Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora

Rate this book
Dominion is the first anthology of speculative fiction and poetry by Africans and the African Diaspora. An old god rises up each fall to test his subjects. Once an old woman’s pet, a robot sent to mine an asteroid faces an existential crisis. A magician and his son time-travel to Ngoni country and try to change the course of history. A dead child returns to haunt his grieving mother with terrifying consequences. Candace, an ambitious middle manager, is handed a project that will force her to confront the ethical ramifications of her company’s latest project—the monetization of human memory. Osupa, a newborn village in pre-colonial Yorubaland populated by refugees of war, is recovering after a great storm when a young man and woman are struck by lightning, causing three priests to divine the coming intrusion of a titanic object from beyond the sky.

A magician teams up with a disgruntled civil servant to find his missing wand. A taboo error in a black market trade brings a man face-to-face with his deceased father—literally. The death of a King sets off a chain of events that ensnare a trickster, an insane killing machine, and a princess, threatening to upend their post-apocalyptic world. Africa is caught in the tug-of-war between two warring Chinas, and for Ibrahim torn between the lashings of his soul and the pain of the world around him, what will emerge? When the Goddess of Vengeance locates the souls of her stolen believers, she comes to a midwestern town with a terrible past, seeking the darkest reparations. In a post-apocalyptic world devastated by nuclear war, survivors gather in Ife-Iyoku, the spiritual capital of the ancient Oyo Empire, where they are altered in fantastic ways by its magic and power.

300 pages, ebook

First published August 17, 2020

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Zelda Knight

116 books83 followers
Zelda Knight is a USA Today bestselling author of steamy romance, a British Fantasy Award-winning, and NAACP Image Award-nominated editor, as well as a diverse bookseller. She’s also the publisher and editor-in-chief of Aurelia Leo, an independent Nebula Award-nominated press. Zelda co-edited Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora (Aurelia Leo, 2020), which has received critical acclaim, and Africa Risen: A New Era of Speculative Fiction (Tordotcom, 2022). Keep in touch on social media @AuthorZKnight. Or, visit her website authorzknight.com. You can also email z@authorzknight.com.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
40 (32%)
4 stars
54 (44%)
3 stars
21 (17%)
2 stars
3 (2%)
1 star
4 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 57 reviews
Profile Image for Nataliya.
745 reviews11.9k followers
December 31, 2021
Review only for the Nebula Award-nominated novella “Ife-Iyoku, Tale of Imadeyunuagbon” by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki; I haven’t read the rest of the anthology:

This novella just did not work for me. On the surface it had all the elements that I anticipated to like — a post-apocalyptic society coming to fight against intruders, and discovering that there are deep issues within it as well, especially misogyny (“Violation of another man’s woman is a grave wrong, but in times like this when our survival is hanging on a thread, violation can be tolerated if it results in the production of a child.”) And out of all that, a new unexpected power emerges.

But reading it became a painfully dull experience for me.

First things first — it needed an editor, especially for punctuation (and at least one verb tense agreement, but that one I’ll let slide). A few missing commas I understand, but then it gets into my personal pet peeve - the missing commas when addressing someone. “Remember your place [missing comma] woman.” It’s that old wisdom of the difference between “Let’s eat, Grandma!” and “Let’s eat Grandma!” And it happens over and over again, to my utmost irritation.

Another one of my stickler issues: what the hell is a “see-er”? Do you mean “seer”? It’s already a word.

Now with that out of the way, here’s my real annoyance - the stilted prose. It’s monotone, not to mention awkward. See examples below:
“They had received correspondence from the other teams as to the manner of attacks they had met and with that information, they had prepared themselves.”

“Two of the soldiers conversed with themselves. Their equipment told them there was something here, but their eyes and senses saw and perceived nothing. They felt their way furtively around. The feel of their hands told them there were things about, even though their eyes told them otherwise. The leader of this team told his demolitions man to set the C4 charges. His man looked him askance. After all, the mission was a snatch and grab.”

Everything about that monotone paragraph is just a little off, from the rhythm to the unnecessary details. And it adds up over pages and pages:
“And then, in a sudden instance of revelation, the building became visible, and seemed to materialize out of thin air.”

Something about this reminds me of a writing I’d see in a high-schooler’s story. You know those “What I did on my summer vacation” essays? It’s like that, recounting everything step by monotone step: “And then this happened. Then this happened. Then he said this and did this.” It’s like the author has envisioned a movie-like scene in his mind and is putting it all on paper, play by play. But I want *more* from a book; otherwise I’d just watch a movie.

Also, this story misuses the word “evolve”. It uses it like one would for a Pokémon, not for populations.

Oh, and did I mention that this story has sophistication and subtlety of a sledgehammer? The simplicity of events and motivations is stark; the speechifying villain actually talks about “new order” and might as well be twirling a moustache to finish the cartoonish resemblance.

1 star. Not for me.

My Hugo and Nebula Awards Reading Project 2021: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Profile Image for Richard Derus.
2,896 reviews1,927 followers
December 24, 2020
The Publisher Says: Dominion is the first anthology of speculative fiction and poetry by Africans and the African Diaspora. An old god rises up each fall to test his subjects. Once an old woman’s pet, a robot sent to mine an asteroid faces an existential crisis. A magician and his son time-travel to Ngoni country and try to change the course of history. A dead child returns to haunt his grieving mother with terrifying consequences. Candace, an ambitious middle manager, is handed a project that will force her to confront the ethical ramifications of her company’s latest project—the monetization of human memory. Osupa, a newborn village in pre-colonial Yorubaland populated by refugees of war, is recovering after a great storm when a young man and woman are struck by lightning, causing three priests to divine the coming intrusion of a titanic object from beyond the sky.

A magician teams up with a disgruntled civil servant to find his missing wand. A taboo error in a black market trade brings a man face-to-face with his deceased father—literally. The death of a King sets off a chain of events that ensnare a trickster, an insane killing machine, and a princess, threatening to upend their post-apocalyptic world. Africa is caught in the tug-of-war between two warring Chinas, and for Ibrahim torn between the lashings of his soul and the pain of the world around him, what will emerge? When the Goddess of Vengeance locates the souls of her stolen believers, she comes to a midwestern town with a terrible past, seeking the darkest reparations. In a post-apocalyptic world devastated by nuclear war, survivors gather in Ife-Iyoku, the spiritual capital of the ancient Oyo Empire, where they are altered in fantastic ways by its magic and power.


My Review
: Whenever you see this review: GO GET THIS ANTHOLOGY. It's the 24th...your ereader or tablet is just sitting there, you can't play your gifted games just yet, and Krampus only knows how long it will be until you get snacky. Read these intense, startling, urgent stories...no excuses! You read The Lord of the Rings and had no problem following those fake, complicated character and place names so don't front that these are any harder. And believe me: The stories are (almost) all so vivid and alive and enfolding that you are gonna be up late.

Go see the thirteen Bryce Method story-by-story reviews on my blog tomorrow morning at 6:30 EST.
Profile Image for Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki.
Author 21 books91 followers
December 20, 2020
I do admit to the possibility of there being some bias to my rating, it being my first book and all. But there, can't help it, I think it's awesome. 😍
Profile Image for Silvana.
1,151 reviews1,119 followers
January 27, 2021
A very, very strong anthology. Most of the authors are unknown to me and that's the beauty of anthology since many of them are now in my watch list!

I've watched one of the editors, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, in various con panels this year and the way he spoke about African SF, the diversity of it and the rich tradition behind it, had been very appealing to me. Of course when this book was mentioned lots of time during these cons, also in the context of Afrofuturism, I just knew I had to read it.

I had high expectation but I was still pleasantly surprised. The stories have distinct voices, coming from various authors from different countries from Uganda to Nigeria. Some were fun, high-octane adventure, some were simply dark and disturbing.

Overall I enjoyed all stories but I do have some favorites:
"Red Bati" by Dilman Dila: Really liked it, I always have a soft spot for robot story
"A Maji Maji Chronicle” by Eugen Bacon: magical time travel story with history of colonialism past and present!
"Convergence in Chorus Architecture by Dare Segun Falowo: This is a strange one. But I liked it? It reminded me of my feeling when reading The Silmarilion's Ainulindale chapter.
"To Say Nothing of Lost Figurines" by Rafeeat Aliyu: A fun planetary adventure. I want more stories from both main characters and their world.
"Ife-Iyoku, The Tale of Imadeyunuagbon" by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki: A story about a woman who stood her ground amidst a thread of extinction and societal pressure. This is available for free here: https://ekpeki.com/2020/08/24/ife-iyo... (PS: novella consideration for the Hugo? ;))

All in all, wow, thank you for this wonderful experience. I definitely eager for more anthologies like this and can't wait to read these authors' works.
Profile Image for Cathy.
1,625 reviews239 followers
October 24, 2021
This is a very strong anthology. Even the stories that didn‘t fully grab me gave me plenty to think about. Recommended!

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. ★★★★☆

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☆

“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.“

More about the Maji Maji rebellion here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maji_Ma...

Story can be read for free here: http://www.backstoryjournal.com.au/20...

The Unclean by Nuzo Onoh

Nuzo Onoh is a British-Nigerian writer. She is a pioneer of the African horror subgenre. More about that here: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2015/06/n...

The main character Desdemona tells her story. About her horrible marriage and what it leads her to do… Names matter, so all kinds of alarms went off in my head, when I read her name and that of her sister.

“Desee's quest will force her to make some terrible choices, and with the diabolical help of a powerful witch-doctor, embark on a harrowing journey that will end in deadly consequences, culminating in a trial by ordeal underneath the infamous Tree of Truth.“

Very good, but turns pretty strange and disgusting towards the end. Not for the squeamish. Set in Nigeria, around the time of Nigeria‘s independence. Quite a prolific country in terms of writing, it seems—I keep bumping into authors from that country—and learned about the Igbo and about fetishism. ★★★★½

A Mastery of German by Marian Denise Moore

I couldn‘t find much about the author, but think she might be from Louisiana and is a computer analyst and poet. And this story is a finalist of the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award 2021. https://www.tor.com/2021/07/07/theodo...

A near-future story about memories and passing them on in a genetic procedure. The technology is not explained or shown and the ethical implications are mentioned, but not elaborated on much. But it would probably need a novel to explore all that. I liked it. The main character was relatable, the writing was very readable. ★★★★☆

Convergence in Chorus Architecture by Dare Segun Falowo

Another Nigerian author. More about them and their work in this article / interview: http://strangehorizons.com/non-fictio...
And a short bio and links to some stories here: https://www.thedarkmagazine.com/autho...

Mythology, Nigerian gods, dreams. Didn‘t captivate me. ★★¾☆☆

Emily by Marian Denise Moore

A snippet with possibilities.

To Say Nothing of Lost Figurines by Rafeeat Aliyu

Another Nigerian author. The title immediately made me think of To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis. That book has been on my want-to-read list for ages, but so far I haven’t gotten round to it yet. I can‘t tell if it was a plot bunny for this story, which is a magical portal fantasy. Amusing tone, bit of a caper/heist story. Needs more… ★★★★☆

Sleep Papa, Sleep by Suyi Okungbowa Davies

And another Nigerian author. I liked his David Mogo Godhunter. This story is pretty gruesome, but excellently written. We are talking body parts, corpses and violence. Well crafted tale with no loose ends. ★★★★★

The Satellite Charmer by Mame Bougouma Diene

A Franco-Senegalese-American author. I found quite a few interesting articles written by him. Dark Moons Rising on a Starless Night, his collection of four novelettes, is mentioned several times.

This story is probably the longest in this anthology. And it is odd. Set in a near future, where Chinese corporations mine African land via satellite. We are told the life story of Ibrahima in several jumps. He is an odd and fairly unlikable guy with an unusual connection to those satellites. Interesting concept, but I didn‘t like the story particularly much. Still, I learned something about the Caliphate, which was new to me. ★★¾☆☆

Here is a free online story by the author, that is very, very similar to this one here, if you want to get an impression of his writing: https://brittlepaper.com/2016/12/apes...

Clanfall: Death of Kings by Odida Nyabundi

I had a hard time tracking down the auther, but eventually found this story, with the same beginning as the prologue of Clanfall:

“Fisi Wahoo basked in the rapturous applause of the crowd. It seemed like the whole population of New Machakos had turned up for his coronation. Fisi! Fisi! Fisi! They chanted.“


I think we are looking at a story by an author from Kenya. Good, pretty puzzling at first, set in the far future, in what used to be Kenya, with bionically enhanced, conscious and intelligent animals (I think?), where humanity has disappeared long ago. It would have been nice to have gotten some visuals on the characters. There are a lot of claws, cannons, armour and various augmentations, but we never get to see what the protagonists actually look like.

Society is ruled by feudal clans. War and conflict seem to be the favoured state of being. I liked the characters and the writing. However, this was not a coherent story and it leaves the reader in the middle of things, just when the story starts to get interesting.

If the author ever decides to make a novella or novel out of this, with a proper plot, I would like to read it. ★★★½☆

Thresher of Men by Michael Boatman

Boatman is a US American actor or novelist, writing in the splatterpunk horror genre. Sounds gory, right? I had to look it up. And holy crap, that was gruesome. Rape, gore, lots of blood. Well written though. ★★★★☆

Ife-Iyoku, the Tale of Imadeyunuagbon by Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald

Another Nigerian author, with a finalist for the 2020 Nebula Awards for Best Novella and a bunch of other awards for this and other stories. Content warning: attempted rape, nonconsensual sex and suicide.

The discrimination of women in parts of the story irritated me too much to truly enjoy it. That part of the story was intentional, but women were still just weak victims throughout, determined by men and the female MC, Imade, was ultimately at fault because she didn‘t know her place and didn‘t do as she was told. This didn‘t sit right with me. That‘s just me though, plenty of others liked this a lot.

The action scenes were good, the post-apocalyptic world building was good, even if I didn‘t buy the premise of the nuclear war. So this was a mixed bag for me. I might pick up the author again. ★★★☆☆

I received this free e-copy from the publisher/author via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review, thank you!
Profile Image for Justin.
54 reviews56 followers
August 18, 2020
***I was granted an ARC of this via Netgalley from the publisher.***

When I saw this book being talked about on Twitter, I knew I had to have a chance to review it. Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Science Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora edited by Zelda Knight and Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald is an excellent anthology featuring great sci-fi stories that are diverse in their settings and themes. The stories can take place in small villages or in grand interdimensional spaces. They can deal with topics from racism and gender roles, to shame and the want for family with the characters being humans, gods, or aliens. What they share in common is that each story is rich with African cultural influence which in my opinion makes for a unique reading experience, one that is different from the usual sci-fi we frequently read in the West and just as good or better. The stories in this book do not shy away from difficult topics and some of these stories can be a bit dark, stories which for me were some of my favorites but where others may want to take caution. I can honestly say that I enjoy the different stories in the anthology and would recommend this to anyone looking to read sci-fi.

Rating: 4/5 stars. Would recommend to a friend.
Profile Image for Jashana.
186 reviews3 followers
September 1, 2020
**I was provided an e-arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

As with any anthology, there were some stories that I really enjoyed and others that weren't exactly to my taste.

There were many stories that were folktale-esque, magical realism, etc. and that style of storytelling isn't something I'm incredibly familiar with (not since childhood anyway!) and it isn't always my favorite. But I think those stories were done well, so if that genre is your jam, you'll probably find MANY stories here that you love!

I found a couple of authors that I'm incredibly interested in reading more works from, and even purchased one of their books already -- so I'm happy with that!
Profile Image for Nerine Dorman.
Author 64 books210 followers
September 13, 2020
It's always exciting to see short African speculative fiction gain traction in an anthology, and Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora edited by Zelda Knight and Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald most certainly delivers a range of tales. I will admit upfront that not all of the stories hit the mark with me, but I'll give a quick run-down.

"Trickin'" by Nicole Givens Kurtz provides an unsettling, post-apocalyptic vision involving a monstrous entity named only as Raoul who goes about wreaking bloody havoc on Halloween before sinking from the land again. The writing is solid, evocative even, but I felt as though I wanted a bit more of a wrap for the ending.
Any time I crack open a Dilman Dila story, I know I'm in for an unusual treat. "Red_Bati" introduces us to the artificial intelligence Akili, who deals with somewhat of an existential crisis. Dilman's writing is clever, and also a bit unsettling, and makes us examine non-human awareness and rewriting reality.

"A Maji Maji Chronicle" by Eugen Bacon is filled with beautiful imagery. As always, her style is lyrical and evocative, and gives us magical time travel with a twist as two visitors from the future cause mischief in Africa's past. It feels like a fairy tale, but has a darker undercurrent to counterbalance the whimsy.

"The Unclean" by Nuzo Onoh is a grim story of an arranged marriage and the cruelty people inflict on each other, spiced with a side order of serious body horror. You discover from the get-go that there's a heavy supernatural element, but it's the slow build to the unsettling finish that gives the quiet thrill. Powerful writing here.

As always with any anthology, there will be a story that didn't work for me in any shape or form. Unfortunately I didn't gel with "A Mastery of German" by Marian Denise Moore. The story took too long to get off the ground and I was disinvested quickly – perhaps mostly due to the story playing out in a sort of corporate/research environment.

"Convergence in Chorus Architecture" by Dare Segun Falowa may have quite a pedestrian start, but it melts into a vision of what can best be described as the lovechild of Salvador Dali and Zdzisław Beksiński. It's weird. It's wild. It's nightmarish. And I loved this story so very much.

While I didn't care much for her short story in this anthology Marian Denise Moore's poem "Emily" offers stark imagery filled with yearning. It's short but haunting.

"To Say Nothing of Lost Figurines" by Rafeeat Aliyu has more of a standard fantasy-adventure feel, which follows the doings of the magician Odun who is searching for a magical figurine that was stolen from him. Of course its retrieval does not go smoothly. This story has more of a feel of a prelude to longer-form fiction, but it's still enjoyable.

Oh my gosh, "Sleep Papa, Sleep" by Suyi Okungbowa Davies hit all the right notes for me. Max deals in illicit body parts, but he gets more than he bargained for when he sells bits and pieces harvested from kin. I really don't want to spoil this one for you – Suyi is a master of building tension.

"The Satellite Charmer" by Mame Bougouma Diene offers a vision of Africa pillaged by Asian mega-corporations equipped with terrifying technology. And it's about Ibrahima, who struggles to come to strike a balance between the old and the new, and the siren call of a destructive power beyond the reality he knows. This story is is a threnody of lost innocence, endings and transitions.

"Clanfall: Death of Kings" by Odida Nyabundi is another tale that feels more like an action-packed prologue than a fully rounded short story. That being said, I was left wanting more of this melding bio-mechanoid warriors and tribes duking it out for dominance.

"Thresher of Men" by Michael Boatman didn't work for me at all. I couldn't immerse and ended up skim-reading. The fault most likely lies with the reader, not the author, so you'd best make up your own mind on this one.

"Ife-Iyoku, The Tale of Imadeyunuagbon" by Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald tells of a people living in a world ravaged by a cataclysm. Society as we know it has crumbled, and these hardy survivors battle against a hostile environment poisoned by radiation and rife with mutations. The people themselves have beneficial mutations, and they survive by enforcing a rigid caste structure – for the benefit of the whole. But what happens when someone yearns for individuality? How does this put a precarious community into peril when there is a threat from without? At times violent and bloody, this action-packed tale of survival nonetheless offers some brutal twists in terms of challenging traditions.

All in all, Dominion offers a diverse selection of stories that showcases the depth and breadth of African speculative fiction. If you're tired of the same-old, same-old in speculative fiction, then step off the beaten track with this anthology. There's some strong stuff here.
Profile Image for Arina, The Reading Rogue.
78 reviews25 followers
December 27, 2020
An outstanding anthology full of life and culture, blending Africanfuturism, Afrofuturism, Afrojujuism, and the brunt of speculative fiction.

Horror, sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal combine to create a collection of stories that approach compelling premises with unique worldbuilding and intriguing characters. Robots, betrayal, gods, unite in building stories that are epic, or have subtler SFF elements, or are bizarre and terrifying. Just as the title promises, you'll find the full scope of Africa and the African diaspora's reach and imagination, and you'll enjoy the wild ride.

The first thing you'll want to do after finishing this one will be to buy a physical copy and find out more about the authors.

Profile Image for Runalong.
945 reviews31 followers
April 2, 2021
A hugely impressive collection of stories ranging from fantasy, science fiction and horror tales exploring multiple aspects of the genres and giving me a host of nee authors to look out for - great read!

Full review - https://www.runalongtheshelves.net/bl...
Profile Image for Dan.
Author 13 books34 followers
October 20, 2020
This anthology presents works across a variety of speculative fiction genres. As with any anthology, some works will appeal more to certain readers than others, but Dominion has something for everyone and it has something that almost no other collection of spec-fic has: black people, both as characters and authors. Speculative fiction in the United States has overall failed black people in terms of representation. Mainstream spec-fic is dominated by white authors. Some well-meaning white authors (such as myself) make efforts to include well-developed characters of other races, but that does little to repair the nearly complete erasure of black people as creators, not just as characters, from the speculative fiction market. This is not, of course, to say that black people have not made their indelible mark on speculative fiction; one of the most renowned spec-fic authors is a black woman, Black Panther took the world by storm, and Jordan Peele is giving horror a facelift. There are lots of black authors and creators, but a few big names dominating a genre is not enough. Books like Dominion fill an important gap in a lot of people’s reading lists.
The voices of the authors are by no means a monolith; this anthology carries us across cultures, nations, time periods, and genders. Some of the stories I deeply enjoyed, others were not exactly to my taste, but that’s the beauty of an anthology – trying something new. Many of the authors tackled difficult issues in their works and each one had a unique style and narrative. Not once did I read a story and think “oh, this again.” A few stories had some really unexpected twists and concepts, which I found delightful. Overall, I find that the spec-fic genre, despite having the infinite bounds of imagination to pull from, sometimes still manages to get a little repetitive. We see the same tropes touched on over and over again. This collection has fresher takes on certain themes.
I highly recommend this anthology to anyone seeking good speculative fiction. I also recommend it to white readers in general, because honestly, you probably haven’t read enough from black authors, either.
Profile Image for Charles.
Author 65 books120 followers
July 11, 2020
Full review to come on the blog.

A great collection that covers a lot of ground in genre and tone. There is a feeling here in most of the works of deep wounds (no surprise to find many post-disaster/apocalypse stories) that the characters are struggling with, trying to recover from. The emphasis is on the ways that these wounds cannot be undone. The change has to be faced, confronted, and reckoned with before any sort of healing can start. And even then, the path forward can be hard, and lead to unexpected places. A lot of phenomenal short SFF!

Fave stories (so hard to choose!) are probably:
“Clanfall: Death of Kings” by Odida Nyabundi
“To Say Nothing of Lost Figurines” by Rafeeat Aliyu
“Red_Bati” by Dilman Dila
Profile Image for Milton.
Author 71 books223 followers
July 22, 2020
I had the privilege to read an advance copy. Dominion: An Anthology of Black Speculative Fiction is an excellent addition to the library of story collections that focus on the imaginative writing of authors of African/African Diaspora Descent. The stories range across the subgenres of speculative fiction as well as the world, providing an exciting and thought-provoking journey. It’s a mind-expanding book as well as the authors weave cultural details from their respective origins that are fascinating and enlightening. Dominion belongs in every speculative fiction anthology collection.
Profile Image for Mike.
389 reviews94 followers
September 5, 2020
This anthology was interesting, topical, different from anything else I’ve read before, and really challenged me as a reader.

I’m always quick to snap up books based on cultures I’m unfamiliar with, so a collection of writings from African spec fic writers was super appealing to me. I was a little dubious of the “Africa and the African Diaspora” thing, though, for several reasons. One, Africa is about as far from monolithic as one can get, and lumping Ethiopia in with Senegal in with Nigeria in with Botswana is a thing racists have been doing for a long time. The other is the notion of the “African diaspora” thing. The Black population of the Americas can certainly be called that, but again, lumping Black Americans with Africans is another thing racists do. It all made me a little bit uncomfortable, but as a white dude, really not my place to judge. Just thoughts that were in the back of my mind as I read.

Where I’m going with this is that there was a theme working through the entire book, regardless of whether the writer in question was from Africa, the United States, the Caribbean, wherever. It was a common theme of injustice. Maybe it showed itself in a future story with China relentlessly stripping Africa of its mineral wealth, or in a story of people trying to survive the radioactive fallout of a war they had no part in, or in a story of a white Southern cop facing the consequences for his actions. Not every story was the same, and the experiences of people in Africa are naturally quite divergent from those of Black people in the United States. But especially given, well, <*gestures vaguely at everything*> now is a good time to read this anthology.

My favorite stories:

* **The Unclean** by Nuzo Onoh, about a woman who will do anything to have a son and prove her worth (the only path open to women to be worth anything being to have a boy). This was a truly horrible story, in the sense of invoking horror. It was tough to read at times. The author did a particularly good job of showing the colonialism-imposed Christianity merging with, rather than strictly superseding, the local beliefs. The protagonist has faith in both

* **A Mastery of German** by Marian Denise Moore. Good Golden Age style science fiction story about taking an idea and exploring it - in this case, the ethics of memory transfer.

* **To Say Nothing of Lost Figurines** by Rafeeat Aliyu. This one reminded me quite a lot of Jack Vance’s *Dying Earth* books, which is a good thing. A magician is going to an isolationist, xenophobic, anti-human world to recover part of his magics that have been stolen. His presence is tolerated - barely - only because he’s permanently accompanied by a half-human border guard who is herself eager to leave for friendlier environs.

* **Ife-Iyoku, the Tale of Imadeyunuagbon** by Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald. This is another powerful, horrible story, in this case about an isolated, hidden village of people who have gained extraordinary powers as a result of exposure to nuclear fallout. A story of xenophobia, misogyny, self-determination, this is probably my favorite one of the book.

All in all highly recommended, if not an easy book to read.
Profile Image for A.
52 reviews20 followers
June 23, 2020
This excellent anthology covers a wide gamut of the genre universe. You can find robot stories, horror stories, fantasy, and science fantasy. If that’s not enough, then you are in luck, because you will discover a number of fantastic authors that ought to be household names. If you still demand more, every story holds many layers within it containing a great deal of social insight that needs to be absorbed by everyone within the SFF community. Every single story in here is a winner depending on your interests.

A couple stories that really stuck out to me were Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki’s “Ife-Iyoku, The Tale of Imadeyunuagbon” which is a sort of far future Science fantasy in which everyone on earth is suffering from the fallout of a nuclear war. The story focuses on an isolated village that has begun to inherit technological or perhaps magical powers that increase every time the size of the village shrinks. As they seek to escape the radiated land that surrounds them, they have to choose between the ways of their elders or a new set of beliefs. In a choice that accurately reflects the world we live in now, progress and tradition are set against each other.

The second story I want to discuss is Nuzo Onoh’s “The Unclean”. I don’t say this often, but this story fucked me up. This is, without a doubt in my mind, an award winning story. It's about a woman who is married off to a man who does not appreciate her until she has a son to carry the family name. Then the son dies. Things get bad. The son comes back to life. Things get worse. This story explores superstition, women’s rights, the undead, and the love we have for our children with such potency that it will be seared in to your mind.

Usually, I say “buy this if” and then add a few qualities you might like, but this time I’ll just say “buy this”.
Profile Image for Annarella.
11k reviews106 followers
August 5, 2020
I think it is an excellent book and it was great to read story written by people with a different background.
I strongly appreciated the world building and the characters.
Not all the story were at the same level but I can say I liked the all.
It's strongly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Profile Image for Nicholas Whyte.
4,627 reviews177 followers
October 6, 2021

It's billed as an anthology of speculative fiction from Africa and the African diaspora; there are thirteen stories altogether, most of them very good. It's interesting looking through the Goodreads reviews to see that different people have felt attracted to different stories in the anthology; I guess for me the ones that grabbed me most were “A Mastery of German”, by Marian Denise Moore, and “To Say Nothing of Lost Figurines”, by Rafeeat Aliyu. But most of them are pretty good.
Profile Image for Tiah.
Author 10 books69 followers
May 30, 2020
~Desperation was a terrible aroma.~

~I don't want to spend the rest of eternity talking to a metallic dog that thinks it's human.~

~Their first language had been song.~

~The second rule: never dig up the grave of your own relations. Never.~

~The universe is soul. It seems dead as a rotting corpse, but it's and illusion. The universe is everyone. The universe is love.~

~That a thing ends badly does not mean it was bad, or not the required or needed end.~
Profile Image for Vanessa.
Author 22 books47 followers
October 28, 2020
Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora brings together 13 stories from authors across the African continent and throughout the African diaspora. There’s a huge range of tones, settings, genres, and themes in this collection. There’s hard science fiction, fantasy adventure, and absolutely unsettling, truly creepy horror. Some of my favorites are the stories that cross and blur genre boundaries, mixing elements of science fiction, fantasy, and horror into epic, unclassifiable tales of strong emotion and searing imagery. Recurring themes include the legacies of slavery, colonialism, patriarchal oppression, and ongoing economic exploitation. But these are also stories of survival, and in some cases a strange and stirring kind of transcendence.

The opening story, “Trickin’” by Nicole Givens Kurtz, is a dark and atmospheric tale of a god who comes down from the mountains once a year for “tricks or treats.” The mystery of who the god is and what he’s after unwinds slowly in a story that may be science fiction as well as fantasy: a post-apocalyptic world in the aftermath of unspecified tragedy, a decaying urban setting. It’s a good, attention-grabbing opener. The second story, “Red Bati” by Dilman Dila, shifts both mood and setting to a charming and ultimately poignant story about a robot dog attempting to hijack a spaceship. Humor and fun—as well as notes of something darker—can also be found in the fantasy adventures “A Maji Maji Chronicle” by Eugen Bacon (which features time-traveling magicians) and “To Say Nothing of Lost Figurines” by Rafeeat Aliyu (in which a mage teams up with a bureaucratic official to retrieve a lost figurine of power).

Two of my favorite stories were written by the same person, Marian Denise Moore (I definitely want to see more from her). “A Mastery of German” is thought-provoking science fiction that uses the latest in real-world science to ask questions about human memory and inheritance—and where it may all be going. In addition to its grounding in science (and corporate politics), this is also a quietly moving meditation on history, family, and what we’re able to pass down to one another. Some of the best moments of this piece were the quiet moments between a father and daughter, sharing both dinner and history with one another. Marian Denise Moore’s second story in this collection, “Emily,” is really more of a poem, a very short but also deeply moving and powerful piece: an address to a seven-year enslaved girl named Emily, a presumed runaway, whose name and description has been preserved in the newspaper advertisement for her return.

Horror is well-represented in this anthology. In addition to the opening story, “Trickin’,” “Sleep Papa, Sleep” by Suyi Davies Okungbowa and “The Unclean” by Nuzo Onoh can easily be seen as straight-up horror. “Sleep Papa, Sleep” is a wonderfully creepy tale about a man in contemporary Lagos, Nigeria, who has turned to harvesting and selling corpse parts on the black market to make a living. Until one day he inadvertently goes too far, even for a corpse seller. . . I love the way this piece entwines the main character’s memories and feelings for family with his mounting desperation. It’s wonderfully dark, tense, and atmospheric—easily one of my favorites of the collection. And Nuzo Onoh’s “The Unclean,”* also set in Nigeria and one of the longer pieces in the book, absolutely blew me away. As this story opens, we find the narrator in a mysterious forest, terrified and kneeling before her husband’s body. In flashbacks, we slowly learn her tale of abuse, marriage, motherhood, grief, and desperation. This is an absolutely harrowing, phantasmagoric tale of witch doctors, curses, magic, ghosts, and death. The imagery and atmosphere of the piece is remarkable, and I was by turns infuriated and horrified while reading it. The last sentences, however, end on a possible note of hope.

Michael Boatman’s story, “Thresher of Men,”* also has elements of horror, and like “The Unclean,” it also contains difficult, disturbing content with graphic descriptions of abuse. In this tale, the setting is contemporary America, but the story also stretches back to historical sins of the past as well as societal abuses of the present. Much of the story is seen through the unpleasant viewpoint of a bigoted white police officer, Lester Lee. It’s through Lee that we meet and learn some of the back story of Edie Frazier, a woman who was once Lee’s victim. It’s Edie Frazier who becomes the catalyst for a sweeping revenge—and not just on Lester Lee. This is a story that builds in power, and ends in catharsis.

The last group of stories I want to discuss are genre-bending pieces that mix elements of fantasy and science fiction, and often horror as well. “Clanfall: Death of Kings,” by Odida Nyabundi, takes place in a world of warring clans with high-tech armor and tech-modified bodies, a compelling blend of biopunk/(cyberpunk?) with epic fantasy. It’s fast-moving and engaging, and my only complaint is that it reads more like a novel-excerpt than a complete-in-itself story. In fact, I’m pretty certain that it is an excerpt from a novel, and I hope that novel comes out soon, for I would love to read more about the fascinating world that Nyabundi has created. “Convergence in Chorus Architecture,” by Dare Segun Falowo, is the story of the survival of a village. It’s a vivid, fantastical, and surreal tale of orisha, giantesses and other creatures of folklore, and a starship that roams the universe gathering people from different planets. It’s strange and dreamlike, and utterly compelling. “The Satellite Charmer,” by Mame Bougouma Diene, is similarly surreal and dreamlike, although it seems more rooted in our world’s reality—at least at first. In a future Africa, rival Chinese companies compete to exploit the African continent for their mining operations, using satellite beams to strip the earth of valuable elements. Ibrahima knows the danger and damage that the satellite beams cause, and yet he remains fascinated by the beam that operates near his home, “by the beam of blood red violence crashing from the sky, grinding into the soil with the force of a finger crushing an ant.” The story follows Ibrahima through his youth, his innocent days playing in a band and falling in love; his adulthood as he moves to a large city and works to support his family; his disenchantment with life, his continual longing to be near the satellite beam. Tragedy and despair ensues, and the story lifts from reality-based science fiction into something utterly fantastical and surreal. In the end, it’s a strange and beautiful story of transformation (along with a good dose of body horror), and one of the strongest stories of this collection. Finally, “Ife-Iyoku, the Tale of Imadeyunuagbon,” by Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald, is the fierce story of a village’s survival in a world ravaged by the fallout of nuclear war. Ife-Iyoku is an isolated African village, surrounded on all sides by land poisoned by radiation. But the people of Ife-Iyoku have adapted; the god Obatala has given them new powers to survive in the world, powers that evolve and grow stronger when their fellows are killed. This is the story of what happens when outsiders discover Ife-Iyoku, and the village comes under attack. . . and it’s also the story of Imade, a fierce young woman who refuses to accept the patriarchal order of her village, and the role that has been assigned to her. What I love about this story is how uncompromising it is; I thought at one point that it would turn out one way, but it subverted my expectations. Imade refuses to ever give in; for her, survival on anything less than her own terms will never be enough. Like several of the other stories in this collection, this is a tale of transformation and even apotheosis.

In all, Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora is a strong collection, which brings together a range of fascinating voices, styles and themes. Many of these stories introduced me to folklore and mythologies I had not known before, and provided glimpses into cultures and histories I knew little of. The editors have said on social media that Dominion is the first in a planned series, and that a Dominion 2 is in the works. This is good news indeed, and I look forward to forthcoming books in this series; the editors are doing important work in the world.

2 reviews
April 27, 2020
A smorgasbord of dazzling tales! The stories in the Dominion Anthology range from folklore to hardcore science fiction - there's something for everyone.
Had to take a story at a time, didn't want to read them all at once. And oh, I had to read some over.
It's amazing an anthology can have such varied stories from different voices and yet all great in their own ways. Definitely an experience I'd like to relive.
Profile Image for Stormy's Book Nest.
53 reviews5 followers
July 28, 2020
This collection is nothing short of incredible! Every entry is thought-provoking, emotional, and many are so surreal I had to stop reading for a bit to wrap my head around what was happening. From a Halloween origin story to a young woman reclaiming he herself and defying the status quo, not all stories were easy to read (see end for content/trigger warnings), but each one will certainly stay with me for a very long time.

My favorites were the surreal "Convergence in Chorus Architecture" (telling of three young people who survive a mass abduction by ethereal and sinister beings beyond time and space), "Emily" (a short poem-like snapshot of a moment frozen in time), "To Say Nothing of Lost Figurines" (a wholly charming story in which a time-space-traveling wizard has to team up with a low-level biracial civil servant who dreams of being and doing *more* to find his stolen wand), and "Thresher of Men" (where a goddess wreaks horrible, yet oftentimes well-deserved, vengeance on those who harm her stolen followers). The imagery and emotion in each of these is so utterly captivating and beautiful even in its horror I still find myself thinking about them. (I also really need Netflix or Shudder to get these on their radars and make them into full movies, especially "Convergence".)

As beautiful, horrific, and wonderful as this anthology is, there are some things to be aware of for those sensitive to disturbing content (not every entry contains these things and not all of them are graphic in nature): graphic violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, violence against women, familial abuse, child death, corpse desecration, body horror, loss of sanity, mentions of suicide, rape, disturbing imagery, violent abortion, racism and racial slurs, sexism in a patriarchal society.
Profile Image for Gautam Bhatia.
Author 12 books812 followers
December 20, 2020
I'd read this anthology earlier in the year. This is a very strong set of stories, that should find an important place in collections of contemporary African speculative fiction. For those acquainted with the genre, many of the names here will be familiar and trusted ones; for those new to it, this is an excellent introduction to some of the most dynamic and interesting speculative fiction that's presently on offer.
Profile Image for Jaq.
1,838 reviews2 followers
April 3, 2021
I enjoyed the diversity of voices and stories in this collection. I now own a copy for my own collection it was that enjoyable. I do want more though, so hope to see another collection come out soon.
Profile Image for Iseult Murphy.
Author 25 books109 followers
January 24, 2021
Wonderful anthology of 12 stories and 1 poem written by African authors.
Like all anthologies, there were stories that appealed to me more than others, but I’m happy to say I found more hits than misses in Dominion.
I loved the mixture of science fiction, fantasy and horror stories in this anthology.
Standouts for me were The Unclean by Nuzo Onoh, the queen of African horror. This story of an abused bride has it all. Tension, terror, great characters, a slice of life and some folklore too. I loved it.
To Say Nothing of Lost Figurines by Rafeeat Aliyu. A great fantasy story with portals, inter dimensional travel, magic and frog people that reminded me of something out of Dungeons and Dragons. I’d love to read a novel set in this world.
Clanfall: Death of Kings by Odida Nyabundi. An epic science fantasy that read like Shakespeare with animal people. I really really hope that there is a forthcoming novel that continues this story as I want to find out what happens next to these characters.
I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for A.C. Wise.
Author 150 books304 followers
July 8, 2020
Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora edited by Zelda Knight & Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald brings together an incredible group of authors, spinning tales of near-future science fiction, post-apocalyptic worlds, distant and mythic pasts, and more, imagining what might be, and what never was. The anthology officially comes out in August, but I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek.

As the title states, the common thread binding these stories is Africa and the African Diaspora, but the stories themselves range across the genres and sub-genres of speculative fiction, from horror, to fantasy, to science fiction, and everything in-between. A wide variety of voices and styles are on display here, and there’s a little bit of something for everyone. The editors assembled a strong collection, with several stories that were true standouts for me.

“Red_Bati” by Dilman Dila is a charming and touching story of a robot dog programmed with sentience by his former owner, who finds himself scooped up as salvage. With only the ghost of the old woman who was his former charge as his companion, he must plot his escape or risk being scrapped for parts. Red_Bati sees himself as a human trapped in a robot dog’s body, and at its heart, the story is a very human one as Red_Bati copes with feelings of obsolescence, abandonment, and searches for his place in the world.

“A Mastery of German” by Marian Denise Moore explores the idea of inherited memory, and the ethics of gene editing. The story touches on how easily history can be lost, especially Black history, by looking at whose stories get preserved and told, versus whose stories are forgotten because they’re merely “ordinary” people. Moore raises complicated questions about how science might be deployed to pass skills and knowledge from generation to generation, and how easily the ability to do so might be exploited and corrupted.

“Sleep Papa, Sleep” by Suyi Okungbowa Davies edges into horror territory, with an unsettling story of a son who finds himself drawn into the family business of grave-robbing and body harvesting, despite his best efforts to escape and make a life for himself elsewhere. When he sells pieces of a corpse from an unmarked grave, he finds himself haunted by the remains of his father, and he must confront his choices – his guilt over leaving, his decision to return, and his unwitting breaking of taboo. Davies effectively harnesses truly chilling imagery to ultimately tell a story about family, responsibility, and being caught between a sense of duty, and a desire to make one’s own way in life.

“The Satellite Charmer” by Mame Bougouma Diene feels epic in scope as it follows the transcendence and evolution of Ibrahima, who throughout his life has felt a strange connection to the mining satellite stripping and exploiting his people’s land. The writing is lovely, and the story’s structure itself mirrors Ibrahima’s journey, opening into something larger as the tale progresses, the language shifting to hold the reader at a greater distance as Ibrahima increasingly loses touch with his humanity and becomes something more.

“Ife-Iyoku, The Tale of Imadeyunuagbon” by Epeki Oghenechovwe Donald closes out the anthology on a strong note with a powerful tale of a woman repeatedly denying the expectations placed upon her, and refusing to play the role others would assign her. Like “The Satellite Charmer”, the story has a post-apocalyptic feel, and follows the transcendence and evolution of one character, Imade, as she becomes something more than human. A small group of people survive the fallout of nuclear war in Africa and develop powers as a result; the sacred charge to survive leads them each to make difficult choices according to their beliefs, however Imade alone refuses the idea of destiny, and refuses to be used as a vessel for the survival of her people. The story explores of power, the expectations placed on men versus women, and like “Sleep Papa, Sleep” the weight of tradition and society versus personal freedom.

Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora is currently available for pre-order. I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of this fantastic anthology and reveling in the wide variety of wonderful speculative tales within!
Profile Image for natrosette.
126 reviews16 followers
August 30, 2020
Dominion is an anthology of twelve speculative short stories (and a poem) from Africa and the African Diaspora. With that being the singular factor uniting these works, they represent a wide range of genres, subjects, and settings. Robots, magicians, angry goddesses, zombies, greedy corporations, and more make appearances across small towns, spaceships, crumbling worlds, and interdimensional spaces.

Despite this great variance, there is one noticeable theme; a majority of these stories are post-apocalyptic, dealing with survival and recovery from a past that can never truly be healed. Though some are more optimistic than others, very few of these tales are truly uplifting. Instead, they purposefully confront difficult topics including racism, sexism, and many types of violence. This collection may not be for the faint of heart, but it is compelling and meaningful.

So far as the quality of each story, there were some that worked much better for me than others, but as a whole the anthology is excellent. There were several stories that I loved, and even those that I didn’t like as well were engaging and explored fascinating concepts. When I was unsatisfied, it often felt like it was more because I was missing something than that the story was. Below are some brief thoughts on the standout stories for me.

"Red_Bati" by Dilman Dila - A robot dog taking over a spaceship to avoid being reprogrammed. Throughout the heist, questions of sentience are explored and we get glimpses of the world beyond the spaceship which piqued my curiosity.

"The Unclean" by Nuzo Onoh - An uncomfortable horror story addressing the oppression of women through expectations and domestic abuse and the terrible decisions that this can force them into. It was incredibly creepy and kept me on the edge of my seat.

"A Mastery of German" by Marian Denise Moore - Examines the possibility of transferring memories and what this would mean for personal worth and identity. This subject always fascinates me, and I enjoyed the author’s take on how it might come about in a real-world setting.

"Clanfall: Death of Kings" by Odida Nyabundi - This sci-fi about various tribes of killer cyborgs was so entertaining. My only complaint is that it felt more like an introduction than a completed work, which gives me hope that it may be expanded into a longer story in the future.

"The Satellite Charmer" by Mame Bougouma Diene - Follows Ibrahim throughout his life in an Africa that is in peril from gigantus mining corporations. For me, there was just the right mix of everyday life and perplexing sci-fi.

"Ife-Iyoku, the Tale of Imadeyunuagbon" by Epeki Oghenechovwe Donald - A small civilization of survivors of the apocalypse have been blessed with magical powers, but inept leadership and patriarchal beliefs might be their downfall. I liked the exploration of gender roles and power dynamics combined with a strong main character and, well, superpowers.

Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Find more reviews and other bookish content on my blog!
Profile Image for Raj.
1,391 reviews30 followers
July 17, 2022
I've been making a conscious effort to try and extend my horizons when it comes to my reading, and this book was mentioned in a discussion between anthologists as a particularly good one. Having read it, it's certainly not like anything I've read before. Coming from Africa and the African diaspora, including African Americans, it's a collection as diverse as the continent it hails from. The first story, Trickin' is the story of a trickster god who rises once a year to test his people. Then we have an old-fashioned robot story in Red_Bati in which a robot that used to be an old woman's pet becomes part of a mining crew, but has an existential crisis when it's damaged.

Probably the most harrowing story in the collection is The Unclean, in which a woman relates her life, passed from a father to a husband, treated as chattel, the birth and death of her child and the horror of when that unquiet child returns to haunt her. This was a difficult story to read, on several counts - the horror of the way that women were traded (not to mention the horror of the normality of it); the abuse; the death of the child; and more that goes into spoiler territory.

Convergence in Chorus Architecture had the feel of an ancient myth to me, almost a creation myth. I didn't entirely follow the plot, but the tone and feel really drew me in. Clanfall: Death of Kings really didn't feel like a complete story in its own right, but part of a larger piece of work. It was very violent, in a cartoony way that didn't really have me caring all that much about the characters, but the worldbuilding was excellent. The final (and, I think, longest) story was Ife-Iyoku: The Tale of Imadeyunuagbon, set in a post-apocalyptic world, where the inhabitants of one hidden village in the heart of Africa gained powers that helped them survive. The people of Ife-Iyoku formed a highly patriarchal society, where survival and the continuation of the next generation is the greatest good. This story tells of what happens when that is threatened and when one young woman wants to exercise greater freedom.

Overall, a very good collection with many more hits than misses for me. One or two I just didn't get, one or two were far too grim for me, but it's a good collection indicating how the genre is thriving in a non-traditional habitat.
Profile Image for Antti Värtö.
415 reviews32 followers
June 19, 2022
I'm pretty disappointed in this book. I heard rave reviews, but it seems that was just hype: the actual stories aren't very good. Many of them seem only half-finished. Even the more polished ones, like Red_Bati, have annoying mistakes (like "[He] could withstand environments well below -400° C". Come on! The absolute zero is -273,15°C. This is pretty elementary science knowledge) that speak of poor editing.

But I don't want to focus too much on the negative, so I'll list my favourite stories from the anthology:

"Clanfall: Death of Kings" by Odida Nyabundi would've been #1, except it's not a complete story. What we get here is something like an opening chapter. If there ever any continuation to the story, I'd be very interested in reading further. I mean, posthuman cyborg warrior-clans in far-future Kenya; you can't tell me that doesn't sound good!

But since I don't know how to rate a story that ends just as it starts to get going, my actual #1 is "The Unclean" by Nuzo Onoh. This is some good horror, where the mundane and the supernatural nastiness enhance each other. Very intense, very unpleasant, very well written and structured.

"Red_Bati" by Dilman Dila was probably #2. There's a robot dog on a space ship who's too smart for his own good. I liked how the protagonist had motivations that weren't actually very heroic. Pretty good, even if the plot resolved a bit too hastily.

"A Maji Maji Chronicle" by Eugen Bacon was a tad confusing, but still one of my favourites. Time-travelling magicians come to visit a pre-industrial tribe, and they end up changing history rather drastically. I liked the cynical philosophy that could be summed as "Black or White, we all all total bastards inside".

"To Say Nothing of Lost Figurines" by Rafeeat Aliyu ended FAR too quickly and thus the ending was disappointing, but the worldbuilding was unique enough that I'm almost ready to forgive that. World-hopping magicians are good enough, but the bureaucracy at the border was really the icing on the cake.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 57 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.