Nalo Hopkinson: An Introduction

By Latham, Rob | Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, Fall 2010 | Go to article overview

Nalo Hopkinson: An Introduction


Latham, Rob, Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts


NALO HOPKINSON'S FIRST NOVEL, BROWN GIRL IN THE RING (1999), WAS one of the most significant--and celebrated--debuts within recent science fiction. A winner of the Locus Award for best first novel, it also secured its author the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer of the year. An innovative fusion of gritty urban realism, near-future speculation, and traditional folklore, Brown Girl in the Ring established Hopkinson as a compelling new voice within the field. Her second novel, Midnight Robber (2000), was an equally ambitious melding of non-Western mythologies with the high-tech visions of cyberpunk: the eponymous trickster emerges at the interface of diasporic legend and cyborg fantasy, and the book's hybrid language--a cross between Creole vernacular and streetwise techno slang--reflects this ideological complexity.

Hopkinson, who was born in Jamaica and raised in Trinidad and Guyana, has acknowledged the influence on her sf writing of what she calls the "rich cook-up stew" of Afro-Caribbean culture. Her important work as an editor has done much to introduce this tradition to sf authors and fans: Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction (2001), Mojo: Conjure Stories (2003), and So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy (2004) are path-breaking anthologies that have infused the genre with invigorating new strains of energy. …

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