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So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy Paperback – October 1, 2004

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So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy + Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture + Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press (October 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155152158X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1551521589
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #211,031 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Lest postcolonial in the subtitle intimidate, let it be noted that this is a strong anthology that, regardless of thematic concern, showcases authors with some real experience of colonization from all over the world. Given that so much sf is concerned with encounters with the other or alien intending domination, the genre and colonialism are, of course, not strangers. The book's five sections are "The Body," the last of whose contents, Larissa Lai's fascinating "Rachel," glimpses a readily familiar character; "Future Earth," including Vandana Singh's "Delhi," in which one Aseem is unstuck in the city's timestream; "Allegory," which features a particularly chilling and timely presentation of enforced otherness in Wayde Compton's "The Blue Road: A Fairy Tale"; "Encounters with the Alien," in which Greg van Eekhout's "Native Aliens" questions the nature of being alien; and "Re-imagining the Past," with Tobias S. Buckell's "Necahual," about a soldier in a "liberation army" more concerned with making a pure-human society than with living with the no longer purely human and the natives of colonized planets. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


. . . the editors have collected an excellent group of stories that often show finesse in approaching difficult subjects regardless of genre.
—Pop Matters (Pop Matters)

...the themes of the stories and the importance of the project are very strong.
—Science Fiction Research Association (Science Fiction Re..)

It manages, somehow, to transcend that heavy millstone and kick some good ol' storytellin' ass.
—The Vancouver Rain Review of Books (Vancouver RainReview)

Arsenal Pulp Press has put together an edition worth owning.
—Challenging Destiny Online (Challenging Destiny)

...a strong anthology that, regardless of thematic concern, showcases authors with some real experience of colonization from all over the world.
—Booklist (Booklist)

Author Nalo Hopkinson and science fiction scholar Uppinder Mehan have cultivated this anthology of new short stories from emerging and established postcolonial writers all over the world. The 19 unique stories here are framed by a valuable introduction by Hopkinson and duly academic final essay by Mehan.
—Quill & Quire (Quill & Quire)

The stories cover such a range of material ... that the anthology resists attempts to categorize it. It is not entirely science fiction, not entirely fantasy, not even entirely postcolonial literature. And this resistance is largely the point of So Long Been Dreaming. Such boundaries belong to the past, the anthology suggests, but we'e living in the future now.
— (

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on November 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
Speculative fiction, at least that popular in the West, usually projects Western and White attitudes into the future or supernatural situations. This important book, which gets its title from a quote by Harriet Tubman, collects stories on such matters from people of color who have been informed by the colonial experience in their homelands. These submissions often utilize non-Western storytelling techniques featuring unexpected moral constructions and non-linear plotlines. Thus, several of these stories seem to have abrupt and inconclusive endings, but that's if you perceive them in a standard linear fashion. Meanwhile, a common motif in this collection is science fiction treatments of White/European colonialism through the eyes of aliens who are being colonized by humans. That's a great twist on a trusty sci-fi device, but many of these writers apparently came up with the concept before constructing their plots, leading to some stories that are very contrived and preachy (the most heavy-handed example is by Carole McDonnell).

But on the other hand, the stories here are almost uniformly haunting and incredibly thought-provoking for informed readers of any culture. Karin Lowachee and devorah major really make the aforementioned humans-colonizing-aliens motif work in exciting ways. Tobias S. Buckell offers an intriguing space war with a Mesoamerican twist, and Opal Palmer Adisa brings redemption in an alternative history of slavery. Wayde Compton creates a marvelously updated version of a piece of old African folklore, to illustrate post-human discrimination, while Larissa Lai finds the inherent humanity and prejudice of supposedly inhuman robots.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Killian HALL OF FAME on January 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan have joined forces to produce a powerful and insightful anthology of Science Fiction literature from a broad spectrum of experience and (counter) experience. Please note, Amazon doesn't credit Boston-based professor Mehan (who teaches at Emerson College) with having much to do with this book, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out he had just as much say in assembling the contents as did his co-editor, Nalo Hopkinson, the famous novelist of Canada whom many credit as being the "next Octavia Butler." Together they make an imposing duo and they are wise indeed both in what they decided to do for and the people to whom they appealed for new work. The result is smashing and one of the very best books of 2004.

Wayde Compton's "fairy tale" is almost too beautiful to describe. A "growing ball of light as bright as a sky full of half moons" appears to our hero and tells him that his name is Mr. Polaris. By the way, the hero is called Lacuna and thus describes the position of writers of color, often, marginalized within the already marginalized community of science fiction. That is, it's a world filled with its own rules and domains, yet those in charge of the dominant culture regard it with skepticism and even violence, based on the fear of losing their own Antaean strength--the exploring strength of the colonizer.

The blind Victorian writer Celu Amberstone contributes a diaristic and chilling account of a mother-daughter relationship gone tragically wrong. In this brief and pointillistic tale, the daughter is called "Sleek" and she is almost like the spirit of the mother before society's pressures (and the pressures of colonization) took the free will out of her. The months and the days are each given beautiful and poetic names.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jeanette on August 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed reading "So Long Been Dreaming" many stories in this anthology push the boundaries of what we are familiar with in a fantasy or Science Fiction world, the authors have taken risks in exploring the issues raised, and in the fascinating look at colonizing, colonized, and colonizers.

Like any anthology some stories in this collection were fantastic, some were great, and many were good. Some of the stories felt like they ended to soon,or were rushed, and perhaps they are snippets of fuller stories to come by these amazing authors.

Though I am a life long Sci-Fi Fantasy, speculative fiction reader it is a treat to be introduced to a wide range of writers looking at SF/F from a different viewpoint and culture, it is always a treat to read new authors I have not discovered yet.
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