Cover Image: NEW SUNS

NEW SUNS

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I think anthologies are really difficult to critique as which stories you prefer are such a matter for personal taste. Some of the collection's 17 stories were excellent and others were really not my bag. My favourites were, in the order they appeared in the collection:

The Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex by Tobias Bucknell

The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations by Minsoo Kang

The Fine Print by Chinelo Onwualu

Burn The Ships by Alberto Yanez

The Freedom Of The Shifting Sea by Jaymee Goh

The Shadow We Cast Through Time by Indrapramit Das

The Robots of Eden by Anil Menon

One Easy Trick by Hiromi Goto
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3/28/2019 New Suns:  Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color
Edited by Nisi Shawl


I’m late getting to this one, not because I didn’t want to read it, but because I really wanted to take the time and absorb each and every story and every story in this collection is incredible.  
Friends, Rebecca Roanhorse has a story in this collection.  I mean, that’s all I need to say.  
Covering a range of topics, settings, and time periods, there is a short story for everyone in this collection.  What do you do when Earth becomes an intergalactic tourist destination?  Have you ever considered a Djinn complaint department?  
I especially loved the short story The Robots of Eden by Anil Menon.  The story opens with a husband reflecting on his wife and her lover, Sollozzo, arriving from Boston so that together, they can inform their young daughter of their divorce.  It’s handled so matter of factly and without any anger or resentment that it’s a bit confusing.  Why isn’t he upset?  He claims that he and Sollozzo both love the same woman.  Shouldn’t he be sad?  It’s only later that we learn that many in the world are now Enhanced.  They are connected to AI through implants that levels off-maybe even takes away-all of their aggressive and negative emotions.  After the divorce, the husband and Sollozzo become friends, speaking frequently and enjoying philosophical and literary debates.  The divide between the Enhanced and Unenhanced takes a chilling turn when tragedy hits the family and the only upset is Velli, an Unenhanced woman who works for the family.  This story was a powerful look at how even the most devastating of emotions are important to the human journey and no matter how badly we want to turn them off, we shouldn’t.  
I really enjoyed this collection of short stories and I would highly recommend it for anyone who is interested in trying out short stories-they’re a new love of mine.  
 
Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this title.  All opinions are my own.
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New Suns is a collection of 17 speculative fiction stories by authors of colour and whilst they didn’t all hit the spot for me there is definitely a lot to enjoy about this anthology and what didn’t work for me might be gold to another reader. I have been enjoying a break from thrillers and embracing my old reading loves of science fiction/horror and dystopian fiction recently so New Suns came along just at the right time. Any anthology is going to be like a pick & mix and the following were my absolute favourites:

Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex by Tobias S Buckell – this really reminded me of Men In Black with the humour element. Earth has become the home of intergalactic tourism but one small misunderstanding (or an alien off their face on recreational drugs) could result in  our annihilation.

The Fire Print by Chinelo Onwualu – A story about desire, paternal love and dodgy dealings with a Djinn!

The Freedom of The Shifting Sea by Jaymee Goh – a nautical tale featuring a sensuous sea worm (not a sentence I ever imagined saying!). This was more of an erotic horror story but I enjoyed the underlying love story. Just skip over the terrifying mandibles; she’s not known as The Bobbit Worm for nothing!

Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire – a new spin (pardon the pun) on The Emperor’s New Clothes which I really enjoyed.

One Easy Trick by Hiromi Goto – easily the weirdest story featuring a woman who loses her belly fat in the woods. Literally loses it, so cute! I wish mine would go for a hike in the woods.

Kelsey and the Burdened Breath by Darcie Little Badger – My absolute favourite; it’s about a kind of ghost sheep dog who rounds up lost/rogue  souls. I could read a whole series about the characters in this short story.

These were the stories that struck a chord with me, made me think or made me laugh, I did enjoy others but these are the standouts in my opinion. I will definitely check out the authors and their other works.
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New Suns is an excellent collection of short fiction, collected from a bevy of talented science fiction and fantasy authors. Many of these authors were new to me and I look forward to diving further into their collective works.

The stories feel completely original, creating unexpected twists on old tales and weaving new stories that range from hilarious to thought-provoking. You’ll find a future Earth turned massive tourist attraction for thrill-seeking aliens. You’ll find a jinn turned businessman through the modernization of wish granting. You’ll find a brilliant retelling of an old fable, complete with witty dialog from the author on the state of such a tale. It’s a wonderful collection, organized in a way that continuously surprised me as I read through the stories. 

A couple of my favorites…

The Fine Print (by Chinelo Onwualu) is a modern adaptation of a jinn story, shifting the narrative from a legend format to a modern business complete with paper contracts, customer service, and a catalog of available wishes. The narrative shows the wishing system for what it really is, revealing the endless wants of man that often outweigh what they actually need. It’s fascinating to imagine a wish system of checks and balances where you get everything you ever wanted in life, at a cost. 

The Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex (by Tobias S. Buckell) shows us a future where Earth is overrun by alien tourists looking for a thrilling vacation on a “primitive” world. The cities are nothing but tourist stores, sightseeing, and restaurants catering to the needs of thousands of alien species. We’re introduced to a number of alien races, all of them eager to experience the thrills of human life. The story paints a pretty hilarious picture of the cosmos, namely as a bunch of bored aliens looking for something different from their highly advanced civilizations and daily lives. 

Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire (by E. Lily Yu) is a brilliantly witty take on the classic ’emperor with no clothes’ story. The author becomes a part of the story, contemplating the telling of a fable and what makes a good story great. I loved the sense of voice in the narrative.
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Anthologies are great, sometimes they work out well and sometimes they don’t quite reach that potential we see in them. With many of them, I have found, it’s almost always a mixed bag and this one is no different.

New Suns is filled with fiction from people of colour and this diversity made way for some truly good content, if I am being honest but I wish there was a loose theme to them all, a sort of connection that I felt lacking while I was reading them one after the other.

Overall, I gave this collection 3.5 stars but there were some that truly were noteworthy and I feel like they really made the experience so much better than it could have been. Of the entire collection, I really found Come Home to Atropos by Steven Barnes along with The Fine Print by Chinelo Onwaulu were so well written and they had such a good effect on me, I am not likely to forget them any time soon. Then there were other good ones, such as Give Me Your Black Wings Oh Sister by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and The Freedom of the Shifting Seas by Jaymee Goh and last but not the least, Harvest by Rebecca Roanhorse. These were so good and well written and two of them were just creepy enough that I felt uneasy reading them.

Overall, this is a really mixed bag with a few gems scattered in between. I have given the starred rating for each one in below, however, do consider that this is my personal opinion and it might differ from many others. If you read this collection and found some of the low rated ones to be your favourite, please, don’t be offended.

The Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex by Tobias Buckell- ★★★

Deer Dancer by Kathleen Alcala – ★★

The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations by Minsoo Kang – ★ (DNF)

Come Home to Atropos by Steven Barnes – ★★★★

The Fine Print by Chinelo Onwualu- ★★★★

unkind of mercy by Alex Jennings – ★★

Burn the Ships by Alberto Yanez – ★★

The Freedom of the Shifting Seas by Jaymee Goh – ★★★

Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire by E. Lily Yu- ★

Blood and Bells by Karin Lowakee- ★

Give Me Your Black Wings Oh Sister by Silvia Moreno-Garcia  – ★★★

The Shadow We Cast Through Time by Indrapramit Das – ★★

The Robots of Eden by Anil Menon – ★★

Dumb House by Andrea Hairston- DNF

One Easy Trick  by Hiromi Goto – ★

Harvest by Rebecca Roanhorse – ★★★

Kelsey and the burdened breath by Darcie Little Badger- ★★
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I was excited about the anthology New Suns, but I ended up disappointed. This anthology has so many great authors. Unfortunately, the stories never reached the level of “great.” It’s a risk you run with every anthology since not even wonderful authors hit it out of the ballpark every single time.

My favorite stories of the collection were by two authors whose work I usually enjoy — Rebecca Roanhorse and Darcie Little Badger. Rebecca Roanhorse’s story, “Harvest,” was delightfully creepy and macabre. A young woman falls in love with a deerwoman… who convinces her to kill for her. Darcie Little Badger’s story, “Kelsey and the Burdened Breath,” is about grief and moving on. In the world of Badger’s story, last breaths contain a shred of the dead’s soul, and they often linger on Earth. It’s a fantastic concept that Badger uses brilliantly.

One other story I enjoyed was “The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations” by Minsoo Kang, which examines history, histography, and how we often value war more than peace. It’s a very smart story, and I’ll have to keep an eye out for more by Minsoo Kang.

Outside of those three stories, I wasn’t much impressed with the rest of the collection. In the second tier, I’d place “The Shadow We Cast Through Time” by Indrapramit Das, although I can’t remember much about it other than that it was sort of middle-of-the-road. I did like “The Freedom of the Shifting Sea” by Jaymee Goh, which features queer, murderous mermaids, but I don’t think I would ever revisit it. “The Robots of Eden” by Anil Menon has an interesting take on post-humans but isn’t very memorable. “One Easy Trick” by Hiromi Goto was at least memorable, although it’s another I wasn’t wild about. It’s sort of an issue story about a woman coming to terms with and accepting her belly fat.

“The Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex” by Tobias Buckell had an amusing concept but not a whole lot of staying power, unlike some of his other stories I’ve read. The same goes for E. Lily Yu’s “Three Variations on Theme of Imperial Attire.” E. Lily Yu has written some truly brilliant stories that I remember months or years after first reading them. However, this one was a rather unremarkable retelling of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

I actually ended up only reading part of three different stories… two of which were by authors whose work I’ve otherwise enjoyed. Karin Lowachee’s Warchild is one of my all-time favorite novels, but I pretty quickly DNF’ed her story “Blood and Bells.” I’ve found that her stories in general either strike me to the core or completely bounce off me. “Blood and Bells” was a bounce. Likewise, I’ve enjoyed a novel by Andrea Hairston, but I DNF’ed her short story “Dumb House.” I quit “unkind mercy” by Alex Jennings pretty close to the end, as I found it overly rambling.

While I finished reading the other stories in this collection, there aren’t any I would recommend or really want to talk about. I’d recommend passing on this collection — most of these authors have better work available elsewhere.

I received an ARC with the expectation of a free and honest review.
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When the ‘New Suns’ anthology was announced a few months ago many things attracted my attention.
First of all, the cover. The illustration draw by Yoshi Yoshitani is a success: striking and so much in the line of the reasons behind this publication. On the other hand, the writer’s list. An absolute heterogeneous list of names, with a wider range of cultures: Indians, African-American, Native Americans but with very distinct foreign backgrounds, etc. And, mostly, a wider selection of Asian culture that makes the anthology a very interesting sample of what is going on out of the literature we usually read.
The name’s list interest grows if you are curious about other origins and cultures. Fortunately, nowadays we are having more and more literature coming from out of the USA and Europe. Although there are a few names we all know, they are just knocking a door through which many other writers will go in the next decade. In addition, ‘New Suns’ anthology cover text does not highlight the most known names within the book – at least, those I personally know more, as Tobias S. Buckell or Silvia Moreno-Garcia. This might be something not wanted, but looks like a very interesting action in order to promote less known authors.
It is a bit of a cliché to say that anthologies are usually some kind of emotional roller coasters. You can read a fantastic tale, with an amazing sense of wonder which engages with you from the very beginning. However, the next one can be completely different, and not being attractive for the reader at all. I have to recognize that ‘New Suns’ is one of the anthologies where I most have had this feeling. But, although the average mark could be not very high, the truth is that there is a handful of stories that a mention is well deserved.
One of this is ´The Fine Print´, by Chinelo Onwualu. An amazing tale of parent’s love to their children, human desires. A remarkable Faust’s tale revision.
 ‘Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex’ by Tobias S. Buckell is another remarkable science fiction tale. The Earth is now a visit destination for galactic tourists. The difference is that this story is probably the funniest story of the whole anthology. Related to tourism there is also ‘Come Home to Atropos’ by Steven Barnes which is also a good an interesting one. 
I also want to mention ‘The Shadow We Cast through Time’, written by Indrapramit Das. This story summarize most of my feelings when reading ‘New Suns’. On one hand, a tale full of details, a complex one to be read bit by bit. On the other, a narrative I didn’t connect at all with. 
A safe bet was Silvia Moreno-García and her ‘Give Me Your Black Wings Oh Sister’. She does not disappoint, writing a highly emotional tale which is closed with success. Similar can be said about ‘Harvest’, by Rebecca Roanhorse. A quick love story which includes one of the recurring themes in the anthology, colonialism. 
In addition to 17 tales, the book also includes an introduction by Levar Burton and a foreword by the editor Nisi Shawl. I can’t deny there are some tales I didn’t like – as it happens with most of anthologies. However, ‘New Suns’ allows us to read other concerns about the past, present and future world from those we usually get in other books. Definitively, this journey along different cultures, different ways of writing and understanding the genre is a well worthy experience.
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Even though I’m not the biggest reader of short story collections, I was really looking forward to this one. Speculative and science fiction are two of my most beloved genres and as a Latinx reader I was thrilled to see that this collection is exclusively written by people of color. And Levar Burton wrote the introduction- sign me up! As science fiction, fantasy, and the like become increasingly popular, these are the voices that we need to be hearing from now more than ever. 

Like any other short story anthology, there are stories that are better than other ones, and stories that will appeal to some but won’t appeal to others. This collection was really no different. Some stories I loved, some I was okay with, others left me completely baffled. Yet as a whole, I did really enjoy reading all of these and do hope that this type of book is not a fluke. I’d love to see more, especially since so many of these stories featured LGBTQ+ characters; again, these are voices we need to be hearing from in not just this genre, but all genres.

There were over a dozen stories and breaking down each one would have us here all day, so I’ll just mention a few that I really enjoyed. 

- Deer Dancer

Set in what appears to be a post-apocalyptic world filled with communal tribes depending on each other for survival, this one was utterly filled with mysticism that seems to have evolved of its own accord as a result of the world the characters lived in. It was interesting to see that in relative modern times,  we as humans really aren’t that far removed from mythological elements being such profound aspects of our lives. This was one of the few I would love to see expanded into its own novella or book.

-The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations

The problem with short stories is that you need to be able to set a scene with characters people want to read about in relatively few pages. Often times, this is where short stories (sorry for the pun) fall short. The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations was not one of those stories. It was a sweeping, epic tale that was beautifully and thoroughly laid out and was easily my favourite one in the collection. It was profound and thought provoking, almost making you rethink the way history has always been written and remembered. 

- Burn the Ships

Mysticism was again key in this tale, and was another one I would love to see expounded as I was a little confused about who the invaders were and where they came from. It was more or less and allegory for the European expansion into Latin America, and being someone who had family on both sides of those events this story really spoke to me. It was truly moving and beautiful.

- Blood and Bells

Another one that set everything up perfectly with characters I grew attached to in only a few pages. My heart broke and rebroke several times throughout Blood and Bells, yet left me with a overwhelming sense of hope in the end. I’m keen to read more by this author. 


All in all, the collection balances itself out into a stunning compilation of emotional, wondrous, and thought provoking tales. Whilst I usually put short story collections aside to read singular titles, New Suns has made me a convert. I’m going to be on the lookout now for similar anthologies and might just start reading other ones I’ve never had the mind to take notice of. Thank you so much to the editor of this collection for bringing such amazing authors into my world.
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News Suns is a book of collected short speculative fiction stories by people of colour. It's quite an open description and so the stories here are varied in style, linking them is that they all have elements of something unusual, something not quite of this world.  

Normally I find short story collections difficult to read because I find myself stopping after every story but with this one I just couldn't stop reading. The stories are all a bit odd, a bit different and full of atmosphere. I very much enjoyed this collection and I was sad to get to the end.

My favourites included Harvest - a dark and disturbing tale of a woman who would do anything for her lover, The Freedom of the Shifting Sea, an only slight less disturbing tale of a woman that falls in love with a mermaid / sea worm and Deer Dancer, a story that I didn't understand at all but thought was beautifully done even though it went over my head.  

The only one I wasn't keen on was The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations because it was more historical explanation than a story. I liked the way it tried something new but I didn't feel connected to the story at all, it was too far removed. 

The other stories were:

Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex, about a taxi driver who finds himself in trouble after a passenger jumps out of his cab.

Come Home to Atropos - a very cleverly done story about an advertising campaign to entice rich white people to come to Atropos for euthanasia that feels far too realistic to be comfortable reading.

The Fine Print - about men that exchange their women and children to pay for perfect wives from catalogues.

Unkind of Mercy - a woman that can see invisible beings that inhabit our world. 

Burn the Ships - a race of people that are about to be wiped out by alien invaders find a way to fight back. 

Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire - an Emporer's New Clothes retelling.

Blood and Bells - another of my favourites, this is about a young man trying to protect his child and escape the gang world that he lives in. 

Give me your Black Wings Oh Sister - I liked this one a lot too, it's about a young woman that starts to feel strange, uncontrollable urges. 

The Shadow we Cast through Time - a story about a world that lives in close contact with demons. 

The Robots of Eden - people that have 'enhanced' themselves but lost the ability to feel emotions. 

Dumb House - a woman that refuses to upgrade to the latest smart houses. 

One Easy Trick - about a woman who literally loses her belly fat while walking in the forest.

Kelsey and the Burdened Breath - a world where when people die their souls leave their bodies with their last breath.

A varied and interesting short story collection, I recommend this if you're looking for something fresh and a bit different.
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As soon as I read the blurb for this anthology, I knew that I wanted to read it. It ticks all the boxes when I look for an anthology, horror, sci-fi and fantasy. With any anthology I go in with an open mind, I know I won’t love every story but I can guarantee I can find some new authors who I will go onto purchase their work. 
New Sun has 17 short stories that will introduce you to various cultures and religions, creatures from other realms and so much more. Each story was completely different and you will change genre from one story to the next. 
For the purpose of this review, I will write about the ones I really enjoyed.
 The Fine Print by Chinelo Onwualu: The story about how one man wants to change the rules to protect his son. As you read this story, you learn how much Nuhu’s community rely on the Djinn for survival. The idea of the perfect woman (Spells) being got from a catalogue enforced the town’s need. The descriptive style of the author enabled you to imagine the spells, the views of the men and the desperation and determination of Nuhu to break the contract.  
Unkind of Mercy by Alex Jennings: Alaina-Rose talks about Johnny the love of her life and the strange feeling that something is in the room with her. I love reading stories that gets your imagination working. The story written from Alaina-Rose’s POV, helps you see how these mysterious creatures are starting to affect her and lets you decide whether it is supernatural or extraterrestrial. 
The Freedom of the Shifting Sea by Jaymee Goh: Mayang an unusual sea creature and the affects she has on a mother and daughter. I really enjoyed this story. Yes, Mayang was a sea creature, but it was a story about love and loss. This story was beautifully written. You are drawn into their lives and as this story is told over a long period of time, you see how Mayang changed the lives of Salmah and Eunice.
One Easy Trick by Hiromi Goto: Marnie has a bit of a belly but after a trip into the forest to collect mushrooms, it all changes. As I was reading this story, I did not know what had happened to Marnie and rereading it, I still do not know what she did. However, that did not stop me enjoying this story, my favourite scenes were when she went back into the forest and her conversation with a bear. Reading this reminded me of the Adipose from Dr Who.
Kelsey and the Burdened Breath by Darcie Little Badger: This was my favourite story. Kelsey and Pal, her spirit dog earn a living rounding up lost souls. Written in the 3rd person, makes you feel that you are following her step by step. Tracking down the burdened breath tested her skills. This is a paranormal thriller and I would love to read more of Kelsey and if there were a series I would definitely buy it. 
I am glad I got to read this anthology and as expected I have now added more authors to my list to look out for. If you are looking for refreshing stories than pick up this book.
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First, I'd like to say, I was so happy to read stories with characters of color in it! It is always a gift reading books with characters who look like me.

That being said, the seventeen stories had such a wide range of genres and I am happy to say that most of them really caught my attention.

Every piece was well written, I will say even though they all weren't my cup of tea. Anthologies can be very tricky but I feel like this was done pretty well.
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*I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for the free book!*

I was already excited for this book when I saw that it was "Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color", one of them being Rebecca Roanhorse, whose urban fantasy novel "Trail of Lightning" I had used in one of my classes. When I saw that the foreword was written by LeVar Burton, this trekkie was very happy. 

However, I did not like or get all the stories that can be found in this book. Some were confusing, others boring, yet some were extremely well crafted and mind-blowing. Speculative Fiction is not always to my liking, so I just skim-read the stories I didn't enjoy. As they made up more than half of the book, I am sad to rate this book with less than five stars, but I had great expectations after LeVar showed up ;-)

Neverthemore, I enjoyed this very diverse anthology! If you are into speculative fiction and would like to read about taxis for aliens for instance, buy and read this compilation. You will find stories to your liking! 

4 Stars!
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New Suns contains seventeen stories by writers of colour, raging across many genres - including science fiction, fantasy, horror, retold fairy stories, alternate history, religion, crime and romance - indeed often more than one, almost all with a speculative tinge but with no intention to pursue an overall theme. I have seen some reviews that lament that, but while I love a themed anthology as much as anyone, it really isn't necessary (in my view) for at least three reasons.

First, reading these stories, there is, I think, a commonality which pretty much amounts to a theme. In their different ways, many of these stories explore the position of marginalised people or the effects of power, colonialism or inequality. Even where these themes are not in the foreground they are often visible as part of the furniture of the story. That's not surprising, given that the writers are explicitly identified as people of colour, but the fact that it's not, itself, an overtly imposed theme allows for a more subtle exploration of these issues than if there were an overall theme - and it also means the writers aren't being expected to act as spokespeople just because of who they are.

Secondly - and more simply - general anthologies, with no theme, are a thing and a perfectly fine thing at that. And many of them have in the past been largely male and white, as well, so even the idea of an implicit theme arising from the choice of the authors is not exactly new.

Finally - and I think this is the most important point - these stories are generally of a very high standard and eminently readable. They're fun! A collection of great stories is a Good Thing and, obviously, how far the editor ranges to assemble one is the real test of any anthology. And here Nisi Shawl has done an excellent job.

So - on to the stories. What's in the book? The stories included are

The Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex - Tobias Buckell
Deer Dancer - Kathleen Alcalá
The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations - Minsoo Kang
Come Home to Atropos - Steven Barnes
The Fine Print - Chinelo Onwualu
Unkind of Mercy - Alex Jennings
Burn The Ships - Alberto Yañez
The Freedom of the Shifting Sea - Jaymee Goh
Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire - E Lily Yu
Blood and Bells - Karin Lowachee
Give Me Your Black Wings Oh Sister - Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The Shadow We Cast Through Time - Indrapramit Das
The Robots of Eden - Anil Menon
Dumb House  -Andrea Hairston
One Easy Trick - Hiromi Goto
Harvest - Rebecca Roanhorse
Kelsey and the Burdened Death - Darcie Little Badger)

There is also a Foreword by LeVar Burton and an Afterword by Nisi Shawl, which both set the context for the collection.

The Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex (Tobias Buckle) imagines Earth - by implication, but specifically the US and New York City, as the location for the story - at the receiving end of tourist culture, having to defer to the foibles of "Galactics" with their strange food and smells and their desire for "authentic" Earth culture ("Over half of the US economy was tourism, the rest service jobs"). It's a focussed story, making one point but making it well.

Deer Dancer (Kathleen Alcalá) has a sense of mystery about it. In a post-apocalyptic society which is seeking to rebuild, Tater (named after the root vegetable) loves "imagining what it was like Before, when the sun was scarce". She has some affinity for animals, and enters a dream state which takes the story to strange places. One of those stories where perhaps nothing happens, perhaps everything, the dream here seem freighted with meaning and to point a way forward for the precarious community living on the Edges.

The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations (Minsoo Kang) is framed as a discussion of history, in a setting that (to me) seemed to echo distant Chinese history, written almost as if it were the notes of a seminar or a lecture, of the futility of war ("the copses of ambitious leaders, obedient soldiers, and powerless civilians lay in numbers like grains of sand upon a blood-soaked shore") and the utility of finding ways to avoid it, even at the cost of disobedience. It also points up the power of those invisible to history ("very little can be affirmed about her identity due... to the... lack of information about women...") In its celebration of the outwitting of a powerful and arrogant but dull minded leader I felt a rather cogent point was being made about the present day.

Come Home to Atropos (Steven Barnes) is almost, I'd say, not a story at all. A script for an advertising campaign it features a caribbean (I think) island being marketed to rise, white, elderly - and wealthy - people. But this is no paradise. There has seemingly been a hurricane, but little help has been offered. So is the idea to attract foreign money by marketing the place as a paradise? if so, it doesn't perhaps quite hit the right note... but if it's aiming at other needs, other desires, of its clientele - as it seems, in a rather barded way, it is - then maybe business can be done. A deliciously sharp story. I worked out fairly early what was going on, but that only made a succession of revelations more and more delicious.

The Fine Print (Chinelo Onwualu) is a variation on the idea of how bitter it can be to be granted wishes. The technology has been updated, with a Catalogue, call centres and cubicles offices, but the tension between human will and the ineffable remains, as do the dangers of backing mysogyny with great external power - whether that's colonial power or magical.

Unkind of Mercy (Alex Jennings) was one of my favourite stories here.  Jennings cleverly introduces us to a comedian, Johnny, who's moved to LA hoping to make it big but it soon becomes clear that the story is, rather about the woman (Alaina-Rose, not introduced till well into the story) who's narrating everything and who, through the shifting tone of her monologue, is perfectly characterised ("...and I mean, he's not wrong, but he's not right either.") It is, I suppose, more of a horror story than anything else - but one of those where rather than seeing something terrible we're led up to it by that oh-so-ordinary narration. Quite chilling, and more so the more you turn it over in your mind.

When I was at my secondary school, I took part in a school production of the play The Royal Hunt of the Sun. Portraying the conquest of the Inca Empire by Spanish invaders, a scene that has stuck in my mind is of the death (the murder) of Atahualpa, the Inca leader and of the quiet faith of his people that he will rise again to scatter the invaders. of course he does not. Burn The Ships (Alberto Yañez) is a complex, horrific story set in a reality that recalls that: technologically advanced intruders have subjugated a Native population in an astonishingly short time and are committing genocide and seeking to destroy what remains of the traditional religion and culture. But this isn't exactly 15th or 16th century South America, nor, I think, quite earth. Modern technology is referred to but its users seems have fled something - there's almost an implication of alternate realities or gates between universes. The theme is, though, firmly the lengths one might go to to defend one's people, one's culture with women turning forbidden magics and rites  while their menfolk sit on their hands - and haughty gods who care little for their people. A lot of food for thought here.

The Freedom of the Shifting Sea (Jaymee Goh) was another favourite of mine. Almost or actually a romance, it kind of turns the mermaid legend inside out - in both story and gender terms - as well making the half woman, half-seaworm encountered on, I think, an Indonesian island ("Mayang could remember a time before British imperialism") a Muslim and family that becomes entwined with her part local, part Western. Featuring a real punch-the-air moment when a rather nasty characters gets a deserved fate, it is a clever, funny story.

Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire (E Lily Yu) revisits a familiar story that never goes out of style and might have a rather obvious reference ("Once there was a vain and foolish emperor, who made up for his foolishness by a kind of low cunning...") However, nothing here is too obvious and the three versions of the story that interweave make this retelling a rather subtle thing. Who is the greater villain - emperor, or tailor?

Blood and Bells (Karin Lowachee), set in an unspecified city given over the gang conflict between "The Nine Nations" is a variant on Romeo and Juliet, a kind of ultra-tuned West Side Story featuring mixed loyalties, death, and loss. Tzak's mother died as he was born; now his father Taiyo tries to keep him safe from opposing factions and to ward off attempts by his mother's people to take him back. This is a convincing portrayal of a young man shouldering immense burdens in an impossible world, a claustrophobic world that seems set on destroying everything he holds dear. It has a real sense of menace, of tension.

How to describe Give Me Your Black Wings Oh Sister (Silvia Moreno-Garcia)? Frankly, I can't. It just is itself, or something: anything you say just misses the point. What it is, is a gem of a story asking the question (I think) "what is a monster?"

The Shadow We Cast Through Time (Indrapramit Das) is, at first sight, a very classic science fiction story about settling other worlds, about the interaction with what was there before. But it turns into more of a reflection on how we alter everything we interact with; there's a sense that the "demons" described on the New World that Das takes us to are more a product of the colonists than a "pristine" feature of an "empty" world. We can't get away form ourselves, we take ourselves wherever we go, and thus there is almost a kind of ecology between the strange "clay spires" described here and the humans. A haunting, entrancing story, part SF, part, in the end, horror.

Dumb House (Andrea Hairston) felt like an exploration for what could become a longer study of a an economically post-apocalyptic society - something like The Space Merchants - where consumption is mandated and hold-out communities - as that of Cinnamon Jones, tucked away in the remote countryside - persecuted. Here we meet two sinister-comic "salesmen" who may in reality be spies but who do seem to find a way to get under Jones' skin... also featuring a ghost-dog and a witch-dog, traditional culture is here enlisted on the side of the resistance. I'd happily read a longer, more detailed account of this struggle.

One Easy Trick (Hiromi Goto) is a clever, circular story focussing on another aspect of oppression, body size and body image. Marine is hunted online by adverts trying to tell her of "Ways to Lose Your Belly Fat!". But she doesn't want to. or Does she? Getting right into that area of ambivalence where a sense of self can be lost, where one can lose track of whether one is reacting to societal pressures or really doing what one wants, which is speculative fiction at its best, externalising a metaphor in a most astonishing way which nevertheless convinces. Another of my favourites.

Harvest (Rebecca Roanhorse). A strange harvest, in this story, seems intended to settle historical injustices - but to unsettle the reader, eventually creating an atmosphere where it's hard to know what to trust, what is real and what isn't, whose wrongs are being revenged. Never, as the story, says, fall in love with a  deer woman...

Kelsey and the Burdened Death (Darcie Little Badger) is a clever little story that could be an episode in an urban fantasy series. In an alternate world where the final breaths not only of humans but of animals are prone to linger and can cause trouble, Kelsey's business is to usher them over to - wherever they belong. Confronted with a particularly trouble "burdened" breath she shows considerable courage and resource in dealing with it and I could see a series of such adventures - except that this story is as much about her reconciliation with her past, something she can only approach by risking the loose of what is most dear to her. A genuinely sad, touching story, one of may favourites, which definitely ended the collection on a high.

It's a strong collection. Short stories are tricky things to write, often coming over as extended treatments of a single point or, having little space to develop characters, having to rely on stock figures. There's little of either fault here with most of these protagonists believable in their circumstances, even where these are horrifying of mystifying circumstances. There's a lot to think about and a lot which is seen from a very distinct point of view. I'd strongly recommend both for all these virtues and also as a gateway into these authors' wider bodies of work.
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New Suns is a collection of speculative fiction by writers from around the world. The cultural diversity represented within this collection provides a wonderful insight into the influences of those cultures on fantasy and science fiction writing.

The variety of cultural backgrounds provides great breadth of inspiration for someone wanting to write speculative fiction by helping them to consider how they might approach a story which extends beyond everyday life into something more fantastical. This is often done in a way which makes it seem that the real world a reader might experience is never far away.

They also demonstrate that despite an apparent severance from all we might know there is something of human nature still lurking beneath the story’s exotic skin and that important, real-life issues can be discussed through an imaginative narrative.

New Suns encompasses sensuality, humour, horror, sadness and the whole panoply of emotions, as well as making the reader think more deeply about who they are and where they might fit into the scheme of things.

Certainly an excellently curated collection to re-read and ponder long over.
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Arc received from Netgalley for an honest review. 
I love discovering new worlds, or seeing our current world in a new way, which is why I love fantasy and sci-fi stories. You add a different culture's POV, and that adds a different layer than what you will normally get from less inclusive POV's. It adds more magic, more things to discover, in an already created world while giving you something that can be related to the real world. This collection of seventeen stories hit so many sweet spots for me. Burn the Ships and The Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex are perhaps my favorites. When you have a collection of stories, maybe not every story will be your cup of tea. I didn't love every story, but they were all so well written I didn't feel disappointed if I didn't fall in love with it. I came away with either a new perspective, or with an inspiration for my own writings. 
This book is coming out tomorrow! Make sure you get it!
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We all know that short story anthologies can be a somewhat hit and miss affair, so I tend to go into them with much trepidation as well as anticipation. That said, it is one of the best ways to discover new authors and genres you may have been missing out on. Fortunately, this turned out to be one of the best and most enjoyable collections I've read in many moons, and I feel strongly that diversity is definitely a key player in that. The seventeen stories presented are from a wide range of genres and indeed some encompass more than one specific genre. Needless to say, they are all original and intriguing. We need more people of colour in all genres of literature.

Each of the tales is well written, introduces us to new concepts and ideas, and promotes both established and fledgeling writers. From experience, Rebellion tend to be one of the most reliable for producing thoroughly enjoyable compendiums; this book is no exception. There is definite merit in arguing that we should not segregate authors by colour and include short stories only if they fit what the editor is looking for; that way we should see representation from all races. It just makes me sad that it seemingly has to be this way. Overall though, an enjoyable read. Speculative fiction fans will lap this up without a problem.

Many thanks to Rebellion Publishing/Solaris Books for an ARC.
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Note: I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review.

Because of my love for SFF literature, I keep up with a few blogs, twitter accounts, newsletters and sites. I would have to have lived under a rock not to have been aware of the fight of women and POC (and women POC) writers to be read. I have to admit, I struggle with this a lot. Not to give them their time, but with the problem of how to select the works I read. On the one hand, I don’t want to think about what and who I read. About who the writer is, where they are from, what their background is and how this is covered in the subject matter. I just want to read. On the other hand, I am aware that what I am reading, what I am noticing, what is or was winning awards went through a biased pre-selection, and that means I am missing out on good stuff. While I find it hard to comit to a reading strategy prefering women, POC, LGTBQ or non-English writers (I just want to read what I want to read) I do aim to be aware of “the other” writers, to broaden my (white, western but feminine) viewpoint.

Anyway, long story short, I do like to read works, especially science fiction, from different viewpoints, and an anthology like New Suns; Original Speculative Fiction by Poeple of Color, edited by Nisi Shawl, makes finding them no issue at all. In this anthology 17 original new stories are collected, alle written by people of color.

Overall it was refreshing to read stories that were based in different settings. Even when reading speculative fiction, settings can be very white/Western-based (or seem that way, through my own white Western glasses). However, several stories in this anthology have a distinctly different starting point, and it took me a while to get comfortable. Which is exactly the reason anthologies like this should exist, so it succeeded there. The stories are truely speculative, ranging from future/near-future SF like “The Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex” by Tobias Buckell (which also shows NYC as a sort of third world tourist destination for Aliens that are clearly more well-off than anybody on earth) and “Dumb House” by Andrea Hairston (about resisting smart technology in your life, something we should already be considering IMHO). Some are more fantasy/gotic like, like “Kelsey and the Burdened Breath” by Darcie Little Badger (about spirits) and “The Freedom of the Shifting Sea” by Jaymee Goh (about a seacreature and her loves). Some are more re-imagined history and fairy tales, such as “Burn the Ships” by Alberto Yáñez (about the arrival/presence of non-natives (called Dawncomers) to the lands of the natives of middle-America) and “Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire by E. Lily Yu (a great retelling of the emperor’s new clothes, and one that hits close to home too).

My favorite story was “The Freedom of the Shifting Sea” by Jaymee Goh, because the way she has imagined a seacreature (or is it traditional Malaysian? To my shame I don’t know) that is truely different from us. It is not a human with a tail, it is inhuman in every way. Very refreshing and interesting to read.

All in all this collection is a very well balanced collection, that introduced me to a lot of new (to me) POC writers, and I highly recommend it to all lovers of spec-fic out there! Four stars.
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This collection contains one of the coolest stories I have ever read. Find out which one by reading my full review  over at Skiffy and Fanty.
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I generally find anthologies tricky depending, as they do, on an editor’s goal for inclusion which may not match what I am hoping for. I also have an up and down affair with short stories as they take real skill to develop a world and characters in virtually no time at all- like magic!

I choose to read New Suns with the hope that I would walk away with a few new names of authors to keep in mind. Finding a new author is such a joy and I found several! My guess is that other readers may enjoy different writers than the ones I did, which is, to my thinking, the perfect raisin d’etre for an anthology. 

Magic, in the form of well written short stories, will be found in New Suns. Read and find your new authors to follow!
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Honestly, this is a 2.5 as some of the shorts were good...nothing epic, but good. 

I'm a bit disappointed because I really was expecting to read stories that would blow me away. As I said in my update, it was hard to resonate with a majority of the shorts told and then some of them just didn't make sense at all. Isn't the point of speculative fiction is to expand people's imaginations? Have them question the story but in a good way? I was so very confused and it didn't help that many of the shorts ended with no real finish. 

Out of seventeen stories, honestly I can say I enjoyed three. I'll definitely look some of the authors mentioned in the book up and check out their individual works. 

**Thank to the Publisher/Netgalley for the opportunity to review.
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