The Parts that Make Us Monsters and Aunt Dissy’s Policy Dream Book
Sheree Renee Thomas is perhaps best known for two anthologies (Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora and Dark Matter: Reading the Bones), but in addition to being an award winning editor Thomas has written many works of fiction, fantasy, poetry, and prose. In this episode of Leave It To The Prose we dive into the limitations of words through the connotations of vampiric familiarity,
- The limitations of words. In “The Parts that Make Us Monsters” ambiguity leads the reader to derive their own definition of the titular monsters. Vampire is the first word to come to mind, but these creatures are not bound by the Western European tradition. These monsters are so much more and Thomas plays with diction to evoke an eerily different creature.
- How tone can be conveyed through metaphors and description. “The Parts that Make Us Monsters” uses references to light and dark and instead of relying on familiar constructs (such as vampires) the descriptions of the actions, the setting are able to convey a specific, raw world.
- Different types of magic, how “Aunt Dissy’s Policy Dream Book” utilizes a magic distinctly different from that of Western European tradition. How the magic feels raw and real and like this is how magic would be if it was real.
- The characterization in “Aunt Dissy’s Policy Dream Book.” How the editorial structure of the story has a grounding main plot of the main character conducting a fortune, but while there are aspects and elements of the main character’s past (and future) that are constantly brought back and referred to throughout the main plot.
- General adoration of Thomas’s use fo words to build a past, present and future, each vivid, each with metaphor, each with detail. If you need an example of how to convey a tone and build a world and character, read “Aunt Dissy’s Policy Dream Book.”
Links to the Works
- The Part that Make Us Monsters, by Sheree Renee Thomas on Strange Horizons, an except of Thomas’s
- Aunt Dissy’s Policy Dream Book, by Sheree Renee Thomas on Apex Magazine
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