Jemisin, N K

Tagged: Author

(1972-    ) US psychologist and author, mostly fantasy, who began publishing work of genre interest with "L'Alchimista" in Scattered, Covered, Smothered (anth 2004) edited by Jason Erik Lundberg, and who is best known for her first two sequences. The Inheritance Trilogy – comprising The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (2010), which won a Locus Award for best first novel, The Broken Kingdoms (2010) and The Kingdom of Gods (2011) – can be understood in terms of dynastic fantasy, but the intricacy of the worldbuilding, and the complexity of a shaping Mythology which functions as far more than convenient backstory, give a sense that Jemisin has engaged upon an extensive exploration of the possibilities of Fantastika in general. Similarly the Dreamblood sequence comprising The Killing Moon (2012) and The Shadowed Sun (2012) can be understood as transcending its cod analogies to the mysteries of ancient Egypt. Both series clearly address a range of Gender issues (see also Feminism).

Some of the stories assembled in Systems Fail (coll 2014) with Hiromi Goto are sf. The Broken Earth sequence beginning with The Fifth Season (2015), though fantasy in its timbre, is set in a world where relationships between "normals" and Posthumans refracts and examines contemporary prejudices (see Race in SF). This book won the 2016 Hugo award for best novel, and was followed by The Obelisk Gate (2016), whose Dying Earth texture, with Magic and Technology inextricably mixed, is even more riddled with complexities, as a second generation of protagonists enters the picture; it won the 2017 Hugo for best novel. The third volume in the sequence, The Stone Sky (2017), focuses on relationships between family romance and the fate of the planet; this received a Locus Award for best fantasy novel and both the Nebula and the Hugo for best novel. The awarding of three successive Hugos for the three volumes of a trilogy is an unprecedented acknowledgement of popularity. Jemisin is also an influential blogger.

Jemisin has not focused heavily on short sf, though some of the tales assembled as How Long 'til Black Future Month? (coll 2019) are sf, including "Walking Awake" (June 2014 Lightspeed), whose protagonist is possessed by an Alien. [JC]

Nora K Jemisin

born Iowa City, Iowa: 19 September 1972




The Inheritance Trilogy


The Broken Earth

individual titles


  • Systems Fail (Seattle, Washington: Aqueduct Press, 2014) with Hiromi Goto [coll: each author taking approximately half the volume: pb/Lynne Jensen Lampe]
  • How Long 'til Black Future Month? (New York: Orbit, 2019) [coll: hb/Lauren Panepinto]

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