N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season

Read this a couple of months ago.  Do not have much to say. It won the Hugo. Characters were well-drawn.  In general, I do not like fantasy-sci fi “mixes” where magic and science co-exist.  The underlying premise, that the scientists really have no explanation (and often not even curiosity) about why some humans (or some aliens) would have magical powers when others do not, or how magical powers would work in a physical universe with rules, makes me impatient.  It is too much like villagers in Burkina Faso, who happily tell tall tales of witches and sorcerers, but when you ask, faux innocent, “If they can be invisible, why do they need to chop off the head of a person to get rich , could they not just invisibly walk into a bank?” They glare at you for spoiling the story.

Unless, of course, the whole point is to lovingly pay homage to novels that do have science and magic co-existing (e.g. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell).

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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