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Dark Matter: Reading the Bones (Dark Matter (Aspect)) Hardcover – January 2, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After the spectacular Dark Matter (2000), Thomas offers something of a mixed bag in her second anthology of speculative fiction from the African diaspora. Of the stories set during the days of slavery, ihsan bracy's "ibo landing" proves that stylization of subject matter can be more powerful than historical fidelity. The shimmering, brutal outlines created by such simple sentences as "each in their own way understood the distance. they would never again be home" stay with the reader for a long time. By contrast, the weight of research muffles the emotional impact of a story like Cherene Sherrard's "The Quality of Sand." Similarly, Charles R. Sanders's "Yahimba's Choice" seems written by an anthropologist studying a distant culture, the story unable to move past surface ritual and wooden dialogue. The strongest entry is Kuni Ibura Salaam's "Desire," an experimental retelling of a folktale that's wonderfully fresh, with exquisite detail: "Quashe's back formed one gleaming stretch of reptile skin. Her torso, neck, and arms were honey-amber, human-soft skin moist with river dew." This story will probably appear in at least one year's best collection. Other stories of note include Pam Noles's "Whipping Boy" and Tananarive Due's "Aftermoon." Solid reprints from Samuel R. Delaney and W.E.B. Du Bois, among others, round out the volume, along with several essays of varying quality.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In an excellent, idiosyncratic collection of sf, fantasy and folktale-derived fiction by African American (including Caribbean) writers, the quality of writing is uniformly high, and the contributors constitute practically a who's who of African American writers who have dealt in speculative fiction, beginning with W. E. B. DuBois, represented by a piece dating from 1920. Samuel Delany, Nalo Hopkinson, Tananarive Due, and Walter Mosley also appear, and the tone of most of the stories, even "Anansi Meets Peter Parker at the Taco Bell on Lexington," is serious and even desperate. One compensation for that tone is that Mosley seems much more at home in short sf and fantasy than he is at novel length, as in Blue Light (1998). But writing of this quality speaks eloquently for itself, and so do such surprises as Carol Cooper's panegyric to the consciousness-raising influence of Andre Norton, one of three essays at the end of the volume. Frieda Murray
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: Dark Matter (Aspect)
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Aspect; 1St Edition edition (January 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446528609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446528603
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,661,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on January 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Sheree R. Thomas' first compilation, Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction From the African American Diaspora, received critical acclaim for its quality and historical value. Her second collection is due similar accolades.
DARK MATTER: READING THE BONES is speculative fiction from multiple vantage points. With contributors ranging from W.E.B. DuBois to Charles Johnson to Nalo Hopkinson, this collection brings forth an opportunity for many different stories to be told and many voices to be heard. DARK MATTER: READING THE BONES is a mystical journey that is somewhat sequential in its presentation; the stories of the Middle Passage are placed at the beginning, and the tales of future worlds are placed near the end. The result is a time travel experience sort of like that depicted in the final story, "Trance" by Kalamu ya Salaam, where the reader only has to flip back a few pages to recount history or flip forward to get a glimpse of the future.
There honestly was not one story in the entire compilation that I could say I disliked, but there are some favorites that I feel I must mention by name. Pam Noles' "The Whipping Boy" was heartwrenching. Walter Mosley's "Whispers in the Dark" was thoughtful and amazing. John Cooley's "The Binary" was adventurous and exciting. Charles R. Saunders' "Yahimba's Choice" was heartbreaking and poignant. I could go on and on. This is a book I would suggest every science fiction, fantasy, or horror lover read as soon as they can.
Reviewed by CandaceK
of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By BB on November 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I am a big fan of the first Dark Matter anthology and was anxious to see how this volume would compare. Much to my surprise I found this second installment more enjoyable than the first.

Anthologies are ususally pretty hit-or-miss but I found myself enjoying many of the stories included here. My favorites being Nalo Hopkinson's "The Glass Bottle Trick," Kiini Ibura Salaam's "Desire," Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu's comical "The Magical Negro," Tanarive Due's werewolf tale "Aftermoon," Wanda Coleman's "Buying Primo Time," and Douglas Kearney's hilarious "Anansi Meets Peter Parker at Taco Bell."

There were a few dogs in the bunch, the three stories that appear last in the anthology: "Maggies," "Mindscape," and "Trance" varied from too dull to too convoluted causing the collection to lose steam towards the end.

I skipped the three essays included at the end of this anthology. Perhaps it would have been more fitting to include them at the beginning along with the editor's introduction. Tacking it onto the end seemed pretty anti-climatic after reading all these intriguing stories.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase some of the essays lean to the lame side; but the fiction is generally taut and riveting. General readers will find some interesting new world views while African-American readers will find many familiar themes. Among the best:
Pam Noles' "Whipping boy"
Dubois' "Jesus Christ in Texas"
Walter Moseley's "Whispers in the Dark"
Tananarive Due's "Afternoon" and
Samuel R. Delaney's "Corona"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anne M. Hunter VINE VOICE on April 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
These short stories range over a variety of SF and Fantasy genres, and were written across a long range of times. The styles are strong and speak to me with distinct voices and strong flavors. I wish this was a continuing series, and recommend it highly.
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By Amicgood on February 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Just like the original Dark Matter (Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora), this is a brilliant collection. Some of the stories stay with you long after you've read them, prompting a second and third and fourth reading. Seriously, more people should read this Dark Matter book and the original.
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