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Publisher's Summary

Three-time Hugo Award-winner N. K. Jemisin's first collection of short fiction challenges and enchants with breathtaking stories of destruction, rebirth, and redemption.

N. K. Jemisin is one of the most powerful and acclaimed speculative fiction authors of our time. In the first collection of her evocative short fiction, Jemisin equally challenges and delights listeners with thought-provoking narratives of destruction, rebirth, and redemption.  

Dragons and hateful spirits haunt the flooded streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In a parallel universe, a utopian society watches our world, trying to learn from our mistakes. A Black mother in the Jim Crow South must save her daughter from a fey offering impossible promises. And in the Hugo Award-nominated short story "The City Born Great", a young street kid fights to give birth to an old metropolis's soul.

For more from N. K. Jemisin, check out:

The Inheritance Trilogy:

  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
  • The Broken Kingdoms
  • The Kingdom of Gods
  • The Inheritance Trilogy (omnibus edition)
  • Shades in Shadow: An Inheritance Triptych (e-only short fiction)
  • The Awakened Kingdom (e-only novella)

Dreamblood Duology:

  • The Killing Moon
  • The Shadowed Sun
  • The Dreamblood Duology (omnibus)

The Broken Earth:

  • The Fifth Season
  • The Obelisk Gate
  • The Stone Sky
©2018 N. K. Jemisin (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"The stories are wonderful. In worlds both invariably cruel and brilliantly imagined, heroism thrives in the margins." (Nicky Drayden, author of The Prey of Gods)

"There are so many things in How Long 'Til Black Future Month - from firebirds to Megacops, from truffles to hurricanes, from utopias (maybe) to civil rights marches - that it's impossible to describe. Except to say that every single story here is riveting, provocative, and remarkable. An extraordinary story collection from an extraordinary writer!" (Connie Willis, Hugo and Nebula Award winner)

"[E]loquently develops a series of passionately felt themes.... [O]ne of speculative fiction's most thoughtful and exciting writers." (Kirkus, starred review)

What listeners say about How Long 'Til Black Future Month?

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 03-05-19

Great! One quibble with the audiobook editing

Brilliant writing, narrated well. I loved the variety of stories - the author, Jemisin, covers a lot of ground. I bought this book because I really enjoyed the Broken Earth trilogy, and I enjoyed her short stories even more. I loved the variety of her fantasy worlds, from magic cooking to computers to dirigibles to personified cities, and the differences in her story-telling styles. She comes to this book with an agenda of seeing more diversity in fantasy writing, and she delivers on that, too.

The narrators all do a great job, and I enjoyed the variety of readers.

My only criticism is that there are no pauses in between stories - they are treated like chapters, rather than unique short stories. I wish Hachette Audio had added a few seconds for the listener to gather themselves and let the story sink in, instead of immediately launching into the next without a pause. Like the moment of utter silence of an audience after a great musical performance. These stories deserve that.

76 people found this helpful

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Good, but inconsistent, collection

This collection is great if you're a fan of some of Jemison's longer works because you see the origins of sever lal of her novels here. Having said that there are a couple stories that I'd give 11 out of 10 stars and some that I'd give 2 or 3 so from that perspective a collection where all the stories are a solid 5 or 6 might seem like a better time investment. Still, because readers have such different tastes I think the beauty of this collection is that there will be a story that will appeal to many types of readers from the foodie to the historian to the sci fi and fantasy reader.

7 people found this helpful

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Beautiful

A wonderful collection of stories, from other worlds and our own, conceived and developed by Jemisin, then excellently brought to life by a host of narrative voices.

14 people found this helpful

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Fantastic collection of stories!

Loved these stories, a variety of speculative styles but each engaging, and loved the use of multiple narrators --made it easy to tell the stories apart and get drawn into each unique story.

12 people found this helpful

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Great story

The stories were really good. But there was one of the readers, that spoke too fast and didn’t leave any breathing room between sentences. Overall good and I love Jemisin’s work.

5 people found this helpful

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Urban Sci-fi

I enjoyed that there were various stories in this book. The stories were all interesting concepts. Some definitely held my attention more than others did. I think some of the stories were really good but ended so abruptly that it felt like there was no true ending to the story. If you enjoy sci-fi I would recommend this book to you.

10 people found this helpful

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I Really Tried

I really tried to get into this book, but I just could not do it. Out of the collection of stories, only two or three held my attention. I really hate that I could not love this book.

11 people found this helpful

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N.K. Jemisin is Amazing!

I would like to thank N.K. Jemisin for reminding me what imagination is. She has created so many worlds in this collection it boggles the mind that they all came from the brain of one person! Her writing is smart, poetic (in many different voices) and can also be very funny. The speakers are top-notch — extremely talented at bringing all these disparate characters to life. I highly recommend this book and the Audible version in particular.

7 people found this helpful

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Index of stories and lengths

Some stories really spoke to me, others not so much, as you might expect from a varied collection of short stories. Here's an index, with lengths, that readers might find helpful in planning how much time to budget to listen to each story. I strongly prefer to listen to short stories without having to pause in the middle of a story.

"Too Many Yesterdays, Not Enough Tomorrows" is definitely a story for the pandemic, as it deals with a time of social distancing and quarantining in homes.

Title Length Synopsis
"The Ones Who Stay and Fight" 0:28:38 The narrator contrasts the near-utopia of Um-Helat with Omelas and America.
"The City Born Great" 0:42:21 A homeless person is taught by his friend Paulo to become New York City. Later developed into The City We Became (2020).
"Red Dirt Witch" 0:52:31 A practitioner of magic in Alabama confronts a fairy woman who seeks to take one of her children.
"L'Alchimista" 0:36:06 A chef is challenged by a stranger to prepare a recipe he provides.
"The Effluent Engine" 1:24:05 A Haitian spy in New Orleans seeks to recruit an engineer to invent an airship engine powered by effluent from sugar distillation.
"Cloud Dragon Skies" 0:27:12 A girl interacts with a scientist from people who live in the sky as they seek to correct effects accidentally made to the atmosphere.
"The Trojan Girl" 0:49:38 Beings of artificial intelligence in a simulated world seek to incorporate the computer code of a new being.
"Valedictorian" 0:40:22 A graduate must decide whether she will allow herself to be taken away by transhumans who remove the most intelligent people from her society.
"The Storyteller's Replacement" 0:26:16 The narrator tells the story of a king who hunted dragons believing that eating their heart would allow him to sire a son.
"The Brides of Heaven" 0:27:30 A woman tampers with the water treatment system on a planetary colony where only the women have survived.
"The Evaluators" 0:30:14 By reading through communication logs, the fate of a first contact team on an alien world is assessed.
"Walking Awake" 0:41:06 After working for years to assist members of a parasitic species to transition into new human bodies, a woman worker decides to rebel.
"The Elevator Dancer" 0:08:32 In a repressive society, a security guard seeks a woman who he witnesses, on a surveillance camera, dancing in an elevator.
"Cuisine des Mémoires" 0:35:58 An unbelieving man visits a restaurant that can re-create any meal from history.
"Stone Hunger" 1:02:05 A girl tracks the stone-controlling man responsible for destroying her town. Later developed into The Fifth Season (2015).
"On the Banks of the River Lex" 0:33:05 Death travels across a post-apocalyptic New York City and interacts with other personifications, such as Sleep and Nursery Rhymes.
"The Narcomancer" 1:20:28 A religious leader is pressured to procreate with a woman though he does not wish to break his vow of celibacy. Later developed into The Killing Moon (2012).
"Henosis" 0:15:50 A writer interacts with a fan before and after an award ceremony.
"Too Many Yesterdays, Not Enough Tomorrows" 0:23:35 In a vastly depopulated world that resets every day, survivors maintain social interactions via electronic communication.
"The You Train" 0:15:53 A woman encounters mysterious subway cars in New York City.
"Non-Zero Probabilities" 0:21:39 After the laws of probabilities abruptly change, affecting only New York City, a woman learns to accept the new reality.
"Sinners, Saints, Dragons, and Haints, in the City Beneath the Still Waters" 0:53:19 A man stranded in New Orleans during its 2005 Hurricane Katrina flooding event seeks supplies but is being followed by spirits.

2 people found this helpful

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So Enjoyable!

I particularly enjoyed the memory story. Jemisin's detailed description of the preparation of the food and the food itself made me long for a taste. Too, it revealed meticulous research or an intimate top chef knowledge of food or both. The last story was appropriately the final one, and left me feeling quite satisfied.
Overall, well-imagined stories.

4 people found this helpful