By Kenesha Williams
Murder and clones and sci-fi mixed with horror, these are a few of my favorite things. For some that list of favorite things would be their worst nightmare, but not me, horror is my jam. Not only is it my jam but reading a book that has a mix of horror and science fiction is my happy place! Which is why my favorite book of 2019 (so far) is Tade Thompson’s The Survival of Molly Southbourne.
The rules are simple.
If you see a girl who looks like you, run and fight.
If you bleed, blot, burn, and bleach.
If you find a hole, find your parents.
The Survival of Molly Southbourne is a sequel to The Murders of Molly Southbourne, so I’ll try not to give spoilers of Murders. Molly Southbourne is a woman that creates clones of herself anytime she bleeds. As you can imagine, being a woman, she bleeds a lot. She’s been trained by her parents all her life on how to dispose of her blood so that she won’t create any clones, but accidents happen, and clones, called mollys, are made. Oh, and it’s not just that her blood creates clones, these clones are programmed to murder her, so she must kill them before they kill her. Survival expands on that premise and shows us a larger world for Molly.
Survival jumps right into the action starting where Murders left off, with Molly escaping a house fire. However, we’re now being guided by a molly that is not the Prime Molly and she is trying to find her purpose in life. Molly has all the same memories as the Prime Molly and when she meets another woman, Tamara, with her same ability who lives at peace with her clones she starts to believe that everything Molly’s been taught has been a lie. There is also a concurrent story thread told from the perspective of Molly’s former lover, scientist James Down, from Murders that is carrying out an experiment in hopes of understanding Molly and her abilities.
Thematically, The Survival of Molly Southbourne is about self-identity and being comfortable with all facets of ourselves. In the end we literally see Molly living with different versions of herself and if Molly can coexist with killer clones then I think that we can learn to embrace all aspects of our own disparate personalities. So, if murder and clones are some of your favorite things, and you’re not afraid of blood, I highly recommend The Survival of Molly Southbourne and if you haven’t read The Murders of Molly Southbourne pick that up too!
Kenesha Williams is an independent author, screenwriter, speaker, and Founder/Editor-in-Chief of Black Girl Magic Lit Mag a speculative fiction literary magazine. She lives in the DC Metro area and is currently working on several spooky projects while wrangling her cat, Leia, and her three boys. Kenesha is represented by Stacey Graham.