Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Red Dirt Witch, by N.K. Jemisin

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(Black Historical Fantasy) In the closing years of segregation, Emmaline uses her magic to help neighbors and protect her children, for trouble is coming. (7,448 words; Time: 24m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ Moving Story with Rich, Authentic Characters
Recommended By: JStrahan

This story is not available free online; you have to purchase the issue.
"Red Dirt Witch," by (edited by Daniel JosΓ© Older), appeared in issue 60, published on .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: Emmaline has a simple goal: protect her children from the Red Lady. She achieves that, at great cost.
The epilogue reveals that the Red Lady honored her end of the bargain, and we're gratified to learn it. And to learn that Emmaline herself may go free when the power of superstition is finally destroyed for good.

The descriptions of the lives and personalities in the "Negro neighborhood" ring true, as do the concerns of a single mother anxious about her children's futures.

Con: We're not really sure about the extent of Emmaline's powers until she uses them, and that takes a bit of the punch out of the climax. The plot is robust but simple.

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N.K. Jemisin Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB

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