Short Reviews – Nina, Robert Bloch

Continuing my series of short reviews of short fiction from Fantasy and Science Fiction.  This Robert Bloch story appears in the June 1977 issue.

Nina is one of those little horror stories that couldn’t be written today without everyone complaining about how racist it was and how it could only come out of white imperialism. But it’s one of those nice little pieces that plays on those white imperialist fears. The protagonist is up-river, and while his family is safely at home in civilization, he’s having an affair with a mysterious ‘native’ woman whom he refers to as Nina (she doesn’t speak but he has to call her something).

Before his time overseeing the plantation is up, his wife and new-born child come to visit him. The local plantation “mama” volunteers to help watch after the child, but warns him about the snake people who live up in the mountains and tells him he needs to break things off with that strange woman as soon as he can. He does and it goes about as well as you’d expect in a story such as this.

For one of those stories in the “scary stuff happening to white people because of mysterious and monstrous brown people” genre, this one was pretty gross and creepy; not just in an “oh, that’s racist” gross and “what a creeper” creepy way, but in the genuinely gross and creepy weird horror sort of way that it was aiming for. It ended on a pretty good 2-3 layered fridge horror joke.  Much better than the twist ending to Medusa’s Coil, which was about as close as Lovecraft ever came to putting “LOL NIGGERS!” in one of his stories.

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