The year is 1922, and the Ku Klux Klan runs rampant. Ring Shout is Nebula and Locus award winning P. Djèlí Clark’s transcendent speculative novella re-telling of this period in American history.
There are two parts of the Klan in America at this time, one human (the Ku Klux Klan), the other a horde of supernatural beasts (Ku Kluxers) called to our world through the notorious silent (and real) film, Birth of A Nation, a demonic summoning masquerading as entertainment. It is the Ku Kluxers who drive their human counterparts, who hunt Maryse Bordeaux and her companions. Picture a racist, bone-hued abomination à la Guillermo del Toro, with six red eyes, a beaked face, and a predilection for dog flesh; appropriately these monsters are just that, monsters who are racist and abjectly terrifying.
Maryse and her crew aren’t without their own devices and weaponry. Their fighting capabilities are more than a match for the Ku Kluxers, and Maryse’s crew have their own mythological weaponry and ancestral guidance to call upon. The character roster is deep and compelling: Maryse’s group is soulful and driven with determined hate and purpose; and even Butcher Clyde (Ku Kluxer Management) haunts with a singular creepiness.
The stage is set then for a major showdown between the Ku Kluxers, their human Klan subservients and Maryse’s fighters, to take place, poetically, during a re-screening of Birth of A Nation that is taking place in just a few week’s time.
P. Djèlí Clark’s historical acumen and powerful imagination intertwine with ease, and the result is prose that is compelling, emotional, fantastical and un-put-downable. Ring Shout is a seriously awesome novella from a seriously talented writer, check it out!
Review by Joel
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