Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dark Future

So, I was going to post these awesome pictures of some cupcakes that I made on Sunday, but my camera decided not to save any of the pictures I took. So, sadly, this will be a cupcakeless post. But! Do not despair, because I have a book review for you.

Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora is a bizarre, great little anthology. As the cover suggests, the anthology contains a lot of science fiction, even though some of the works were certainly not considered science fiction when they were written. The book is a little uneven, but overall a really excellently put together anthology, with work from well-known authors W.E. Du Bois and Octavia Butler, along with several more obscure writers.

"Sister Lilith," from Honoree Fanonne Jeffers, reimagines the creation of Adam and his first wife, Lilith (she of Hebrew lore and comic book fame) from Lilith's point of view. What could be hokey is deftly handled by Jeffers' snappy, ironic, and profane dialog.

Du Bois' "The Comet," written in 1920, gives an African American man a brief moment of equality after Halley's comet sends noxious fumes sweeping over New York City, killing nearly everyone.

"The Evening, the Morning, and the Night," by Octavia Butler, my favorite piece in the anthology, examines a new disease and the disturbing sociological ramifications of those infected.

Steven Barnes' "The Woman in the Wall" is another standout, a terrifying story about a refugee/prisoner camp that will make your flesh crawl.

Wisely, Dark Matter includes a section of essays about science fiction and African American writers, including another piece by Octavia Butler and contributions from Samuel Delany and Charles Saunders, which has some interesting speculation about African American contribution to the genre.

Despite a few clunkers, Dark Matter is a wonderful book, and really a must-read for anyone analyzing science fiction.

Or, you know, the future could also be like this:

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