The Ballad of Black Tom
In 1924 Harlem, Tommy Tester is a small-time hustler whose regular guise as a street musician brings him in contact with reclusive millionaire Robert Suydam, who wants him to participate in a nefarious scheme involving the Great Old Ones.
"The Ballad of Black Tom" won the 2016 Shirley Jackson Award for best novella, and was a finalist for the 2016 Bram Stoker Award for Best Long Fiction, the 2016 Nebula Award for Best Novella, the 2017 British Fantasy Award for best novella, the 2017 Theodore Sturgeon Award, the 2017 Hugo Award for Best Novella, and the 2017 World Fantasy Award—Long Fiction.
Slate called it "riveting", "clever", and "compelling", and noted LaValle's comparison of "cosmic indifference" to targeted racist malice and brutality. Vice described it as "tightly written, beautifully creepy, and politically resonant", and emphasized that despite its nature as a literary "rebuttal", it is still "a thrilling Lovecraftian tale of mystery, monsters, and madness".
Nina Allan commended LaValle for "making (...) 'The Horror at Red Hook' (into) an actual story (...) featuring real characters with real motivations – a claim that can not safely be made for the original tale", but observed that — when compared to the vivid "lunacy" of Lovecraft's writing — LaValle's prose is "grounded and sound in both mind and body" and ultimately "pedestrian". Conversely, the Philadelphia Inquirer preferred LaValle's "sharp and direct sentences" to Lovecraft's "spongy prose".
- 2016 Shirley Jackson Awards, retrieved October 7, 2017
- 2016 Bram Stoker Awards final ballot; at Horror.org; retrieved October 7, 2017
- SFWA Announces 2016 Nebula, Norton, and Bradbury Award Nominees!, at Science Fiction Writers of America; published February 20, 2017; retrieved October 7, 2017
- British Fantasy Awards 2017 – Shortlists, by Phil Lunt, at the British Fantasy Society; published July 14, 2017; retrieved October 7, 2017
- Sturgeon Award finalists; retrieved October 7, 2017
- 2017 Hugo Awards, at TheHugoAwards.org; retrieved October 7, 2017
- 2017 World Fantasy Award Finalists, at Locus Online; published July 26, 2017; retrieved October 7, 2017
- Lovecraft’s Black Monsters, by Tammy Oler, at Slate; published March 9, 2016; retrieved October 7, 2017
- Victor LaValle’s New Novel Is H. P. Lovecraft, Without the Horrific Racism, by Lincoln Michel, at Vice; published March 2, 2016; retrieved October 7, 2017
- #weird2016: The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle, reviewed by Nina Allan, at NinaAllan.co.uk; published April 23, 2016; retrieved October 7, 2017
- 'Ballad of Black Tom' Out-Lovecrafts Lovecraft, by Ryan Teitman, in the Philadelphia Inquirer; published July 31, 2016; retrieved October 7, 2017
- AMC’s “Ballad of Black Tom” Will Get Caught in a Lovecraftian Conspiracy, by John Squires, at Bloody Disgusting; published July 31, 2017; retrieved October 7, 2017
- 'The Ballad Of Black Tom' Offers A Tribute To And Critique Of Lovecraft: Victor LaValle interviewed on National Public Radio's Fresh Air
- Excerpt from "The Ballad of Black Tom", at Tor.com
- GUEST INTERVIEW Ardi Alspach Chats with Victor LaValle About Lovecraft, Racism and THE BALLAD OF BLACK TOM, at SF Signal
- The Big Idea: Victor LaValle, essay by LaValle on the process of writing the story, at Whatever