Some of the pieces are simple yet highly enjoyable ... If Jemisin has a weakness, however, it’s a propensity for didacticism ... There is, fortunately, much more to love in this collection. Some of the stories are good old-fashioned science-fiction yarns shot from new angles ... This collection features many similarly uncanny moments in which the human integrates with what feels profoundly inhuman. (Jemisin does creepy so well, it’s enough to make you wish she’d try a straight-up horror novel — another genre that could really use more black writers.) The stories here teem with impostors, parasites and hybrids. Sometimes they must be fought off, but this is one science-fiction author who does not take that stance reflexively. Expand your notion of what we can be, she suggests. Recognize that change is inevitable and often strengthening. Don’t kid yourself that the alternative is safety; the alternative is death.
But one of the most marvelous aspects of this gorgeously Afrofuturist collection is that it's also, ironically, a time capsule. Containing stories written between 2004 and 2017, it occasionally imagines futures grown from earlier moments of our shared lives on the internet — from LiveJournal, from fora and discussion boards — that tripped me into nostalgia for earlier, more innocent visions of apocalypse ... That said, the collection isn't organized chronologically but thematically, like a symphony with distinct movements ... Jemisin's strengths lie at the intersection of character and setting, storytelling parts that definitely show to best effect in longer work, so I wasn't surprised to find the stories I loved most in this collection were connected to her novels ... There were stories that didn't quite come together for me, that I appreciated more for their ideas than their execution... But these were exceptions to a general rule of awe and admiration; overall these stories demonstrate a gathering strength, a flexing of new muscle.