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



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 ou dehydrate this doesn t really 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 reservations where they protected from alternate cultural influences Most of them prefer this but Die Reisenden young people find the increasingly intrusive demands of anthropological record 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 buyingour partner sex toys instead of talking about our 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 refugees Her husband is shot and she is left responsible for his daughter with whom she has a rocky relationship 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 really 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 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 referenced 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 the 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 read it I ve read 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 remarkable ways I look forward to revisiting it in the future I love this book The short stories are all engaging I own this and re read it from time to time. 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.

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Hey 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 rhythm 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 reason human cloning holds a perhaps irresistible fascination for people who didn t get life right 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 role race 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 m awfully lated to this party Dark Matter was released in 2000 but better late than never rightSheree 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 really 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 read the things that he likes to write Other than that I was reacuainted with some old favorites and introduced to some phenomenal new to me wr As uneven as ou d expect in an anthology this length but well worth reading Has an Octavia Butler story that blew my mind a little I m in love with Nalo Hopkinson now too Gonna read the seuel excellent read by some of ยอดบุรุษพลิกคดี เล่ม 1 your favorite authors whoou may not have known delve into science fiction Worth the time 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 regarding racial and cultural issues of the 1920s Like DaughterTannarive Due Sad creepy horrifying Poor everybody I keep meaning to read by. Puppy Nalo Hopkinson Rhythm Travel Amiri Baraka Buddy Bolden Kalamu a 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.

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 really does attempt to represent the last century Instead only one third of the book is constituted by stories that were published prior to the ear 2000 ranging chronologically from 1887 to 1999 This places the emphasis of the book less on revealing 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 to imply that it s not It s just not what I expectedThe inclusion of the few short critical pieces at the end of the anthology is a nice touch Featuring essays by Samuel Delany Charles Saunders Walter Mosley Paul Miller DJ Spooky and Octavia Butler the book approaches the uestion of race in science fiction from a variety of perspectives Regarding the stories themselves there are many that are excellent I particularly enjoyed and might like to teach at some point the followingSister Lilith by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers 2000 a re telling of the Creation story from the perspective of Lilith Adam s first wifeThe Comet by W E B DuBois 1920 which addresses issues of ineuality and prejudice in the aftermath of a disaster that kills millionsan excerpt from Black No More by George S Schuyler 1931 a story about a scientist who invents a way to turn black people white and what happens as a result I plan to read the whole novel based on the excerpt included hereseparation anxiety by Evie Shockley 2000 set in a future America built on segregationseparation of racial groups Can You Wear My Eyes by Kalamu With Baited Breath (Warhammer 40,000) ya Salaam 2000 This one is interesting to me because it speaks less directly to racial experience and to the experience of genderLike Daughter by Tananarive Due 2000 a story about abuse and second chances that made me cryThe Evening and the Morning and the Night by Octavia Butler 1987 I just always like ButlerThe Space Traders by Derrick Bell 1992 a story about politics and race relations in America centered around a first contact scenario in which an alien race offers America wondrous technology and great riches in exchange for all African American citizens Why don t they make white robots 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 related 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 representatives of their genre Some aren t stories at all This volume introduces black science fiction fantasy and speculative fiction writers to the generations of readers 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 Kalamua SalaamLike Daughter Tananarive Due Greedy Choke.

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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