Saturday, May 22, 2021

The City We Became (Great Cities #1) by N.K. Jemisin

The first of the Hugo nominees that I read this year, knowing it to be a nominated work. The novel continues, or perhaps rather elaborates, the short story which was nominated in 2017, “The City Born Great” by the same author. I didn’t much care for that story, so I approached this novel with some trepidation. The basic plot is about the same: New York City is waking up as a character. The separate parts of it have already been created, there are people who have sketchy memories of their past and are drawn together, all except Staten Island, who apparently is an asshole and works with the forces of evil that constitutes a white, Lovecraftian horror, which partly manifests as racism and capitalism, and wants to destroy our universe. I wonder what the author has against that part of the city? The story of the novel was better than the original short story, but I didn’t really care about the blatantly obvious political message (I don’t even disagree with it, but I don’t enjoy it when politics are rubbed on my face like I am a naughty puppy). The book felt pretty badly overlong with too frequent discussions of the injustice of it all. The writing itself was pretty good, though. Of the two nominated books I have read, this is clearly the worse one.

448 pp.