How Long 'til Black Future Month?

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How Long 'til Black Future Month? is the first collection of science fiction and fantasy short stories by fiction writer N. K. Jemisin. The book was published in November 2018 by Orbit, an imprint of Hachette Book Group. The name of the collection comes from an Afrofuturism essay (not included in the book) that Jemisin wrote in 2013[1]. The stories were written between 2004 and 2017, and some include seeds of ideas that later became full-length books.


In the introduction, Jemisin notes that she didn’t think she could write short stories but, after attending a weeklong workshop, decided to spend the next year trying to write short fiction to improve her longer fiction[2]. The collected stories were published between 2004 and 2017, and include themes of race, power, culture, family, gender, sexuality, destruction and redemption, dystopia, magic, and technology.[3][4][5] The stories are:

  • “The Ones Who Stay and Fight”
  • “The City Born Great”
  • “Red Dirt Witch”
  • “L’Alchimista”
  • “The Effluent Engine”
  • “Cloud Dragon Skies”
  • “The Trojan Girl”
  • “Valedictorian”
  • “The Storyteller’s Replacement”
  • “The Brides of Heaven”
  • “The Evaluators”
  • “Walking Awake”
  • “The Elevator Dancer”
  • “Cuisine des Mémoires”
  • “Stone Hunger”
  • “On the Banks of the River Lex”
  • “The Narcomancer”
  • “Henosis”
  • “Too Many Yesterdays, Not Enough Tomorrows”
  • “The You Train”
  • “Non-Zero Probabilities” (nominated for both the Hugo and Nebula awards in 2010)
  • “Sinners, Saints, Dragons, and Haints, in the City Beneath the Still Waters”


The Los Angeles Times called How Long 'til Black Future Month? a "marvelous and wide-ranging debut story collection," noting that "some of Jemisin’s strongest stories deal explicitly with the horrors of racism in a world that is recognizably our own."[5] NPR called it a "time capsule" containing seeds of future novels.[4] Because the collection contains stories written over more than a decade, it also shows Jemisin's growth as an author. One line in her introduction captures the change: "Now I am bolder, and angrier, and more joyful; none of these things contradict each other. Now I am the writer that short stories made me."


  1. ^ "How Long 'til Black Future Month?". Epiphany 2.0. 2013-09-30. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  2. ^ Jemisin, N. K. (2018). How Long 'til Black Future Month. Orbit. pp. vii–xii. ISBN 978-0-316-49134-1.
  3. ^ "Gary K. Wolfe Reviews How Long 'til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin". Locus Online. 2018-11-28. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  4. ^ a b "Gorgeous 'Black Future Month' Tracks A Writer's Development". Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  5. ^ a b Hand, Liz. "'How Long 'Til Black Future Month?' collects the marvelous short fiction of N.K. Jemisin". Retrieved 2019-02-22.