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Reconstruction: Stories

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In Reconstruction, Award-winning writer and musician Johnson digs into the lives of those trodden underfoot by the powers that be: from the lives of vampires and those caught in their circle in Hawai’i to a taxonomy of anger put together by Union soldiers in the American Civil War, these stories will grab you and not let you go.


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In Reconstruction, Award-winning writer and musician Johnson digs into the lives of those trodden underfoot by the powers that be: from the lives of vampires and those caught in their circle in Hawai’i to a taxonomy of anger put together by Union soldiers in the American Civil War, these stories will grab you and not let you go.

30 review for Reconstruction: Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    La Tonya Jordan

    This book of short stories of speculative fiction stretches the imagination. There are stories of vampires who have invaded the world. They have set up concentration camps of humans as feeding stations. It is an orderly society with laws, rules, regulations, and ethics on feeding on humans. It gives a different perception on victimization. There is a story about teenagers going thru adolescence, peer pressure, and Camp Ondawalla to discover their changing bodies. Read about the social activist w This book of short stories of speculative fiction stretches the imagination. There are stories of vampires who have invaded the world. They have set up concentration camps of humans as feeding stations. It is an orderly society with laws, rules, regulations, and ethics on feeding on humans. It gives a different perception on victimization. There is a story about teenagers going thru adolescence, peer pressure, and Camp Ondawalla to discover their changing bodies. Read about the social activist who was killed by police in a cover up and how the investigation into his death settles the score. Reading speculative fiction requires the reader to beware that all things are possible. There are no limits. This was interesting reading. Quotes Key is a different kind of monster. “You aren’t sorry if you’d do it again,” I say. “And I’m not sorry if I’d let you.” “Mama says it’s right for me to love you because you’re my father, even though you’re not always the best father.”

  2. 4 out of 5

    Zoe's Human

    An exceptional collection of thoughtful and provocative speculative fiction ranging from magical realism to dystopian scifi. Even the least appealing stories were conceptually intriguing, and the best of them were both intellectually and emotionally stimulating. INDIVIDUAL STORY RATINGS, NOTES, AND REVIEWS A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai'i 5 stars In a dystopian future where humans are kept as food in concentration camps, are the worst monsters the vampires or their human collaborators? They Shall Sal An exceptional collection of thoughtful and provocative speculative fiction ranging from magical realism to dystopian scifi. Even the least appealing stories were conceptually intriguing, and the best of them were both intellectually and emotionally stimulating. INDIVIDUAL STORY RATINGS, NOTES, AND REVIEWS A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai'i 5 stars In a dystopian future where humans are kept as food in concentration camps, are the worst monsters the vampires or their human collaborators? They Shall Salt the Earth with Seeds of Glass 4 stars In a dystopian future on an Earth occupied by an inexplicable alien, sisters Tris and Libby struggle to survive. When Tris reveals her pregnancy, they chose to make a deadly journey to get her the medical help she needs. Their Changing Bodies 3 stars The writing of this is every bit as good as the first two stories, but I simply could NOT suspend disbelief for the plot device. The Score 5 stars A compelling epistolary short that explores the aftermath of a Palestinian-American protestor dying in police custody. A Song to Greet the Sun 5 stars A haunting speculative fiction short in which a father is told that his honor may only be restored by the death of his disobedient daughter. Far and Deep 27 5 stars Leilani finds her mother's body on the beach only to be forbidden funeral rites for a woman who was reviled, admired, and murdered. Down the Well 4 stars A man sent by the agency to seize an icon is brought yet again to face a crisis of faith. Third Day Lights 3 stars I didn't connect with this one. I never felt invested in the story or characters, and I found the ending predictable. I also dislike the old saw about life being better for not being eternal. I think that's reassuring hogwash we feed ourselves to feel better about what we cannot have and ease our fear of death. The Mirages 5 stars When a family falls apart, there's always more than one perspective. Reconstruction 2 stars Something about the pacing of this was off. It seemed to drag to the extent that I considered DNFing it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Hanna

    It’s interesting the way the short story style consistently left me wanting more from each story, but sometimes in a good way and sometimes in a... less good way. Some of the stories (particularly “they shall salt the earth with seeds of glass” and “the mirage”— ha, I guess I have a thing for post apocalyptic stories) I wish were full-length novels because I’m so intrigued and want more! Conversely, other stories were harder for me to get into at all because I spent the whole time confused, havi It’s interesting the way the short story style consistently left me wanting more from each story, but sometimes in a good way and sometimes in a... less good way. Some of the stories (particularly “they shall salt the earth with seeds of glass” and “the mirage”— ha, I guess I have a thing for post apocalyptic stories) I wish were full-length novels because I’m so intrigued and want more! Conversely, other stories were harder for me to get into at all because I spent the whole time confused, having been thrown into the middle of these worlds and finding myself struggling to picture what was happening. But even with those ones, I was still intrigued and could appreciate the idea of the story, even if I struggled to lose myself in the story.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Benji Tomlinson

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai'i - A mildly interesting story about vampire's. Just couldn't get into it. Brought nothing really new to the genre and I don't even know the genre that well but I have read riffs like this before. And They Shall Salt the Earth With Seeds of Glass - Two very well drawn main characters. I was disappointed with the end. Mostly because I wanted to know more. Would love to see these characters in a longer format. I want to know more about this world and what makes it. T A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai'i - A mildly interesting story about vampire's. Just couldn't get into it. Brought nothing really new to the genre and I don't even know the genre that well but I have read riffs like this before. And They Shall Salt the Earth With Seeds of Glass - Two very well drawn main characters. I was disappointed with the end. Mostly because I wanted to know more. Would love to see these characters in a longer format. I want to know more about this world and what makes it. Their Changing Bodies - Another mildly amusing riff on vampire's. While the twist is clever the characters are poorly written. As a whole it was hard to follow and mostly forgettable. The Score - Another great idea and interesting take on time travel. But it falls apart with vague execution. It takes to long being clever and when it finally gets interesting ends abruptly. So far a lot of great ideas with very little follow through. A Song to Great the Sun - Not sure what to make of this. An honor killing and how it affects people close to them? That's what I am putting together. It just didn't make much sense to me. Each just seemed hasty and random. There was a world there I just couldn't make it out. Far and Deep - Just the beginning of an interesting world. There are many ideas at play through these stories but they just never seem to be satisfying. Never enough. Ideas are great, but there is also something lacking from all of them. The seed of an idea that never gets full form. I would have liked to know more about this world. Down the Well - Love the premise. Not sure of the execution. Not sure if it is good or bad that I want more from these stories? They are well written and creative. I want to know the places they inhabit but am left wanting every time. Third Days Light - Another valiant attempt at world building that just fell short. Grand cosmic ideas, reminded me of Jonathan Hickman with a touch of Grant Morrison, but it failed to gel and make coherent sense. To be fair so do Hickman and Morrison a lot of the time. The Mirage - I really didn't understand this one at all. How North America is using up the world. It just didn't make much sense to me. Reconstruction - Powerful. Righteous. Painful. Beautiful. This was by far the best of this collection. "There is the fear of the bullet, and the fear of the noose. The fear of watching one you love march away and never return. And then that other, stranger fear. Not of losing everything but of everything twisting away from you; the promises made and received distorted like a reflection in muddy water, recognizable, but wrong. The fear not of death, but of sickness. An affliction that mimics life but removes, with merciless intent, its foundations." There were so many ideas in this collection. I will enjoy seeking out this authors longer works and seeing where she goes with them. Over all though what falls flat drags this collection down to average, for me. But when it is great, it is great.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Paul Sheckarski

    As the author acknowledges, most of these short stories were written within a specific and narrow timeframe: post-9/11 and pre-Trump. She also points out that it was much lonelier at the time for a Black speculative fiction author. It makes sense to me that much of these stories' on-the-noseness was intended as a direct challenge to the white male hegemony of science fiction and as a response to the calamity of U.S. imperialism. These stories do reflect many of the anxieties of that moment. Some As the author acknowledges, most of these short stories were written within a specific and narrow timeframe: post-9/11 and pre-Trump. She also points out that it was much lonelier at the time for a Black speculative fiction author. It makes sense to me that much of these stories' on-the-noseness was intended as a direct challenge to the white male hegemony of science fiction and as a response to the calamity of U.S. imperialism. These stories do reflect many of the anxieties of that moment. Some of them do not resonate as well outside the moment as they may have inside it. There are phrases here and there, patches of prose, that frankly read like an author still finding her voice and developing her talent. The two final stories, previously unpublished, I think are the strongest in the collection, and I would not be surprised to discover they were written more recently than the others. They are more confident, more self-assured. For what it's worth, I picked this up because I recognized the author's name from her YA novel, The Summer Prince, which I found fresh, inventive. The first few stories disappointed; but the last few left me satisfied. I'm looking forward to what she does next.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gasaluan2

    I was pleasantly surprised by how great this was. The plot is definitely amazing.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Grace Rempp

    I didn't love love every story, but “A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i" was so fucking good wow. I didn't love love every story, but “A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i" was so fucking good wow.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jake Casella

    Superb collection. Full review coming at the Chicago Review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nika

  10. 5 out of 5

    Esleal10

  11. 5 out of 5

    Katie Prater

  12. 4 out of 5

    Federica

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sam

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gavin Grant

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rachel (Kalanadi)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Connie

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nelle

  18. 4 out of 5

    GuRiUl12

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sheree

  20. 5 out of 5

    MaChAl12

  21. 5 out of 5

    Loarju

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shalisa Walker

  23. 4 out of 5

    Loestrella

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lester

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sara Lovia

  26. 4 out of 5

    Caguge

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rumule10

  28. 4 out of 5

    OTIS

  29. 4 out of 5

    Adri Joy

  30. 5 out of 5

    Megoca

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