The Freedom Race , Lucinda Roy's explosive first foray into speculative fiction, is a poignant blend of subjugation, resistance, and hope.
The second Civil War, the Sequel, came and went in the United States leaving radiation, sickness, and fractures too deep to mend. One faction, the Homestead Territories, dealt with the devastation by recruiting immigrants from Africa and beginning a new slave trade while the other two factions stood by and watched.
Ji-ji Lottermule was bred and raised in captivity on one of the plantations in the Homestead Territories of the Disunited States to serve and breed more "muleseeds". There is only one way out--the annual Freedom Race. First prize, freedom.
An underground movement has plans to free Ji-ji, who unknowingly holds the key to breaking the grip of the Territories. However, before she can begin to free them all, Ji-ji must unravel the very real voices of the dead.
Written by one of today's most committed activists, Lucinda Roy has created a terrifying glimpse of what might be and tempered it with strength and hope. It is a call to justice in the face of an unsettling future.
"Novelist, poet, and memoirist Roy ventures into speculative fiction with this first book in the Dreambird Chronicles. The United States was divided into three self-governing regions after the Civil War Sequel. Jellybean "Ji-ji" Lottermule lives on Planting 437, a deeply segregated compound within the Homestead Territories. By classifying laborers from Africa as botanical and propagating with their "seeds," the father-men of the Territories have created a color-based slave system. The only way to escape is to enter the Freedom Race, and Ji-ji is the best runner around. Between Planting 437 and the finish line in Dream City are mutant animals and gangs of violent men, but also the Friends of Freedom, a network working to emancipate people in the Territories. Roy's comprehensive world building and immersive language create a tapestry that blends realistic fantasy with the Black experience in the United States. The deliberate pacing and visceral descriptions of planting life will not suit all readers, but the investment is worthwhile. Ji-ji's journey is a story of resilience and hope rooted in a place where Octavia Butler and Rivers Solomon intersect with The Handmaid's Tale."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Roy (The Hotel Alleluia) turns to speculative fiction for the first time with this lyrical, Afrofuturist hero's quest set in the not-too-distant future. The "Civil War Sequel" led to the reinstitution of slavery in the Homestead Territories; now plantation owners import Black folks from the Cradle to work and breed multiracial laborers. The spunky Jellybean "Ji-Ji" Lottermule has found a way out: as the fastest runner in Planting 437, she'll compete in the Freedom Race. If she wins, she and her family would be emancipated. But to enter, she must first win her mother's support and get ratified for the race--and these tasks prove to be just the first of many hurdles for Ji-Ji. Things get off to a slow start; Roy front-loads the story with extensive background for the "disunited states" and an elaborate lexicon of new racial classifications, creating a steep learning curve for readers. But once the world is established and Ji-Ji's story takes off, her harrowing but profoundly spiritual quest for sovereignty against all odds impresses. Readers who stick with this will appreciate both the tenacious heroine and Roy's intricate prose stylings. Agent: Jennifer Weltz, Jean V. Naggar Literary. (July)"
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|| New York :2021
viii, 402 pages : maps ; 24 cm