Rion Amilcar Scott

Cindy Seip

Rion Amilcar Scott‘s first book, Insurrections, published in 2016, won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. His work has appeared in the Kenyon Review, the Rumpus, PANK, and Confrontation, among other publications. In the short story collection The World Doesn’t Require You ( Liveright), author Rion Amilcar Scott returns to fictional Cross River, Md., established in the mid-nineteenth century by the leaders of “the country’s only successful slave revolt.” We meet a struggling street musician who ends up in jail for robbery and happens to be the son of God. There’s also the tale of the ruthless PhD candidate, whose dissertation about a childhood game, “one of the very first things our ancestors did to spark the Great Insurrection,” ignites mayhem in the neighboring, once-segregated town of Port Yooga. And then closing “Special Topics in Loneliness Studies,” a fully-realized novella in which an unhinged professor no longer employed at the university teaches classes unbeknownst to the school’s higher-ups. Wildly spanning decades, perspectives, and species, the stories in The World Doesn’t Require You cross genres with certain magic realism flair as Scott, armed with a deadpan sense of humor, wanders in and out of science fiction, fantasy and horror, writing about it all with a straight face and a sense of humanity. Esquire celebrated The World Doesn’t Require You stating that  “A bold new talent emerges with this boundary-shattering collection of linked stories […] Characters range from robots to sons of God in these magical realist stories about race, religion, and violence. Think of it as Faulkner meets Asimov.”