Alaya Dawn Johnson

I’ve neglected to talk about one of my favorite writers for far too long. Alaya Dawn Johnson won this year’s Nebula Award for Best Novelette.  “A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i” was published in the July/August 2014 issue of F&SF, and it’s about a woman who helps vampires run a concentration camp for humans.

Full disclosure: I met Alaya Dawn Johnson at Wiscon, the Feminist Science Fiction Convention in Madison, Wisconsin, where Alaya was one of this year’s Guests of Honor. She did not attend the Nebula awards because of prior commitments. I bought all of Alaya’s novels that are currently in print and she signed them for me. She told me I was the first person she has ever had ask her to autograph all of her novels at the same time. I certainly won’t be the last.

The first thing you notice when you meet Alaya is her exceptional love of life. She displays the energy of a dynamo and her fast-paced movements, her radiant smile, her extraordinary command of language, and her enthusiasm mark her as someone special.

Alaya Dawn Johnson writes the kind of fiction I love to read. It is also the kind of fiction I love to write. I recognize in her works words I wish I had written.

She writes fantasy stories that cross boundaries. Part science fiction, part dark fantasy, borderline horror, and filled with rich images and poignant dialogue, Alaya’s stories and novels seamlessly transport readers from reality to other worlds. She often writes in the present tense so you feel you are actually there as events take place. She draws you inside her characters so you feel you know them or are them.

In the days to come, I shall review all of her novels here. Should I begin with her YA novel The Summer Prince? What about the books of the Spirit Benders series, including Racing the Dark and The Burning City? She, herself, recommended Love is the Drug. Perhaps I should begin there.

If you have not yet read Alaya Dawn Johnson, I suggest you do so immediately. You can read her Nebula Award-winning “A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i” here


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