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Skin Folk

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  361 ratings  ·  36 reviews
A new collection of short stories from Hopkinson, including "Greedy Choke Puppy," which called "a cleverly crafted West Indian story featuring the appearance of both the soucouyant (vampire) & lagahoo (werewolf)," "Ganger (Ball Lightning)," praised by the Washington Post Book World as written in "prose [that] is vivid & immediate," this collection reve ...more
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Published December 1st 2001 by Aspect
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What an amazing collection of speculative short stories!

I almost loved this as much as Octavia Butler's collection Bloodchild, which is the best sf/fantasy short story collection ever, in my opinion.

Full review to come on Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian.

Here's the review!

I’ve really been spoilt by fantastic short story collections this summer, and Skin Folk by Nalo Hopkinson is no exception. When I say fantastic, I mean it in more than one sense: these stories are remarkable, especially wrapped
Part of fantasy's appeal is that it takes you some place unfamiliar. Yet Ursula Le Guin has rightly criticized the bias of much fantasy literature to assume that characters ought to be white and the world ought to look like medieval Europe. Even contemporary fantasy reverts to the European fairy tale model so often that, while Hans Christian Andersen and the Grimms are awesome, I find myself craving something different. So browsing through my library's eBook collection, when the words "Caribbean ...more
Aug 30, 2007 Sierra rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of well-written sci-fi/fantasy, thoughtful queer literature & devastatingly good writing
Although this collection is a little uneven, its best stories are powerful and sexy and indelible. Nalo Hopkinson is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful; her stories and novels mix postcoloniality, fabulism and queer studies in consistently entertaining and thought-provoking ways. I hesistate to make comparisons, but if you miss Octavia Butler dearly, and always sort of wish she was a little younger and Canadian/Jamaican and touchy-feely, Nalo Hopkinson's your woman. You should also read her most re ...more
Andrea Blythe
Hopkinson's eerie and haunting collection of short stories influenced by her life and roots, both her Caribbean cultural heritage and her experiences living in Canada. With powerful, vivid prose, Hopkinson unveils strange, unsettling worlds in which an ordinary eggs give birth to strange, deformed monsters, glass storms cut up everything in their path, and trees take flight. Many of these stories explore darkness. "Snake" is an absolutely terrifying tale from the point of view of a child moleste ...more
Jun 01, 2015 Courtney marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: priority-reads
Read "The Glass Bottle Trick" on the Fantasy Magazine website. It's a bluebeard re-telling - and it's amazing - 5/5 stars. The setting and the way the culture immerses the story... the way the folklore is brought in... and the twist at the end - wow. No fainting heroine in need of rescue here. Her future may be uncertain, and we don't see how it turns out, but she thinks fast and with any luck it'll work in her favor.

I need to read more of this author's work - definitely bumping her up to the
Oh, the language! The stories are good but the stories are spectacular with the language she uses.
I usually prefer novels to short fiction, but these are some of the best short stories I've ever read.
Adam Hodgins
Good stuff, I just want to read everything Nalo Hopkinson has written.
What a wonderful short story collection. I loved the seamless jumps from realism to sci-fi to folklore. "Fisherman" came as a surprise, because it was very much erotica. Very well written, compelling erotica though.
I've been trying to branch out with the type of authors I read, and this was a wonderful change of pace. I picked it up because so many people compared Ms. Hopkinson to the late Octavia Butler, and I was not disappointed. I'll be reading more of Nalo Hopkinson in the future for sure.
Nalo Hopkinson has been one of few authors to never disappoint me with her thoughtful, immersive prose. Inside Skin Folk is in-depth deconstruction of race, fairy tales, the concept of a single story and more. Each story is unique but services the collection wonderfully.
Nalo Hopkinson's short stories are really wonderful. Full of fantasy, reality, tension, sex, and fear. A few are reworkings of European fairy tales and many draw on Caribbean folklore. There's some pretty steamy sex in there too!
W.l. Bolm
I thought the stories in this book varied in quality, but some of them were very, very good. The book follows Hopkinson's theme of folk magical realism, and I enjoyed reading about the now familiar beliefs and customs of the characters in the stories. There were some science fiction stories thrown in for good measure, but with Hopkinson's brand of sensuality and culture thrown in. "The Glass Bottle Trick" and "Fisherman" especially resonated with me. "Fisherman" was perhaps the least couched in ...more
I really wanted to love this book. Nalo is represented by Don Maass, an agent I greatly respect whose ideas about story coincide with my own. The writing was excellent, but the stories usually left something out. I can't describe what. I realize they were short stories and that's fine, but they all felt unfinished. Or, worse, that Hopkinson was using that old trick of not telling us what happens because it's really up to the reader--a cheap trick, I might add, but I'm going to give her the benef ...more
Collections of short stories usually aren't my jam, but a few of these swept me right up.
Favorites: Fisherman and Precious.
Nalo Hopkinson does horror and myth and sci-fi really, really, well. Stories that stood out to me: the one with the body-switching, the one that was basically an extended lesbian sex scene (but also very good at conveying character growth through physical intimacy and a subtle take on self-acceptance, etc. etc.), the super creepy one with the pedophile and bird symbolism and the one where, like, two sex toys combine to create a monster that's destroyed by married love. All of them are much bette ...more
First story - Red

Excellent re-envisioning of the little red riding hood fable. You feel like it is the old black woman sitting telling the story, the rhythm and structure fit so well even more than the language itself.

I feel like I flew through the stories in this book so fast I forgot to make individual comments on them.

Over all the stories are excellent examples of Caribbean language and story telling. I would definately recommend this book to anyone interested in the fantasical.
I am in love with Nalo Hopkinson's creations, sometimes haunting, sometimes benign or ambivalent but magically clever. She mixes science fiction and fantasy/myth for intriguing results. Many of these stories are the kind that stick with you, that you find yourself thinking about in idle moments.

Read this before going to bed at your own peril though, lest you have nightmares of hermaphroditic skin suits and duppies sustaining themselves on blood from their opened wombs. Which I did.
I'm not a huge fan of short stories, so maybe that influenced my perceptions here? A few of the stories were really great. My favorite was "Precious." The rest of the stories were good, and they were certainly very readable, but they didn't quite capture my imagination. I think I'd like to read some of Nalo Hopkinson's novel-length stuff. Might be more to my liking.
J. Allen Nelson
A wonderful introduction to a unique writer whose command of dialect is amazing. Truly unique stories from the rich source material of Caribbean(Jamaican) folklore, via Toronto.
One of those jems to be found in the "vaults" (er, boxes) of books in the basement. It's like shopping every time I go searching!!!
SO FAR SO GOOD! unlike the other nalo hopkinson book i read this one is actually science fiction. i am happy about that. there are fifteen short stories. i don't have the same expectations of reading an octavia butler book, but i can't help but try to draw the paralell with a heaping dose of dandicat edwidge....
A disappointment for me. I enjoyed the first book that I read by Nalo Hopkinson back in the day. This collection of short-stories didn't move me at all. I found myself struggling to get through them.

I couldn't recommend this book for anyone. Sorry.
While not all of the short stories in this book of modern fanstasy tales involving Caribbean Toronto folks, the two body-swapping stories alone are worth the read. Particularly the one where the woman sees someone wearing her old body on the bus!

While there's a couple of stories that aren't re-tellings, the rest of the volume is nearly evenly split between Caribbean and European folklore. And even the European based tales had a heavy Caribbean flavor.
DNF, got about halfway. When I got to the short story about the egg that came alive and haunted people I had to stop. That is a thing of nightmares: too scary for me.
Nice to see ourselves and be able to laugh at our uniquely Caribbean perspective. A couple of stories read more like sci fi than folklore, which is absolutely my thing!
Nalo Hopkinson is definitely a unique voice and worth reading, though these short stories are a mixed bag (as are almost all short story collections, I think).
I am from the island I understand this book all the way. Its short stories, out of 15 short stories only about 4 I did not like the rest where very good.
Some of these stories took my breath away. Hopkinson is direct, perhaps to a point of unkindness, but goddamn! Living in her head must be fascinating.
See my review at GLBT Fantasy Fiction Resources.
They are making a film of this collection of stories. I'm not sure how, but they are. And I want to see it.
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Nalo Hopkinson is a Jamaican-born writer and editor who lives in Canada. Her science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories often draw on Caribbean history and language, and its traditions of oral and written storytelling.

More about Nalo Hopkinson...

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