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Of One Blood: Or, the Hidden Self (Haunted Library Horror Classics)

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OF ONE BLOOD: OR, THE HIDDEN SELF by Pauline Hopkins (Haunted Library of Horror Classics, Volume #5) • with introduction to the book by Nisi Shawl • with biography, reading list, and discussion questions by series editor and author Eric J. Guignard • with annotations by series editor and author Leslie S. Klinger Of One Blood is the last of four novels written by groundbreaking OF ONE BLOOD: OR, THE HIDDEN SELF by Pauline Hopkins (Haunted Library of Horror Classics, Volume #5) • with introduction to the book by Nisi Shawl • with biography, reading list, and discussion questions by series editor and author Eric J. Guignard • with annotations by series editor and author Leslie S. Klinger Of One Blood is the last of four novels written by groundbreaking Black author Pauline Hopkins. She is considered by some to be "the most prolific African-American woman writer and the most influential literary editor of the first decade of the twentieth century. Of One Blood first appeared in serial form in Colored American Magazine in the November and December 1902 and the January 1903 issues of the publication. Hopkins tells the story of Reuel Briggs, a medical student who has no interest in his Black heritage nor appreciative of African history, but finds himself in Ethiopia on an archeological trip. His motive is to raid the country of lost treasures -- which he does find in the ancient land. However, he discovers much more than he bargained for: the painful truth about blood, race, and the half of his history that was never told. Hopkins wrote the novel intending, in her own words, to "raise the stigma of degradation from [the Black] race." The title, Of One Blood, refers to the biological kinship of all human beings.


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OF ONE BLOOD: OR, THE HIDDEN SELF by Pauline Hopkins (Haunted Library of Horror Classics, Volume #5) • with introduction to the book by Nisi Shawl • with biography, reading list, and discussion questions by series editor and author Eric J. Guignard • with annotations by series editor and author Leslie S. Klinger Of One Blood is the last of four novels written by groundbreaking OF ONE BLOOD: OR, THE HIDDEN SELF by Pauline Hopkins (Haunted Library of Horror Classics, Volume #5) • with introduction to the book by Nisi Shawl • with biography, reading list, and discussion questions by series editor and author Eric J. Guignard • with annotations by series editor and author Leslie S. Klinger Of One Blood is the last of four novels written by groundbreaking Black author Pauline Hopkins. She is considered by some to be "the most prolific African-American woman writer and the most influential literary editor of the first decade of the twentieth century. Of One Blood first appeared in serial form in Colored American Magazine in the November and December 1902 and the January 1903 issues of the publication. Hopkins tells the story of Reuel Briggs, a medical student who has no interest in his Black heritage nor appreciative of African history, but finds himself in Ethiopia on an archeological trip. His motive is to raid the country of lost treasures -- which he does find in the ancient land. However, he discovers much more than he bargained for: the painful truth about blood, race, and the half of his history that was never told. Hopkins wrote the novel intending, in her own words, to "raise the stigma of degradation from [the Black] race." The title, Of One Blood, refers to the biological kinship of all human beings.

30 review for Of One Blood: Or, the Hidden Self (Haunted Library Horror Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Have you heard of Pauline Hopkins? She is considered by many to be “the most prolific African-American writer and the most influential literary editor” of her time. I’m grateful to know her name and work now. Of One Blood is the last novel she wrote, penned during the early 20th century. It’s a gothic sci fi horror novel, slim on pages, but high on message and content. The main character is a medical student in Ethiopia on an archaeological trip. In this horror novel, perhaps where you’d find it Have you heard of Pauline Hopkins? She is considered by many to be “the most prolific African-American writer and the most influential literary editor” of her time. I’m grateful to know her name and work now. Of One Blood is the last novel she wrote, penned during the early 20th century. It’s a gothic sci fi horror novel, slim on pages, but high on message and content. The main character is a medical student in Ethiopia on an archaeological trip. In this horror novel, perhaps where you’d find it unexpected, there are powerful messages about race and untold history. Of One Blood is a little offbeat and quirky in its writing, and originally published in serial form, it’s a reading experience with beautiful imagery, important history, and a powerful, timeless message. I received a gifted copy. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Oakes

    I'm going 3.5 rounded up to 4. To be very honest, I didn't love this story per se, but the ideas transcend plot turning it into something visionary. And that I did enjoy. full post here: http://www.oddlyweirdfiction.com/2021... About the author, writer Nisi Shawl says that Hopkins "is in some ways the foremother of Octavia E. Butler, and Tanarive Due, and many of today's leading science fiction, fantasy, and horror authors -- primarily because she's another African-descended woman using a popular I'm going 3.5 rounded up to 4. To be very honest, I didn't love this story per se, but the ideas transcend plot turning it into something visionary. And that I did enjoy. full post here: http://www.oddlyweirdfiction.com/2021... About the author, writer Nisi Shawl says that Hopkins "is in some ways the foremother of Octavia E. Butler, and Tanarive Due, and many of today's leading science fiction, fantasy, and horror authors -- primarily because she's another African-descended woman using a popular genre to write speculatively about hard philosophical questions, surprising truths, and the wonders of the occult." At the beginning of this novel Reuel Briggs is contemplating "the riddle of whence and whither," which not too much later he will say the solving of which is his life; it is "that alone" that he lives for. I marked this passage and after finishing this book, came back to it, finding it beyond appropriate given what happens in this story. I don't think this is a novel that you read so much for plot -- keeping in mind that this story was written in 1902, it must have been positively mind-boggling at the time, perhaps holding out some measure of hope and redemption to its readers. It is a visionary novel that in the long run transcends plot, and in that sense it remains an important work still relevant today. Of One Blood moves well beyond the combination (as Shawl notes in the introduction) of Victorian society novel and lost-world narrative to explore "contemporary racial issues" through a variety of lenses, ultimately positing a hidden truth or two that upends everything and has, as she says "cosmologically expansive implications." I don't wish to divulge how this comes about, but if you really want to know, you can go to Tor's website where she has written pretty much the same material that appears in her introduction to this book. I will caution that it gives away the show so that reader awe may be diminished, and the same goes if you have this particular edition of the novel and you read the introduction before launching into the story. I'll also note that my edition is part of the Horror Writers Association series of Haunted Library of Horror Classics and that across the top of the front cover it says that the book is from "the first great female horror writer of color." I'd call it more speculative fiction myself, but the recognition of Pauline Hopkins and her work is well deserved and very long overdue.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Yair Ben-Zvi

    While not the greatest of novels Hopkins' "Of One Blood" does just enough (I won't say right, but I'll at least say well) that it warrants itself a read. The prose is gorgeous (though given the pulp-y kind of story Hopkins decides to tell it almost comes off as funny in some respects) and story itself, while definitely overwrought, is not without importance given the zeitgeist out of which Hopkins was writing. I won't go to far with this review simply because I don't have much else to say about While not the greatest of novels Hopkins' "Of One Blood" does just enough (I won't say right, but I'll at least say well) that it warrants itself a read. The prose is gorgeous (though given the pulp-y kind of story Hopkins decides to tell it almost comes off as funny in some respects) and story itself, while definitely overwrought, is not without importance given the zeitgeist out of which Hopkins was writing. I won't go to far with this review simply because I don't have much else to say about the novel. I won't call it a trifle or a bauble of American literary history as it is far more important than that. But I will say that this is an unexpectedly engaging (if at times soap opera dramatic) telling of something that, in a lot of ways, really feels like it prefigures the likes of Flash Gordon, Tarzan, and much else of the pulp genre. Worth a look for its history and its prescience (though more as regards literary genre conventions than its own troubled history, just my two cents).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ronald Morton

    The slogan of the hour is “Keep the Negro down!” but who is clear enough in vision to decide who hath black blood and who hath it not? Can any one tell? No, not one; for in His own mysterious way He has united the white race and the black race in this new continent. By the transgression of the law He proves His own infallibility: “Of one blood have I made all nations of men to dwell upon the whole face of the earth,” is as true today as when given to the inspired writers to be recorded. No man c The slogan of the hour is “Keep the Negro down!” but who is clear enough in vision to decide who hath black blood and who hath it not? Can any one tell? No, not one; for in His own mysterious way He has united the white race and the black race in this new continent. By the transgression of the law He proves His own infallibility: “Of one blood have I made all nations of men to dwell upon the whole face of the earth,” is as true today as when given to the inspired writers to be recorded. No man can draw the dividing line between the two races, for they are both of one blood! I love lists, especially lists of books. Book Riot had an irresistible list earlier this year: 5 Bizarre 19th Century American Novels - of which this was one of them (but of course I just had to track them all down). This actually operates pretty squarely within the realm of adventure lit (though showing glimpses of pulp/weird fiction) - so it straddles the line between Poe/Doyle and, say, Robert E Howard. It has a strong thread of the supernatural (and some eye rolling mysticism) along with an archeological expedition, murderous plots, hidden tribes, and ancient royal bloodlines. It also has a solid dose of social/racial commentary - fairly light today, but it would have been considerably more contentious in 1902-1903 when this was published. I enjoyed this a great deal, it wasn't quite as bizarre as I'd hoped, and it wasn't quite as pointedly social-commentary either, but it is a great piece of adventure lit, and well worth checking out.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    As the first novel by an African-American writer to feature both the setting of Africa and African characters, Pauline Hopkins’ Of One Blood is of immense historical value. Of One Blood is also considered to be among the earliest African-American speculative or science-fiction. It features a technologically and culturally superior Ethopia as its main character’s ancestral home, revealed in prophetic mysticism and gothic occurrences while commenting on issues of ancestry and race in early 19th Ce As the first novel by an African-American writer to feature both the setting of Africa and African characters, Pauline Hopkins’ Of One Blood is of immense historical value. Of One Blood is also considered to be among the earliest African-American speculative or science-fiction. It features a technologically and culturally superior Ethopia as its main character’s ancestral home, revealed in prophetic mysticism and gothic occurrences while commenting on issues of ancestry and race in early 19th Century America. The novel can be described as domestic romance, mystic adventure, and racial discovery tale. As many have stated, and as can be expected with the genre, this book has serious issues when pressed under modern conventions of plot, most of which stem from its purpose as an “Afrocentric Fantasy for a Black Middle Class Audience.” The novel certainly succeeds in offering its readership ownership of a historical past that equaled western myth, and a cathartic vindication for the dystopian remnants of slavery through Reconstruction. For more on this, I would recommend John Gruesser’s critical article: “Of One Blood: Creating an Afrocentric Fantasy for a Black Middle Class Audience.” I would recommend this to anyone interested in early 19th century African American authors, domestic fiction, adventure novels, early speculative fiction, and early American science fiction.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bryan Miller

    Wakanda as written in 1902. It takes elements of a ghost story, elements of Frankenstein, and elements of Wakanda (anachronistic as that comparison may be) and remixes it into both a love story and a quest novel. It’s quite an extraordinary tale, especially considering it was written so long ago. But at the end of the day, Pauline Hopkins was interrogating what an African utopia might look like long before Stan Lee started playing around with it. This novel is worth checking out SO DO IT

  7. 4 out of 5

    Totahly Booked

    “Arabs were everywhere; veiled omen looked at the Christians with melting eyes above their wrappings.” “The astonishing nature of the startling problems he had unearthed, the agitation and indignation aroused in him by the heartless usage to which his patient must have been exposed…” “Westward the vessel sped-westward while the sun showed only as a crimson ball in its Arabian setting. . .ending in the grey, angry, white-capped waves of the Atlantic in winter.” Of One Blood: Or, the Hidden Self: The “Arabs were everywhere; veiled omen looked at the Christians with melting eyes above their wrappings.” “The astonishing nature of the startling problems he had unearthed, the agitation and indignation aroused in him by the heartless usage to which his patient must have been exposed…” “Westward the vessel sped-westward while the sun showed only as a crimson ball in its Arabian setting. . .ending in the grey, angry, white-capped waves of the Atlantic in winter.” Of One Blood: Or, the Hidden Self: The Givens Collection was a sci-fi historical novel about medical student Reuel Briggs who didn’t appreciate his black cultural roots or that of African history for that matter. He then travels to Ethiopia to be rudely awakened by painful reality of the historical black race. While this was the only one in the collection that I read, I can’t help but wonder if the first 3 would help give me a better foundation. Either way, it was written in prose and was beautiful-surprisingly loved it. It was one of the first novels I read in prose. Of One Blood is metaphorical because it refers to all as one human race, with one blood. It was mystical, adventurers and romantical in its’ own right. A good read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jada

    When I closed this book this afternoon, I cannot describe how genuinely perplexed I was. Probably the most confusing book I've ever read. Not bad per say. It has plenty of interesting plot points. It just makes little sense. I am looking forward to discussing this book in my group research meeting (aka us shit talking with our professor). When I closed this book this afternoon, I cannot describe how genuinely perplexed I was. Probably the most confusing book I've ever read. Not bad per say. It has plenty of interesting plot points. It just makes little sense. I am looking forward to discussing this book in my group research meeting (aka us shit talking with our professor).

  9. 4 out of 5

    Yana D.

    "O, flippant-tongued offspring of an ungenerous people, how is it with my brother? Crisp of hair. ...Black of skin! How do you treat such as this one in your country? ...And yet, ye are all of one blood; descended from one common father. Is there ever a flock or herd without its black member? What more beautiful than the satin gloss of the raven's wing, the soft glitter of eyes of blackest tint, or the rich black fur of your own native animals? Fair-haired worshippers of Mammon, do you not know "O, flippant-tongued offspring of an ungenerous people, how is it with my brother? Crisp of hair. ...Black of skin! How do you treat such as this one in your country? ...And yet, ye are all of one blood; descended from one common father. Is there ever a flock or herd without its black member? What more beautiful than the satin gloss of the raven's wing, the soft glitter of eyes of blackest tint, or the rich black fur of your own native animals? Fair-haired worshippers of Mammon, do you not know that you have been weighed in the balance and found wanting? That your course is done? That Ethiopia's bondage is about over, her travail passed?" One would expect this very pro-Black dialogue in Afro-Futurist/speculative fiction today, but to read those words, delivered by an African character, from a series published in 1902-1903 was an incredibly delicious experience. I must have read that passage five times before I moved on. This eloquently written novel, which satisfyingly spans multiple genres, is already on my "must re-read" list. I loved every moment spent reading this book. Though billed as a horror classic, Of One Blood: Or, the Hidden Self, is one of those books that defies easy categorization, which makes it a great read for anyone. I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher through Netgalley.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jade

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Published in serial form in 1902 and 1903, this book used the science of it’s time, similar to Mary Shelley, to begin a tale of Reuel Briggs, a medical student attuned to the art of ‘mesmerism.’ He brings back a young woman, Dianthe, from ‘death’ by applying his research to an actual person and of course falls in love. His best friend also falls in love and under the guise of being helpful, sends Briggs off on a quest to Africa, with nefarious schemes to allow his path to Dianthe to become wide Published in serial form in 1902 and 1903, this book used the science of it’s time, similar to Mary Shelley, to begin a tale of Reuel Briggs, a medical student attuned to the art of ‘mesmerism.’ He brings back a young woman, Dianthe, from ‘death’ by applying his research to an actual person and of course falls in love. His best friend also falls in love and under the guise of being helpful, sends Briggs off on a quest to Africa, with nefarious schemes to allow his path to Dianthe to become wide open. Briggs discovers a hidden city and more than he bargained for with his lineage on his trip and his powers prove useful in uncovering his friend’s deception. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Pauline Hopkins tells a journeying to Africa tale with a twist and includes arguments for Africans being the first people to roam the earth and shows how arbitrary race divides actually are. It’s interesting to read a book written in the 1900s that has a Wakanda vibe, while feeling in the same vein as a gothic Victorian tale with mesmerism and ghost stories playing a role.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Karen Kohoutek

    This is a really interesting novel (originally serialized in 1902-1903), which ends up fusing the complications of American race relations with an African-based mysticism. Oddly, its mystical premise is not unlike that of the Moorish Science Temple, founded a decade later and finding its biggest success in the '20s, but there's no clear relationship. I imagine a lot of these ideas were just int he air. Anyway, modern readers will note that the early section, about an eccentric medical student, w This is a really interesting novel (originally serialized in 1902-1903), which ends up fusing the complications of American race relations with an African-based mysticism. Oddly, its mystical premise is not unlike that of the Moorish Science Temple, founded a decade later and finding its biggest success in the '20s, but there's no clear relationship. I imagine a lot of these ideas were just int he air. Anyway, modern readers will note that the early section, about an eccentric medical student, whose experiments on reviving the dead have led to a successful formula for doing so, has strong similarities with Lovecraft's "Herbert West--Reanimator." Lovecraft almost certainly wouldn't have known about this earlier story, and they were probably both taking the idea of Frankenstein and applying it to a contemporary milieu. It's interesting to see, though, how a superficially similar premises can lead to dramatically different works, since this ends up not being at all the focus of Hopkins' novel, which is more about relationships between individuals, and between the present and the past.

  12. 4 out of 5

    rachel

    As a novel of ideas and of excellent scenes of description, this is great and deserves to be labeled a classic. As one unified story, however, it's a wild mishmash of plot that if you have the patience, will mostly come together at the end (albeit with 120% maximum drama that as a modern reader you must either have a taste for, or a familiarity with 19th/20th century serialized potboilers and adventure stories to tolerate). A little Reanimator, a little H. Rider Haggard's She, a little Black Pan As a novel of ideas and of excellent scenes of description, this is great and deserves to be labeled a classic. As one unified story, however, it's a wild mishmash of plot that if you have the patience, will mostly come together at the end (albeit with 120% maximum drama that as a modern reader you must either have a taste for, or a familiarity with 19th/20th century serialized potboilers and adventure stories to tolerate). A little Reanimator, a little H. Rider Haggard's She, a little Black Panther. I wish my hopes had not been raised so high for the horror elements in the beginning of the book - the haunted house, the reanimation - because I did feel let down when it became clear this would be more adventure story with spiritual, "beyond the veil of reality" fantastical elements added in.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tresha Green

    Such a soap opera drama of many genres in one book from a (new to me) African American female author from the 1890s. I definitely want to read her other works.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sersmith

    I purchased this book at the Nubia exhibit at Boston’s Museum of Fine Art. (Exhibit recommended if you are in Boston). It was originally published in a magazine and I can easily imagine it published in serial form. I enjoyed it and recommend as worth a read, as historic African American literature.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kenneth Sutherland

    not to be reductive but its kind of like a victorian black panther with a little bit of incest thrown in at the end i enjoyed the prose and the premise but the whole narrative is fairly telegraphed (besides the incest which idk why that was a part of the story) a fairly radical central theme from a black female author especially considering it was published before airplanes were invented

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dominique Dyitt

    Early works of a generous Sci fi author among many things. You will have to read it to understand the imagination and depth of the author. Keep the period in which it was written in mind.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Emma Probst

    This book has some beautifully written paragraphs, especially when it reflects on the larger implications of society and morality. The story is a bit strange and I wish that Hopkins had added more detail in certain points. For instance, there is a ghostly apparition who writes in a Bible, but why doesn't she appear to others in a similar way. The futuristic society is a bit like Wakanda in some ways and this made me curious to see more about how it works. I also love seeing more about that proto This book has some beautifully written paragraphs, especially when it reflects on the larger implications of society and morality. The story is a bit strange and I wish that Hopkins had added more detail in certain points. For instance, there is a ghostly apparition who writes in a Bible, but why doesn't she appear to others in a similar way. The futuristic society is a bit like Wakanda in some ways and this made me curious to see more about how it works. I also love seeing more about that proto-Bible written in an ancient language. They bring it up but don't do anything with it after that and I was hoping it would have a bigger role. This hidden world also has a confusing relationship with Christianity in general, they clearly have access to the Old Testament and are aware of who Jesus is, but they also don't seem to worship him and their beliefs include reincarnation of the spirit, something that is not present in Judaism or Christianity. There is a lot of spiritualism in this book and some great gothic themes, but I found it harder to figure out what the book was trying to say in a larger sense

  18. 5 out of 5

    Haley Shannon

    Such an incredible book. The writing style is a little unusual, but the story is so incredible and serves as a beautifully poignant commentary on black lives in America after the abolitionist movement. Magic, ghosts, visions, hidden cities, and twists that you'll never see coming make this story both a fascinating adventure as well as an insight into a deeply important perspective. Such an incredible book. The writing style is a little unusual, but the story is so incredible and serves as a beautifully poignant commentary on black lives in America after the abolitionist movement. Magic, ghosts, visions, hidden cities, and twists that you'll never see coming make this story both a fascinating adventure as well as an insight into a deeply important perspective.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jaylen

    Interesting! Hopkins has achieved wonderous things in this novel, giving blackness an ancient history which was sure to engage readers of the time. I wonder though why it needs to be done through legitimizing blackness by writing about its ancient 'dignified' history and culture. With that in mind, the novel is a bit unsettling. Though, I guess one could argue that the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome give the west a dignified history in the same way, so Hopkins may simply be trying to offer Interesting! Hopkins has achieved wonderous things in this novel, giving blackness an ancient history which was sure to engage readers of the time. I wonder though why it needs to be done through legitimizing blackness by writing about its ancient 'dignified' history and culture. With that in mind, the novel is a bit unsettling. Though, I guess one could argue that the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome give the west a dignified history in the same way, so Hopkins may simply be trying to offer the same to a black audience. Thought the elements of white passing in this were also interesting - Reuel negociating his own position as between the white and black but ultimately going to/accepting/choosing his blackness - may be interesting to think about this in conjunction with Nella Larsen's Passing, where a similar thing happens with her protagonist. The plot was very twisty which was fun and engaging, though bordering on the ridiculous. I couldn't take the magical realism seriously, but saw it as emblematic of the vivacity and power of this ancient 'Hidden City'. The ending also feels strange in that Reuel becomes part of the Hidden City, even after Hopkins stresses how we are all 'Of One Blood'. This seemed kind of reductive, as black and white are still separated at the end of the text. Maybe this novel is simply supposed to suggest that the black experience and identity is on par with and matches whiteness, and Hopkins shows how both originated from sophisticated ancient sources.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Crystal Zavala

    As someone who is always skeptical of classics, I went into Of One Blood very timidly. This version Of One Blood published by Poisoned Pen Press as part of their Haunted Library of Horror classics prints the exact way that Ms. Hopkins originally published her writing, but included some footnotes that I found to be very helpful. Of One Blood follows Reuel Briggs, a broke medical student, who falls in love and decides to go on an expedition in Africa to raise money in order to support his new wife. As someone who is always skeptical of classics, I went into Of One Blood very timidly. This version Of One Blood published by Poisoned Pen Press as part of their Haunted Library of Horror classics prints the exact way that Ms. Hopkins originally published her writing, but included some footnotes that I found to be very helpful. Of One Blood follows Reuel Briggs, a broke medical student, who falls in love and decides to go on an expedition in Africa to raise money in order to support his new wife. Ms. Hopkins sucked me in with her writings about pyramids and Ethiopia. I am absolutely fascinated by ancient ruins! I would like to point out that even though Of One Blood is part of the Haunted Library Horror Classics series, it is more SFF than horror. It took me a bit to adjust my expectations of the book when I figured that out. It took me a bit to adjust my expectations of the book when the story started taking that turn. That being said, Ms. Hopkins is a very talented writer. I can truly see why she is considered a pioneer in writing. Of One Blood means that all people have the same blood regardless of the color of their skin. She must have been very brave to write this story in 1902, just a short 40 years after slavery was abolished. Ms. Hopkins was only about 5 years old on Juneteenth. I have so many questions about Ms. Hopkins and spent a couple hours reading about her last night.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Austin

    3 stars Learned about this book while visiting the Ancient Nubia exhibit at the MFA in Boston. There was a short video which talked about some similarities between the hidden advanced society of Wakanda and the hidden advanced city beneath Meroe in this story (which was first published in 1902). That was intriguing enough for me, but I was also curious to see what Pauline Hopkins's writing was like. I hadn't heard of her before seeing that exhibit but was interested to learn more about her as an 3 stars Learned about this book while visiting the Ancient Nubia exhibit at the MFA in Boston. There was a short video which talked about some similarities between the hidden advanced society of Wakanda and the hidden advanced city beneath Meroe in this story (which was first published in 1902). That was intriguing enough for me, but I was also curious to see what Pauline Hopkins's writing was like. I hadn't heard of her before seeing that exhibit but was interested to learn more about her as an early African-American science fiction writer. Lastly, a large part of the book takes place in Boston so it seemed like all the dots were connected. In the end, it was a pretty quick and enjoyable read. There are a few parts that drag on a bit with a character giving a lot of exposition or history during a dialog. And, of course, it is an older book and published first in serialized form. Usually the problem with serialized books is they are paid by the word and often ramble on a long time (looking at you, Dumas). For the most part, this book did not have that issue. I would have liked a little more plot and perhaps a bit more conflict and danger, but that's not really the author's intent here so I'm not too concerned by it. In the end, it is always cool to read early science fiction and super cool to have a sci-fi story influenced by the Nubians.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Meh. Read this book for my American Literature class (1840-1920). It starts off interesting, but it sort of escalated into this over-the-top charade and I couldn't take it seriously. It's very dramatic. I appreciate the central message it's sending out (that we're all "of one blood," regardless of the color of one's skin), but I think the way Hopkins got there was a bit too much for my taste. I also understand that the time in which this novel was written was a time in American history when mysti Meh. Read this book for my American Literature class (1840-1920). It starts off interesting, but it sort of escalated into this over-the-top charade and I couldn't take it seriously. It's very dramatic. I appreciate the central message it's sending out (that we're all "of one blood," regardless of the color of one's skin), but I think the way Hopkins got there was a bit too much for my taste. I also understand that the time in which this novel was written was a time in American history when mysticism and sciences hadn't yet become completely different spheres, so I can see readers at the turn of the century reading this with excitement and awe, but for me (in the year 2013) it was--at many times--laughable.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ariel

    Read this for class: interesting ideas about race and history, but I felt the plot spiralled out of control and out of reason.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    This book is a mass of contradictions. There's a part of me that wants to give it less than one star and a part of me that wants to give it five stars because of all of the ways it made me think. Hence the three star rating. I'll say this: if you're here as a modern reader for an actual plot-driven-sense-making-story you can enjoy, this book is NOT for you. If, however, you're here to contemplate the breaking down of genre to examine race at the beginning of the 20th century by subverting a wide This book is a mass of contradictions. There's a part of me that wants to give it less than one star and a part of me that wants to give it five stars because of all of the ways it made me think. Hence the three star rating. I'll say this: if you're here as a modern reader for an actual plot-driven-sense-making-story you can enjoy, this book is NOT for you. If, however, you're here to contemplate the breaking down of genre to examine race at the beginning of the 20th century by subverting a wide variety of tropes and forms through the lens of mysticism, religion, silence, bodily autonomy, and the sheer audacity of white men then this may just be the book for you. It's not that I didn't like this book, because I did. I just liked it as a scholar (and after I was able to sit with others and hash out what was going on.) I simply didn't Enjoy reading it. It does a lot of really cool work and I'll probably be thinking about it for a long time, but I will also probably never voluntarily pick it up again.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Erica WhimsicalyMe

    When @poisonedpenpress reached out to me to review Of One Blood, I was intrigued. It’s considered a horror classic but I hadn’t read it. I am pleased to say that this book surprised me in so many ways! The book is known by 2 names: Of One Blood or The Hidden Self Hopkins’ work here is transcendent, bending genres from horror to sci-if. Despite being written in 1902-3 deals with racial issues that are still relevant in 2021. I found the writing magical at times, dramatic in others. The plot is fil When @poisonedpenpress reached out to me to review Of One Blood, I was intrigued. It’s considered a horror classic but I hadn’t read it. I am pleased to say that this book surprised me in so many ways! The book is known by 2 names: Of One Blood or The Hidden Self Hopkins’ work here is transcendent, bending genres from horror to sci-if. Despite being written in 1902-3 deals with racial issues that are still relevant in 2021. I found the writing magical at times, dramatic in others. The plot is filled ghosts, psychic like visions, hidden cites, and plot twists. It’s a quick read at 180 pages. This book feels as if it is a very important part of history and should be read for that reason amongst others. I rated this ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and think this is the perfect book to pick up for Black History Month if you are a fan of horror or sci-if fan. Thank you @poisonedpenpress for my advanced reader’s copy of the book to review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jennie

    Of One Blood by Pauline Hopkins is a novel from the first decade of the twentieth century set in post Civil War Boston. The story centers around Reuel Briggs, a medical student, and his friends, Livingston and Vance. The house next door to the Vance's has a Halloween legend. Years before there were some family murders and the ghost of a woman remains and sometimes appears on Halloween. The friends decide to test this out and Briggs sees her, but he has seen her before. Briggs ends up on a trip t Of One Blood by Pauline Hopkins is a novel from the first decade of the twentieth century set in post Civil War Boston. The story centers around Reuel Briggs, a medical student, and his friends, Livingston and Vance. The house next door to the Vance's has a Halloween legend. Years before there were some family murders and the ghost of a woman remains and sometimes appears on Halloween. The friends decide to test this out and Briggs sees her, but he has seen her before. Briggs ends up on a trip to Ethiopia to find ancient treasures. But the trip maybe more dangerous than originally thought. This story is a great blend of historical fiction, mysticism, and fantasy. The other great element is that it is story from a female writer of the Harlem Renaissance. Because of this the story and structure are very different from what you would read today. This might cause modern readers to have initial reactions to the writing but move past that and enjoy the story of these characters.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alison Zoccola

    I read this novel for an English class on the novel in America to 1914, and this was the last novel we read in that class, and the most "modern" one. Hopkins has some great imagery and fascinating, though somewhat ambiguous characters, and I really enjoyed the overarching themes of discovering one's past and reclaiming the future. Hopkins manages to find hope even in the face of the failure of Reconstruction and the establishment of Jim Crow, hope which is still needed over a century after this I read this novel for an English class on the novel in America to 1914, and this was the last novel we read in that class, and the most "modern" one. Hopkins has some great imagery and fascinating, though somewhat ambiguous characters, and I really enjoyed the overarching themes of discovering one's past and reclaiming the future. Hopkins manages to find hope even in the face of the failure of Reconstruction and the establishment of Jim Crow, hope which is still needed over a century after this novel was published. If you're interested in American history and/or American literature, and you haven't read this yet, I recommend you fill in one of the gaps in your reading with this excellent novel.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marti (Letstalkaboutbooksbaybee)

    Maybe a 2.5 rounded up? First of all, I did receive a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. The story was all over the place. I can appreciate what the author was trying to do, and the general themes about racism that were discussed are sadly still relevant today even though it was written in 1902. However it just felt like it was trying to be too many things at once. Was it sci-fi? Was it horror? Was it fantasy? I really don’t know which way it was meant to go. Maybe a 2.5 rounded up? First of all, I did receive a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. The story was all over the place. I can appreciate what the author was trying to do, and the general themes about racism that were discussed are sadly still relevant today even though it was written in 1902. However it just felt like it was trying to be too many things at once. Was it sci-fi? Was it horror? Was it fantasy? I really don’t know which way it was meant to go. I’d recommend this one if you want something akin to mixing Frankenstein and Wuthering Heights with Marvel’s Black Panther?

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Stewart

    I read the newest SOURCEBOOKS (Poisoned Pen Press) Edition of this book, and know there are lots of different releases, but this one I’m reviewing was part of a release from a series developed to understand general horror and influence throughout history, the HAUNTED LIBRARY OF HORROR CLASSICS. First of all, these books are beautiful. Consistent appeal across volumes with annotations, reading list, notes, introduction, reading club discussion questions, and lots more. The story itself is less of I read the newest SOURCEBOOKS (Poisoned Pen Press) Edition of this book, and know there are lots of different releases, but this one I’m reviewing was part of a release from a series developed to understand general horror and influence throughout history, the HAUNTED LIBRARY OF HORROR CLASSICS. First of all, these books are beautiful. Consistent appeal across volumes with annotations, reading list, notes, introduction, reading club discussion questions, and lots more. The story itself is less of horror, but with ghosts, eerie hypnotism, haunted houses, murder, etc. A classic of Afrofuturism, adventure, romance, mystery, too.

  30. 4 out of 5

    victor

    a very strange and captivating book! the plot felt at times to a bit too much to fit into one short novel. it merges almost greek-tragedy-esque revelations with science fiction speculative aspects, all with a gothic and melodramatic writing style. i quite liked this, but i understand how it could not be for everyone. i dare say the best part is the nuanced philosophical discussion involving race; as a major theme of this book is family history, and how we are all "of one blood", so to speak. a very strange and captivating book! the plot felt at times to a bit too much to fit into one short novel. it merges almost greek-tragedy-esque revelations with science fiction speculative aspects, all with a gothic and melodramatic writing style. i quite liked this, but i understand how it could not be for everyone. i dare say the best part is the nuanced philosophical discussion involving race; as a major theme of this book is family history, and how we are all "of one blood", so to speak.

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