Note — Jul 12, 2020

N.K. Jemisin on the City We Became

Interview with the talented and multi Hugo Awards winning N.K. Jemisin on her most recent book which happens to feature an alien force which spreads in New York like a virus, and the embodiment of each boroughs created to fight this force. Jemisin explains how she created those characters to reflect the uniqueness and multiple facets of each neighbourhood, and talks about the twin forces of gentrification and white supremacy.

Enough human beings occupy one space, tell enough stories about it, develop a unique enough culture, and all these layers of reality start to compact and metamorphose. […]

The potential destruction of New York as a body of mythical beings is abetted by the twin forces of gentrification and white supremacy, each conspiring to make the city less like itself for those tasked with its preservation. […]

These dynamics have always existed in our society, but these forces were allowed to run rampant on the black community and other poor communities. There have always been checks enough to keep the destructive systems of society from basically cannibalizing the country, and that’s what’s changed: It’s affecting everyone now. There were chunks of the country that were always like, “We were perfectly fine with it as long as it’s only hurting those people there.” But now it’s everybody.