Summer Reading

For those new to speculative fiction in general and African-American writers of the form in particular, the newest 'Dark Matter' anthology, edited by Sheree Thomas, is the perfect guide

Summer Reading

Dark Matter, Reading the Bones: Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora

edited by Sheree R. Thomas

Aspect, 416 pp., $14.95 (paper)

For those new to speculative fiction in general and African-American writers of the form in particular, the newest Dark Matter anthology edited by Sheree Thomas is the perfect guide. As an umbrella term that welcomes fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and alternative histories, Dark Matter, Reading the Bones reflects the definition of speculative fiction with its eclectic mix of stories by 24 writers, with special attention paid to emerging speculative fiction writers. Selections zoom from Pam Noles' fantastic and horrifying "Whipping Boy" to David Findlay's union of sci-fi and fantasy in "Recovery From a Fall" to brief flights of joyous word play that surf on the music of street corner slang. In the latter, Douglas Kearney's short but delightful "Anansi Meets Peter Parker at the Taco Bell on Lexington" is an amusing, contemporary version of the Anansi the spider tale. In this, Anansi (the trickster from African folklore) is miffed that Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man) is turning coin and heads, while he lives in poverty. Perhaps the most surprising piece is from novelist Walter Mosley. What at first appears to be a contemporary story of a family struggling to meet the needs of their gifted child, Mosley's "Whispers in the Dark" deftly turns into a hair-raising tale of a parent's ultimate sacrifice for the love of his child, in a not so distant future where anything is for sale. Following the short stories are three essays, the first of which is a transcript of a 1997 panel discussion from the Black Speculative Fiction Writers Conference held at Clark Atlanta University. Moderated by Jewelle Gomez, it features Octavia E. Butler, William Hudson, Tananarive Due, Steven Barnes, and Samuel R. Delany.
  • Summer Reading

  • The Coast of Akron

    It's been said that behind every great man there's a woman, but Adrienne Miller kicks it up a notch

    The Missing Person

    This auspicious debut, begun at the Michener Center for Writers, isn't a mystery yarn or a family gothic, a romance, or a satire of radical environmentalism. It's all of the above and then some.

    The R. Crumb Handbook

    The familiar self-portrait on the front cover of 'The R. Crumb Handbook' offers a warning before you crack the spine:'I'm not here to be polite!'

    Contrabando: Confessions of a Drug-Smuggling Texas Cowboy

    He spent seven years smuggling marijuana into the United States over the border from Mexico and somehow lived to write about it

    The People of Paper

    Rarely does a novel succeed in strengthening itself through its own dismantling

    Saturday

    Ian McEwan's observation of human experience is unflaggingly acute
  • The Closers

    Michael Connelly's ace homicide detective Harry Bosch is back with LAPD after three years' retirement

    Misfortune

    Anyone familiar with the musical output of John Wesley Harding (né Wesley Stace) knows that the artist possesses a sly wit and literary ear that sets him apart from his fellow folk singers

    Bitter Milk

    One big, crippling thought that makes you wonder how long John McManus has been waiting to confide it, this naturalistic first novel from the former Michener fellow and author of the short-story collections 'Born on a Train' and 'Stop Breakin Down' takes place in late-Eighties East Tennessee at the base of a ridge in the Smokies

    Embroideries

    In 'Embroideries,' Marjane Satrapi again returns to the Iran of her youth, this time taking readers to a more intimate place, the space inhabited by women

    Also Recommended

    Some other summer reading possibilities ...

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More by Belinda Acosta
Margaret Moser Tribute: Marcia Ball
Marcia Ball
“She’s a music writer who writes to enlighten”

June 30, 2017

Margaret Moser Tribute: Eliza Gilkyson
Eliza Gilkyson
The best advice she ever received? Keep your dogs clean.

June 30, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Sheree R. Thomas, Aspect, Dark Matter, Reading the Bones:Speculative Fiction From the African Diaspora

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle