I'm suffering the melancholy that happens when you finish a really good novel. I'm sure everyone knows what I mean, that sense of loss because you've been evicted from the author's universe by "The End". In this case it's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
by N.K. Jemison. Really a lovely book, and the fact that it's a debut fills me both with awe and seething envy. I seethe at you, N.K. Jemison, as I order book two
In her acknowledgements Jemison cites Octavia Butler as an influence, which in my opinion is quite right-minded of her. I too am a Butlerite, heart and soul.
As I'm considering "Kingdoms", I find myself comparing Jemison's Yeine Darr to Butler's Anyanwu from Wild Seed
. Butler's legacy is clear in the composition of "Kingdoms", although Jemison certainly hasn't just mimicked our shared idol. Both main characters have been bred as goddesses, in effect. But Yeine's future is so divergent from the more sober ending for Anyanwu at the close of the Patternist series, I wonder if it isn't both a reflection not only of the natural differences between the two stories, but also a function of the times that shaped the authors?
Jemison is a great new writer, although I'm not saying she's Butler's equal. That is probably an impossibility for anyone. But what better tribute to Octavia Butler than that her influence is so beautifully represented in Jemison's novel? What higher praise can I give Jemison except to say, "Yes, you did Octavia justice - she would be proud of you."