Diaspora

Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora by Zelda Knight (Editor)

For my #ReadBIPOC2021 challenge, the next story…

A Maji Maji Chronichle by Eugene Bacon

Eugen Bacon is an African Australian computer scientist (born in Tanzania) and author of spec fic.

A magician and his son time-travel to Ngoni country and try to change the course of history. Very wordy, wanting to create atmosphere. I didn‘t like the first few pages, but as the story picked up momentum, I liked it better. It covers the usual ethical ground of time travel stories. It is worth reading up on the Ngoni before reading the story, it helps with the background. The author is pretty sparse with filling in any details. ★★★½☆

Historical myths or events are perfect for alternate history in science fiction, especially where paradoxes and anomalies can indicate variant historical outcomes. Early in the 20th century, the Ngoni were a fierce ethnic group, distant cousins to King Shaka of the Zulu kingdom. Way before the scramble and partition of Africa, ethnic groups had dispersed across the continent, and this particular Ngoni group set habitat in what later became known as German East Africa. In defiance to harsh methods of forced labour imposed upon them by colonialists, the Ngoni took up arms in what is historically documented as The Maji Maji Rising. Maji is a Swahili word for water. Belief holds that a witchdoctor gave warriors a magic potion that would turn German bullets to water. This rebellion sets the premise of my story, A Maji Maji Chronicle.

http://www.backstoryjournal.com.au/2016/05/23/a-maji-maji-chronicle/

More about the Maji Maji Rebellion here.

Story can be read for free here.

I will post updates whenever I finish another story.

I received this free e-copy from the publisher/author via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review, thank you!

Trick or Treat

Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora by Zelda Knight (Editor)

For my #ReadBIPOC2021 challenge I barely glanced at my pick for July, but I finally started. Here are the first two stories:

Trickin by Nicole Givens Kurtz

An old god rises up each fall to test his subjects. A Halloween story with a supernatural twist. It was ok. ★★★☆☆

Red_Bati by Dilman Dila

Dilman Dila is a Ugandan writer and film maker. The story is about a robot facing an existential crisis. Is he a human inside of a pet robot? Does he have a spirit? What is his purpose?

This felt a bit like a physics lecture, with a side dish of techno-babble. However, if Murderbot ever wants to adopt a pet, this could be the ideal dog for it. Nice plot, although the ending is a bit abrupt—I think this could make an interesting novella. I liked it. ★★★★☆


I will post updates whenever I finish another story.

I received this free e-copy from the publisher/author via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review, thank you!

Award Winning Authors for the Reading Writers of Color Challenge

I don‘t usually freak out about the end of the month coming, but July got away from me. I read good stuff, it was much better than June, but I did not manage to catch up… For my #ReadBIPOC2021 challenge I barely glanced at my pick for July, which was all about a collection or anthology. The main prompt leaned towards poetry, but I went for a short story collection from my TBR pile. My plan was to read:

Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora (ebook).

I will get to it eventually and probably post updates after each story.

The challenge for August is this:

Celebrating Award Winning Authors for the Reading Writers of Color Challenge.

And for my books on my TBR shelf (owned books) that gives me these choices:

In a futuristic world ravaged by global warming, people have lost the ability to dream, and the dreamlessness has led to widespread madness. The only people still able to dream are North America’s Indigenous people, and it is their marrow that holds the cure for the rest of the world.

Literary Awards: Sunburst Award for Young Adult (2018)American Indian Youth Literature Award for Best Young Adult Book (Honor Book) (2018)Governor General’s Literary Awards / Prix littéraires du Gouverneur général for Traduction (de l’anglais vers le français) by Madeleine Stratford (2019) and for Young People’s Literature — Text (2017)CBC Canada Reads Nominee (2018)Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature (2017)

Ella and Kev are brother and sister, both gifted with extraordinary power. Their childhoods are defined and destroyed by structural racism and brutality. Their futures might alter the world. When Kev is incarcerated for the crime of being a young black man in America, Ella—through visits both mundane and supernatural—tries to show him the way to a revolution that could burn it all down.

Literary Award: Alex Award (2021) — there was a ton of nominations for other awards, which this did not win…

In this epic saga of magic and kungfu, four siblings battle rival clans for honor and power in an Asia-inspired fantasy metropolis.

Literary Awards: World Fantasy Award for Best Novel (2018)Prix Aurora Award for Best Novel (English) (2018)

Rosewater is a town on the edge. A community formed around the edges of a mysterious alien biodome, its residents comprise the hopeful, the hungry and the helpless – people eager for a glimpse inside the dome or a taste of its rumoured healing powers.

Literary Awards: Arthur C. Clarke Award (2019)Nommo Award for Best Novel (The Ilube Award) (2017)

This kitty is missing a decent narrative

Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Vol. 2: Avengers of the New World
by Ta-Nehisi Coates,  Wilfredo Torres (Illustrator),  Jacen Burrows (Illustrator),  Adam Gorham (Illustrator),  Chris Sprouse (Illustrator),  Brian Stelfreeze (Cover Art),  Leonard Kirk (Artist) 

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Woooshhh… that‘s the sound of the story going over my head. I didn‘t read Vol. 1, so that might be on me. The artwork is okay-ish, the story is mostly not there. DNF at 68 pages and 23%. I really can‘t see myself muddling through another 230 pages of this.

ECHO is back!

Some news by Rebecca Roanhorse. She is back at Marvel — I blogged about her participation in Indigenous Voices a few days ago…

Recommended reading: Trail of LIghtning, her first UF novel. Granted, I gave that one only three stars and did not read the sequel, but it was not bad. Her new book, Black Sun, was nominated for a ton of awards. I probably need to add it to my TBR pile…

I’m back at MARVEL and writing a new Phoenix-powered Echo series, art by Luca Maresca. First issue out in October! For more info: Echo Embraces The …

ECHO is back!

Indigenous tales

Marvel Voices: Indigenous Voices # 1
by Jeffrey Veregge

Three stories based on Marvel. In each very short story a well-known Marvel character shows up. In summary not a great offering. The last one stood out. It was difficult to get a good grip on this, as the stories were very short.

“Hugo, Nebula, and Locus-award winning Black/Ohkay Owingeh writer Rebecca Roanhorse and Tongva artist Weshoyot Alvitre tell an Echo tale like none you’ve heard before.“

Anatomically off and I’m not a fan of the colouring. The artwork is not a winner. The story was ok, but didn‘t do much for me either. ★★☆☆☆

“Geoscientist and Lipan Apache writer Darcie Little Badger joins acclaimed Whitefish Lake First Nation artist Kyle Charles for a Dani Moonstar story that’s out of this world!“

The artwork is better. I also preferred the story of a mutant teenager in trouble a lot more. This is X-Men, coming to the rescue… I liked Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger, so it was nice to see that she delivers in a different medium. ★★★½☆

“And Bram Stoker-winning horror writer Stephen Graham Jones of the Blackfeet Nation teams up with Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation artist David Cutler to revisit one of the darkest spots of X-Men history!“

I didn‘t particularly like The Only Good Indians, so I had low expectations, when I read the author’s name. However, I immediately liked the artwork.

I liked this one. Good story, albeit with a reference that I‘m not getting. I recognize the Marvel character, but I am missing the backstory. Still, this one was good all around and the best of this collection. ★★★★☆

This read is part of my attempt to clear my TBR pile of owned books and my #ReadBIPOC2021 challenge (entry for June).

Farming for parts

Farmhand, Vol. 1
by Rob Guillory,  Taylor Wells (Illustrator) 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Zeke Jenkins had a falling out with his dad a few years ago. Now he‘s taking the family back to the farm and his old hometown to make up and find a new/old place to live.

Which is a bit odd, because his father is growing body parts on that farm…

Can you hear the zombies shuffling along in the background? This has to turn into something really weird, right? Well, not just yet… The body parts are grown for a good purpose: to heal people and replace those lost body parts…

Issue/Chapter #1 was mostly introductions and a little set-up and Issue #2 started with a little backstory on Zeke‘s youth. Things started to become interesting and moved in unexpected directions. No zombies in sight…. but other strange things made an appearance. Mutations, anyone? And not just plants… However, towards the end of Issue #5 this was seriously lacking in narrative tension and my mind kept wandering off. Nice ominous ending though, that might tempt me into picking up the next book.

I liked the artwork.

This read is part of my attempt to clear my TBR pile of owned books and my #ReadBIPOC2021 challenge (entry for June).

If at first you don‘t succeed, try again…

The Murders of Molly Southbourne (Molly Southbourne, #1)
by Tade Thompson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Weird. Disturbing. Creepy. Off-putting. Slightly disgusting in parts. It‘s like a train wreck—pretty horrible, but I couldn‘t look away. This novella made me feel uncomfortable. I am still trying to put my fingers on the reason why. The blood? The constant murders? The horribleness of the mollys? Strangely enough, I am tempted to read the sequel. 

If you read the blurb, you already know that every time Molly bleeds, a „molly“ is created. And the mollys are always off somehow, eventually intent on killing her. So she kills them first. Around that concept the story of her life to a certain point is told. How she grew up and learned about the mollys, how her parents taught her to deal with them, her road to understanding about herself and the mollys and why some of them seem to be different than others…

I didn‘t like Molly. She was too dispassionate for my taste. But I guess with her history that was to be expected. It‘s tragic and whatever passion and positive emotions she experienced lead to revelations that would be spoilers. I really liked her parents, though. Especially her mother.

The writing is very good. I was totally immersed in the story, the characters and Molly‘s world. I am looking forward now to another offering lingering on my TBR shelf: Rosewater(same author, different world, not related to Molly, won the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the Nommo Award and was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award).

This read is part of my attempt to clear my TBR pile of owned books and my #ReadBIPOC2021 challenge (entry for June).

Perilous public transport

The Haunting of Tram Car 015
by P. Djèlí Clark

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The third novelette set in Clark‘s alternate Cairo of 1912, full of Djinn, ghuls and mechanized angels. I was looking forward to meeting Fatma from A Dead Djinn in Cairo again. Instead we are introduced to Agent Hamed of the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, his new sidekick, rookie Onsi and a haunted tram car…

My favourite scene was the moment when they arrive at the top of Ramses Station and get a view of airships, various dirigibles and those tram lines criss-crossing the sky above Cairo. Great visual. The scenery in general is a great mix of the old Cairo and Clark‘s imagined steampunk city anyway.

The investigative story is a good one, too. Although it slacks off somewhat in the middle. Still good, but the beginning and build-up were stronger storytelling than the climax of it all.

Good characterizations, also for the supporting characters. There is some gender ambiguity there as well and a sentient automata, so plenty of material to expand upon in the upcoming book. I wonder if we will meet some of them again in A Master of Djinn?

Clockwork Cairo

The Angel of Khan el-Khalili (Dead Djinn, #0.6)
by P. Djèlí Clark

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Taking place in Khan el-Khalili, the big bazaar in the heart of Cairo. Our main character is looking for an angel and a miracle… Forgiveness and retribution are the theme in this one. 

The story is narrated in second-person, which I find really hard to like as a reader. 

Straight forward story, not much in terms of plot, more of a small character study. It was ok.

If you want to find the Angel of Khan el-Khalili, you have to make your way to the market at night. 

https://www.tor.com/2021/04/28/the-angel-of-khan-el-khalili-p-djeli-clark/