the story of two females finding love with one another.
I didn’t end up falling in love with this one because I didn’t love the characters it was about. After the first part I had secretly hoped that Helen Young was the mc and she didn’t turn out to be so I was miffed haha. I liked her a lot.
On the other hand this book is still important to show what life was like in the 1940’s for lesbians, bisexuals and like minded people. As shown above in the trigger warnings, it deals with a lot of difficulties these females had to live through. And I think this might resonate a lot with those who see themselves represented on the page.
Title: A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson
Release Date: 2016
I’d had my eye on A Taste of Honey for a while so when I finally got to read it I was very excited. But it kind of fell flat for me. I can see a lot of potential but the story telling didn’t work for me. The switching between a period of 10 days and how the rest of his life went didn’t quite work a charm on me. I also struggled to get a good handle on the world building. Which is a shame because what I did see seemed really interesting. It is why I will still read the other novella set in this same world. I did really like Aqib though and wanted the best for him.
Title: The Murders of Molly Southbourne (Molly Southborne 1) by Tade Thompson
Release Date: 2017
The idea that everytime this girl bleeds a copy of herself is born that is bend on killing her is just so interesting. Because how? Why? And how do you continue your plot from there? However I was let down by the writing itself. It is written over the course of a few years, as a story that is being told to our MC. And the time jumping and writing style didn’t end up working for me personally.
Title: Binti (Binti 1) by Nnedi Okorafor
Release Date: 2015
Trigger Warnings: Graphic Violence / Mass Death / Racism
Oh Binti I really wanted to love you. Unfortunately that did not happen. The ebook I read had about 50 pages and that is not a lot of room to do worldbuilding in a world that is as ambitious as this. The cultural aspects of Binti’s heritage come forward very well. I have no complaints on that aspect. But the world building towards the science fiction was confusing at best and I had a hard time grasping the basics of this world.
Pages counts are calculated based on aprox. 250 words a page. Especially that last one cut off at 180 pages is iffy at best. Some novella’s are over 200 pages. But this is just meant as a guideline.