Cover image for Dark matter : a century of speculative fiction from the African diaspora
Title:
Dark matter : a century of speculative fiction from the African diaspora
Author:
Thomas, Sheree R.
Publication Information:
New York : Warner Books, [2000]

©2000
Physical Description:
xiv, 427 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Contents:
Fiction. Sister Lilith / Honoree Fanonne Jeffers -- The comet / W.E.B. Du Bois -- Chicage 1927 / Jewelle Gomez -- Separation anxiety / Evie Shockley -- Tasting songs / Leone Ross -- Can you wear my eyes / Kalamu ya Salaam -- Like daughter / Tananarive Due -- Greedy choke puppy / Nalo Hopkinson -- Rhythm travel / Amiri Baraka -- Buddy Bolden / Kalamu ya Salaam -- Aye, and Gomorrah-- / Samuel R. Delany -- Ganger (ball lightning) / Nalo Hopkinson -- The becoming / Akua Lezli Hope -- The goophered grapevine / Charles W. Chestnutt -- The 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 -- At life's limits / Kiini Ibura Salaam -- The astral visitor Delta blues / Robert Fleming -- The space traders / Derrick Bell -- The pretended / Darryl A. Smith -- Hussy Strutt / Ama Patterson ; Essays. Racism and science fiction / Samuel R. Delany -- Why Blacks should read (and write) science fiction / Charles R. Saunders -- Black to the future / Walter Mosley -- Yet do I wonder / Paul D. Miller -- The monophobic response / Octavia E. Butler.
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780446525831
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

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 writers.


Author Notes

Sheree R. Thomas edits the literary journal Anansi: Fiction of the African Diaspora and has contributed to national publications including the Washington Post, Black Issues Book Review, and QBR: The Black Book Review.


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Twenty-eight pieces of fiction, both short stories and novel excerpts, and five critical essays make for a stout anthology. African American writers of speculative fiction have apparently been quite busy. But then, the book's definition of speculative is an expanded one that includes almost any fictional cogitation of the African diaspora. That expanded conception doesn't open the door to low quality or restricted literary scope, though. With contributions ranging historically from W. E. B. Dubois to Samuel Delany to Octavia Butler to new rising star Nalo Hopkinson, how could it? The critical essays' authors include, besides Delany and Butler, Charles Saunders, Paul Miller, and mystery superstar Walter Mosley; they consider what sf has said or, as often, left unsaid about the African American experience, and usually say something worthwhile, albeit not always all that accessibly. Perhaps of even greater value on the African American studies shelves than in the sf stacks, the collection should appeal especially strongly to those who like critical and analytical approaches to sf. --Roland Green


Publisher's Weekly Review

The striking central metaphor that Thomas (who edits the literary journal Anansi: Fiction of the African Diaspora) chose for this first collection of SF stories and essays by black authors is "dark matter," the scientific term for a non-luminous form of matter not directly observed, but whose existence is deduced from its gravitational effects on other bodies. Ranging from Charles Chestnutt's self-parodying 1887 tale "The Goophered Grapevine," to more than a dozen brilliantly diverse selections dated 2000, this big anthology includes 26 stories and excerpts from two novels, as well as five thoughtful essays from the leading black authors in the field. Accurately observing in her introduction that black writers have been engaged with speculative fiction for far longer than is generally thought, Thomas hopes her collection will inspire more black authors to enter the field, since, as Walter Mosley observes in his essay "Black to the Future," this genre speaks clearly to the dissatisfied through its power to imagine the first step in changing the world. Almost all of these stories explore the profound sense of loss central to the "black diaspora"Dloss of self-respect, loss of identity, loss of a sense of humanity itself. In manyDnotably "Sister Lilith," Honoree Fanonne Jeffers's biting contemporary vision of Eve as Adam's trophy wife, Samuel R. Delany's widely praised "Aye, and Gomorrah," where sexuality is sacrificed to spacefaring, and Steven Barnes's searing "The Woman in the Wall," which hurls an American black woman artist into a hellish African concentration campDthe brutal common denominator is the depredation of the soul through the violation of the body. Several of these stories are almost unbearably poignant, like Ama Patterson's "Hussy Strut," and many are ferociously angry, like Derrick Bell's savage "The Space Traders." All manifest a powerful effect, far stronger for being largely unacknowledged, and perhaps heralding, as Mosley projects, a coming explosion of black SF. Agent, Marie Dutton Brown. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Ranging in variety from the lilting cadence of Nalo Hopkinson (Greedy Choke Puppy) to the understated bleakness of Derek Bell (The Space Traders), this collection of 28 tales by African American sf and fantasy authors showcases a wealth of talent that spans over 100 years. Including early stories by Charles W. Chestnutt (1887) and W.E.B. Du Bois (1920) as well as contributions from Olivia Butler, Samuel Delaney, Steven Barnes, Tananarive Due, and other modern authors, this anthology contains a broad diversity of styles and subjects. A selection of essays provides thoughtful commentaries on the state of speculative fiction and the significant, and often overlooked, contributions made by African Americans to the genre. Highly recommended for most libraries! sf or short story collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal Review

The striking central metaphor that Thomas (who edits the literary journal Anansi: Fiction of the African Diaspora) chose for this first collection of SF stories and essays by black authors is "dark matter," the scientific term for a non-luminous form of matter not directly observed, but whose existence is deduced from its gravitational effects on other bodies. Ranging from Charles Chestnutt's self-parodying 1887 tale "The Goophered Grapevine," to more than a dozen brilliantly diverse selections dated 2000, this big anthology includes 26 stories and excerpts from two novels, as well as five thoughtful essays from the leading black authors in the field. Accurately observing in her introduction that black writers have been engaged with speculative fiction for far longer than is generally thought, Thomas hopes her collection will inspire more black authors to enter the field, since, as Walter Mosley observes in his essay "Black to the Future," this genre speaks clearly to the dissatisfied through its power to imagine the first step in changing the world. Almost all of these stories explore the profound sense of loss central to the "black diaspora"--loss of self-respect, loss of identity, loss of a sense of humanity itself. In many--notably "Sister Lilith," Honoree Fanonne Jeffers's biting contemporary vision of Eve as Adam's trophy wife, Samuel R. Delany's widely praised "Aye, and Gomorrah," where sexuality is sacrificed to spacefaring, and Steven Barnes's searing "The Woman in the Wall," which hurls an American black woman artist into a hellish African concentration camp--the brutal common denominator is the depredation of the soul through the violation of the body. Several of these stories are almost unbearably poignant, like Ama Patterson's "Hussy Strut," and many are ferociously angry, like Derrick Bell's savage "The Space Traders." All manifest a powerful effect, far stronger for being largely unacknowledged, and perhaps heralding, as Mosley projects, a coming explosion of black SF. Agent, Marie Dutton Brown. (July) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

Honoree Fanonne JeffersW. E. B. Du BoisJewelle GomezGeorge S. SchuylerEvie ShockleyLeone RossKalamu ya SalaamTananarive DueNalo HopkinsonAmiri BarakaKalamu ya SalaamSamuel R. DelanyNalo HopkinsonAkua Lezli HopeCharles W. ChesnuttOctavia E. ButlerLinda AddisonCharles R. SaundersNisi ShawlSteven BarnesHenry DumasTony MedinaIshmael ReedKiini Ibura SalaamAnthony JosephRobert FlemingDerrick BellDarryl A. SmithAma PattersonSamuel R. DelanyCharles R. SaundersWalter MosleyPaul D. Miller, a.k.a. DJ Spooky That Subliminal KidOctavia E. Butler
Introduction: Looking for the Invisiblep. ix
Fiction
Sister Lilithp. 1
The Cometp. 5
Chicago 1927p. 19
Black No More (excerpt from the novel)p. 35
Separation anxietyp. 51
Tasting Songsp. 69
Can You Wear My Eyesp. 86
Like Daughterp. 91
Greedy Choke Puppyp. 103
Rhythm Travelp. 113
Buddy Boldenp. 116
Aye, and Gomorrah ...p. 124
Ganger (Ball Lightning)p. 134
The Becomingp. 152
The Goophered Grapevinep. 158
The Evening and the Morning and the Nightp. 171
Twice, at Once, Separatedp. 197
Gimmile's Songsp. 210
At the Huts of Ajalap. 226
The Woman in the Wallp. 235
Ark of Bonesp. 260
Butta's Backyard Barbecuep. 273
Future Christmas (excerpt from the novel The Terrible Twos)p. 275
At Life's Limitsp. 290
The African Origins of UFOs (excerpt from the novel)p. 312
The Astral Visitor Delta Bluesp. 319
The Space Tradersp. 326
The Pretendedp. 356
Hussy Struttp. 372
Essays
Racism and Science Fictionp. 383
Why Blacks Should Read (and Write) Science Fictionp. 398
Black to the Futurep. 405
Yet Do I Wonderp. 408
The Monophobic Responsep. 415
Contributorsp. 417
Copyrights and Permissionsp. 424
Acknowledgmentsp. 426

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