Dark matter: the Afro-American presence and influences unseen or unacknowledged by Euro-American culture.
Dark Matter: the first anthology to illuminate the presence and influence of black writers in speculative fiction, with 25 stories, three novel excerpts, and five essays.
This anthology's critical and historical importance is indisputable. But that's not why it will prove to be the best anthology of 2000 in both the speculative and the literary fiction fields. It's because the stories are great: entertaining, imaginative, insightful, sharply characterized, and beautifully written. The earliest story in Dark Matter is acclaimed literary author Charles W. Chesnutt's "The Goophered Grapevine" (1887), in which an aging ex-slave tells a chilling tale of cursed land to a white Northerner buying a Southern plantation. In "The Comet" (1920), W.E.B. Du Bois portrays the rich white woman and the poor black man who may be the only survivors of an astronomical near-miss. In George S. Schuyler's "Black No More" (1931), an excerpt from the satirical novel of the same name, an African American scientist invents a machine that can turn blacks white. More recent reprints include science fiction master Samuel R. Delany's Nebula Award-winning "Aye, and Gomorrah..." (1967), which delineates the socio-sexual effects of asexual astronauts; Charles R. Saunders's heroic fantasy "Gimmile's Songs" (1984), in which a woman warrior encounters a singer with a frightening, compelling magic in ancient West Africa; MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Octavia E. Butler's powerful "The Evening and the Morning and the Night" (1987), in which the cure for cancer creates a terrifying new disease of compulsive self-mutilation; and Derrick Bell's angry, riveting "The Space Traders" (1992), in which aliens offer to trade their advanced technology to the U.S. in exchange for its black population. Other reprints include "Ark of Bones" (1974) by author-poet-folklorist Henry Dumas; "Future Christmas" (1982) by master satirist Ishmael Reed; "Rhythm Travel" (1996) by playwright-poet-critic Amiri Baraka (who has also written as LeRoi Jones and Imamu Amiri Baraka); and "The African Origins of UFOs" (2000) by London-based West Indian author Anthony Joseph.
Most of the stories in Dark Matter are original; these range even more widely in their concerns and themes. In the generation ship of Linda Addison's "Twice, at Once, Separated," a Yanomami Indian tribe preserves its culture in coexistence with technology, while visions tear a young woman from her own wedding. Bestselling novelist Steven Barnes examines degrees of privilege and deprivation when an African American woman artist is trapped in an African concentration camp in his unflinching contribution, "The Woman in the Wall." In John W. Campbell Award winner Nalo Hopkinson's sexy, scary "Ganger (Ball Lightning)," two lovers drifting apart try to reconnect through the separation of virtual sex. A mystic power awakens in the devastated future of Ama Patterson's gorgeous and tough "Hussy Strutt." An artist's infidelity changes two generations in Leone Ross's astute, magic-realist "Tasting Songs." In Nisi Shawl's sharp, witty mythic fantasy "At the Huts of Ajala," the spirit of a modern woman must outwit a god before she is even born. Others contributing new stories are Tananarive Due, Robert Fleming, Jewelle Gomez, Akua Lezli Hope, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Kalamu ya Salaam, Kiini Ibura Salaam, Evie Shockley, and Darryl A. Smith. --Cynthia Ward
This is a book that will go on my list of books to write lesson plans about and to make sure my students read.
The settings and themes of these short stories are uniformly fascinating and thought-provoking for any intelligent reader.
Readers of short story science fiction or fantasy will find DARK MATTER an entertaining, enlightening collection.
I've read half of this book so far and I haven't been disappointed with a story yet. Better than any collection of speculative fiction that I have read before and I look forward to... Read morePublished on March 17, 2013 by j-me
I am learning about work I was not aware of. I appreciate this book for helping me to understand speculative fiction,Published on January 14, 2013 by Malaika
Writers of African descent have played a long and important role in the history of speculative literature, even though that's not always recognized, either in the past or today. Read morePublished on January 30, 2004 by GB Banks (publisher, author)
I am 56 and have been reading sci fi/fantasy since, oh, about 10. This is one of the best collection of stories I have ever read. You'll be glad you read it. Read morePublished on October 5, 2003 by "yaya2"
I've long suspected there were more writers of color out there besides Octivia Butler and Samuel Delany. Ms. Thomas introduces a rich collection spanning decades. Read morePublished on April 1, 2002 by Gary
A huge sci-fi and fantasy reader I am also getting ready to be a high school teacher of special ed, reading & English. Read morePublished on March 12, 2002 by Julia Walter
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Charles R. Saunders is alive now if only someone would republish the first three Imaro books, and then publish the two he's had completed for... Read morePublished on December 31, 2001 by Chopchurch
I'm not a big sf reader. I'm even less of an anthology reader and tend to skip around from story to story, eventually leaving the book half finished and moving on to something new. Read morePublished on December 7, 2001