24 Oct Olukorede Yishau Review of We Won’t Fade into Darkness by TJ Benson
Shock was the first feeling I had when I read ‘Abundance of Yellow Paper’ the story from which JT Benson’s collection of short stories ‘We won’t fade into darkness’ got its title. I only began reading the book from the beginning after reading the last story. I have not read anything like it before. The story was my introduction to speculative fiction. The closest I have been to speculative fiction is magical realism.
Unlike anything I had read, almost everything in the collection is set in the future. The creative imaginations in this book, with thirteen stories, tell us about an unusual abusive father, a world where males are going extinct and drastic methods are employed to ensure continuity of the Nigerian race.
Things fall Apart becomes a banned book in a Nigeria where the colonial masters never left and we get introduced to Nigerium, a gaseous element which poisons air, destroys reproductive organs and makes people insane. You need to read ‘I Can’t Breathe’ to get this timely warning on how we treat our environment.
Environmental pollution, technology, futurism and extinction are the major themes in this collection, which predicts what Nigeria will likely become. It is a scary take on our likely tomorrow.
In ‘Jidenna’, men are forced to impregnate women who are expected to give birth only to boys. Girls are killed when born because there are too many women in the land.
To enjoy this book, you need to reset your brain; forget old rules and be open to new boundaries. Only then can you appreciate the art in this book and only then can you give TJ Benson his due! Let me also mention that the language is also good.