Sheree Thomas: Dark Matter A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora

( EBOOK Dark Matter A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora ) by Sheree Thomas –

Dark mat er n a nonluminous form of matter which has not been directly observed but whose existence has been deduced by its gravitational effectsThe above citation from NASA s Jet Propulsion Lab glossary is eferenced in the Introduction of this captivating anthology to great effect Indeed the contributions of black writers to the field of speculative fiction has often been overlooked even dismissed whereas this collection is a testament to their presence their influence and to their historical contributions that all SF fans should be aware of egardless of acial backgroundIn this amazing collection of Black speculative fiction oughly half are stories by contemporary authors published 2001 the copyright dates on those stories are 2000 while the other half are an historical eview of stories from as early as 1887 To me the title implied stories from earlier years but the modern entries are all so strong and diverse it seems the editor just couldn t say no after eceiving all the submissionsThe collection is perfect for someone like me who a is naive about and would like to know about the ich history of authors from the African diaspora in science fiction and fantasy and b wants an A list of authors to try who are currently active in the fieldI ve given this collection 5 stars not because every story was 5 stars they weren t but because it is such an amazingly strong collection and because it has such historical and cultural elevance It has the occasional lull and what moments but overall I would say this is one of the most consistently interesting and meaningful collections of stories I have ever eadI ve listed all of the titles and authors in case you want to follow up on any of them and it was an easy way to post uick eviews of each story The main body of the book contains 29 fictional short storiesnovel excerpts and five non fiction essays are included at the end of the book There is a second collection Dark Matter Reading the Bones published 4 years after this one though it is a modern anthology and only has five historical storiesEntries in the order they appear in the bookFictionSister Lilith 2000 by Honor e Fanonne Jeffers 5 stars Great etelling of the AdamEve creation story with a lot of poignant commentary on ace and malefemale elationshipsThe Comet 1920 by WEB Du Bois 4 stars This should totally be 5 stars not only is this a story of historical significance who knew WEB DuBois wrote science fiction but the scenario offers excruciating insight into ace elations and what it means to be human Unfortunately I thought the last 5 sentences of the story changed the tone and implications of the previous succession of events and insights in a way that diluted the message Others may not feel this way short story endings are a very subjective experience but it spoiled the overall effect for me It is still highly ecommended eading probably worth buying the book just for the historical significance of this oneChicago 1927 2000 by Jewelle L Gomez 4 stars I loved the storyline and atmosphere of this one clever interplay of history and mythology I stumbled a bit on the writing style and I thought the last minute exposition at the end could have been handled better but otherwise a wonderful experience I plan to ead The Gilda Stories a whole collection of stories about this characterExcerpt from Black No More 1931 by George S Schuyler 5 stars Whimsical edgy exposition on the potentialities of becoming white told from a kind of man on the street perspective Reminds me of Eddie Murphy s skit on the subject 5 stars for the excerpt because it hits on so many poignant aspects so uickly and efficiently with an engaging conversational prose The final line is so haunting as a short story endpoint it makes me wonder if some of that effect will be lost in the book Still I m interested to see what other aspects the book explores and I m amazed I d never heard of it before nowseparation anxiety 2000 by Evie Shockley 3 stars Good writing and characterization but the world building was not uite believable separate but eual doesn t seem like something that people of color would be fighting for given historical precedent And I didn t eally like the way her brother handled thingsTasting Songs 2000 by Leone Ross 4 stars I m not a big fan of stories about infidelity but this one has enough surprises and emotional eflection to make up for it The speculative nature is not as pronounced as other stories it seemed like ordinary literary fiction for at least the first half but it seems to meet the definition in an unusual wayCan You Wear My Eyes 2000 by Kalamu ya Salaam 4 stars Spooky and short it loses a little steam by tryi. This volume introduces black science fiction fantasy and speculative fiction writers to the generations of eaders who have not had the chance to explore the scope and diversity among African American writersFiction Sister Lilith Honoree Fanonne JeffersThe Comet WEB Du Bois Chicage 1927 Jewelle GomezBlack No More novel excerpt George S Schuyler separation anxiety Evie Shockley Tasting Songs Leone RossCan You Wear My Eyes Kalamu ya SalaamLike Daughter Tananarive Due Greedy Choke.

Ng to cover so many issues but it is a haunting idea about getting some perspectiveLike Daughter 2000 by Tananarive Due 4 stars A spooky philosophical tale ich in character development A little confusing because it is presented in a mysterious keep you guessing format but the amifications of the situation everberate long after the story concludes This one like Tasting Songs doesn t eally get to the speculative element until near the endGreedy Choke Puppy 2000 by Nalo Hopkinson 5 stars Haunting from the get go this one is much darker almost horror than previous entries and has a worthy poignant ending The Creole diction and cadence peppered throughout creates a hypnotic hythm that flavors the storyRhythm Travel 1996 by Amiri Baraka 5 stars Fun free floating little interlude with amazing wordplay Ellisonic Dis Report on Appearance and some interesting ideas Some of the eferences definitely went over my headBuddy Bolden 1996 by Kalamu ya Salaam 5 stars Wow so beautiful I cried And the writing was so sumptuous I could taste the words Slight dependency on the female form as a stand in for sexual ecstacy but the high minded ideas here than make up for itAye and Gomorrah 1968 by Samuel R Delany 3 stars An interesting worldidea but the overall impression I got from this tale was of intolerance which was not appealing and not epresentative of why I ead sci fi At one point he lumps homosexuality in with sexual fetishes so I don t know if it dates the book or is a eflection of the author s sensibilitiesGanger Ball Lightining 2000 by Nalo Hopkinson 5 stars Wow creepy sensual what the fck Seems like Hopkinson may be an author to avoid late at night But I m definitely a fanThe Becoming 2000 by Akua Lezli Hope 4 stars Very short and efficient great world building considering the brevity I especially loved the ealistic slang Had to take a point off because I did not understand Jason s ole in the story the mystery strayed too far into confusion by the end But the punchline is great especially if you ve never ead the concept before A later short story by a different author developed this idea further but it s a spoiler for this story so ead at your own isk view spoilerPaolo Bacigalupi s The Fluted Girl currently available free here hide spoiler I m awfully lated to this party Dark Matter was eleased in 2000 but better late than never ightSheree Thomas did a commendable job picking stories and authors for the collection One of my favorite gems was the opening chapter or two from a book written in the 30s about one of the first patients for a new medical procedure to turn black people into white people The only eally totally missed note for me was the story by Steven Barnes and I suspect that s because I just don t very much like to ead the things that he likes to write Other than that I was eacuainted with some old favorites and introduced to some phenomenal new to me writers I d ecommend the book without any eservation I love this book The short stories are all engaging I own this and e ead it from time to time This anthology is a useful collection and contains some wonderful fiction However its subtitle A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora led me to expect a collection of texts that eally does attempt to epresent the last century Instead only one third of the book is constituted by stories that were published prior to the year 2000 anging chronologically from 1887 to 1999 This places the emphasis of the book less on evealing how much black SF has been written in the past and the traditions of black SF or black writers who venture into SF and on introducing new voices in black SF and encouraging contemporary black writers of SF That is a worthy goal I don t mean t 29 fictional stories and 5 essays I mostly enjoyed them There were a few I couldn t understand but that s because they were heavy on AAVE and i m white But I truly did enjoy most of the stories and loved several of them I m glad I ead it As uneven as you d expect in an anthology this length but well worth eading Has an Octavia Butler story that blew my mind a little I m in love with Nalo Hopkinson now too Gonna ead the seuel Sister LilithHonoree Fanonne Jeffers Didn t love the story but opening with something set in the time of Genesis Bible not band felt appropriate The cometWEB Du Bois Great writing Du Bois convincingly and succinctly conveys the feelings of the protagonist under a series of abrupt shocking changesBlack No MoreGeorge Schuyler Hard to assess as it is an early on excerpt from a novel and I don t know where it goes Certainly seems like a good historical document egarding acial and cultural iss. Puppy Nalo Hopkinson Rhythm Travel Amiri Baraka Buddy Bolden Kalamu ya SalaamAye and Gomorrah Samuel R Delany Ganger Ball Lightning Nalo HopkinsonThe Becoming Akua Lezli HopeThe Goophered Grapevine Charles W ChestnuttThe Evening and the Morning and the Night Octavia E Butler Twice at Once Separated Linda Addison Gimmile's Songs Charles R Saunders At the Huts of Ajala Nisi Shawl The Woman in the Wall Steven Barnes Ark of Bones Henry Dumas Butta's Backyard Barbecue Tony Medina Fut.

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Ues of the 1920s Like DaughterTannarive Due Sad creepy horrifying Poor everybody I keep meaning to ead by this authorGreedy choke puppyNalo Hopkinson Life is tough Granny is tougher That sounds jokey though and although this story has humor it is not a frivolous story In fact it is unexpectedly hard hittingTasting songsLeone Ross Aside from the idea of hyperhydrosis so extreme that one literally poured water constantly wouldn t you dehydrate this doesn t eally seem like spec fic a photographer talks about his affair with a model and the effect on his marriageseparation anxietyEvie Shockley African Americans are voluntarily segregated into cultural eservations where they protected from alternate cultural influences Most of them prefer this but young people find the increasingly intrusive demands of anthropological ecord keeping offensiveAye and GomorrahSamuel R Delany Body as subject of and unit of exchange in capitalism sex psychology Ganger ball lightningNalo Hopkinson It s a story as old as time buying your partner sex toys instead of talking about your feelings never works out in the endAt the huts of AjalaNisi Shawl Interior journey as coming of age via a sort of allegorical dream uest I don t know what this is called but I ve seen it done a number of times often interestingly I did like the concept of being two headed I don t know if Shawl invented that or if it is a part of the voodoo traditionThe woman in the wallSteven Barnes An American artist abroad is wrongfully imprisoned in a camp for contagious efugees Her husband is shot and she is left esponsible for his daughter with whom she has a ocky elationship The camp with its starvation and filth was viscerally horrible I m not sure where the speculative aspect came in Ark of bonesHenry Dumas Wow That was eally different and impressive It s like Twain took some hallucinogens and decided to write something mythopoetic Depressingly it appears that all of Dumas stories and poems were published by a friend after his premature accidental death by transit cop Why don t they make white obots is the uestion posed by the lyrical and tragic story The Pretended by Darryl A Smith one of the best stories collected in Dark Matter It works on all levels black themes black author using a future setting to say something elated to the present etc I love this story Unfortunately not all the other stories are eually at home in the collection Some like Gimmile s Songs by Charles R Saunders are good science fiction of their type but use African themes merely as a kind of exotic setting Other stories are heavily into African identity projected into the future or the supernatural but they aren t otherwise the best epresentatives of their genre Some aren t stories at all they are excerpts from novels which intrigue but don t hold their own as short fiction No less than three stories feature timespace travel by means of hythm which makes me wonder about the difference between stereotype and clicheThe earliest story in the book 1887 is a surprise and delight I had no idea W E B Du Bois wrote what we d now call science fiction Despite the inclusion of his excellent story people who like me are interested in early speculative fiction will be disappointed Seventeen of the collected stories are from 2000 which is not what I expected from a century of speculative fiction The scope of the collection is further limited by having some contemporary authors contribute than one story Still there are some gems here Fans of the lesbian vampire novel The Gilda Stories will be pleased to see a new Gilda story here Evie Shockley offers insights into one eason human cloning holds a perhaps irresistible fascination for people who didn t get life ight the first time There are stories by genre giants Samuel R Delany and Octavia E Butler which are gateways to great science fiction for people who picked up the book for the African angle There are also some great essays by black science fiction authors about the ole ace plays in their writing or in the science fiction communityMy overall impression however is of a confused and lazy anthology that would have benefited from a broader scope and introductory essays to help connect the stories to the stated theme of the collection I ve ead through the first hundred pages or so of this 400 volume of short stories from Sister Lilith to Rhythm Travel I don t think I m euipped to speak much to this anthology except to say I was moved and challenged by the stories in emarkable ways I look forward to evisiting it in the future excellent ead by some of your favorite authors who you may not have known delve into science fiction Worth the tim. Ure Christmas novel excerpt Ishmael ReedAt Life's Limits Kiini Ibura Salaam The African Origins of UFOs novel excerpt Anthony JosephThe Astral Visitor Delta Blues Robert Fleming The Space Traders Derrick Bell The Pretended Darryl A Smith Hussy Strutt Ama PattersonEssays Racism and Science Fiction Samuel R DelanyWhy Blacks Should Read and Write Science Fiction Charles R Saunders Black to the Future Walter MosleyYet Do I Wonder Paul D MillerThe Monophobic Response Octavia E Butler.

Sheree Thomas — also credited as Sheree R Thomas and Sheree Renée Thomas — is an American writer book editor and publisherThomas is the editor of the Dark Matter anthology 2000 in which are collected works by some of the best African American writers in the genres of science fiction horror and fantasy Among the many notable authors included are Samuel R Delany Octavia E Butler Charles