Cover Image: NEW SUNS

NEW SUNS

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Member Reviews

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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An anthology of short stories, which, like any anthology, has its highs and lows. Some of my favorite stories:

Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex by Tobias S. Buckell. In a New York City that has become a backwater tourist-trap for aliens, a taxi driver accidentally ends up with a dead alien in his cab and has to deal with the intergalactic consequences. There's a sharp sense of humor here (like aliens asking to go somewhere that has "real human food", not that commercialized stuff) that really worked for me.
The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations by Minsoo Kang was a wonderfully lovely take on the role of minor players in grand historical events, how history gets told, and what happens in the gaps historians can never recover.
Come Home to Atropos by Steven Barnes was my absolute favorite story out of the whole book. It's very short, only two or three pages, and consists of the script for a commercial advertising a very unique Caribbean vacation. This is some dark, dark satire, but it had me laughing out loud. 
The Fine Print by Chinelo Onwualu combines djinn ("be careful what you wish for...") and the current capitalist, commercial world in extremely clever ways, though I felt like the ending got off a little too easy.
The Freedom of the Shifting Sea by Jaymee Goh was about a gory, inhuman mermaid, and of course I loved it; I am always here for mermaids as predators of the sea. 
Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire by E. Lily Yu consists of three separate retellings of "The Emperor's New Clothes". I think Yu could easily have made her point with just the first retelling, but goddamn, some of the lines in that last sequence have really stuck with me. Such powerful language and imagery.
The Robots of Eden by Anil Menon is a chilling look at a future where emotions are repressed for the sake of stability. The glimpses of anger, sadness, and jealousy trying to break through the protagonist's veneer are just so devastating. 

There wasn't any story that I actively disliked, though I suppose Deer Dancer by Kathleen Alcalá came the closest. I didn't hate it, it just didn't work for me; I didn't quite understand anything that was happening, or what it meant, or why. Which I suppose is why it's sometimes hard to commit to reading authors out of your wheelhouse, but in the case of New Suns overall, I'm very glad I did. 

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2741131987
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This speculative fiction anthology focuses on many different authors of color, both new and well-known. The stories in this anthology range from sci-fi to fantasy to creepy horror stories, but all are versions of our world, subtly turned on its edges. I really enjoyed reading this anthology and loved the overall idea and concept. There were a few stories that completely wowed me, some that were just plain strange, and a couple that I couldn’t really get into, but overall this was definitely a four-star read for me. I enjoyed almost all of the stories that I read and they were all very unique. 

A few of my favorite reads in this anthology were:

‘Harvest’- Rebecca Roanhorse- A story about a native woman in a relationship with a deer woman who requires hearts from her lover in order to exact revenge. It shouldn’t have surprised me that I loved this story, Roanhorse’s Trail of Lightning was one of my favorite reads of 2018, but the language that she uses and the gut-punch of reality fused with fantasy in her writing always hits hard. 

‘Kelsey and the Burdened Breath’- Darcie Little Badger- This story takes place in a world where “breaths” (essentially spirits) sometimes stay behind after a person or animal dies and need to be ushered off of Earth before becoming an issue to the living. I loved this concept and the main character and her dog (who was a ‘breath’) were the cutest damned team ever!

‘Give Me Your Black Wings, Oh Sister’- Silvia Moreno-Garcia- This story is short and sweet, but oh so creepy. I don’t want to give anything away because that would take away from the creep factor, but Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s writing is gothic and gorgeous, and I can’t get enough of it!

This collection was a great look at some of the speculative fiction that writers of different races are coming out with and a wonderful collection to promote. This, coupled with reading Jemisin’s How Long ‘Til Black Future Month, really had me devouring some wonderful anthologies last month! I can’t end this review without mentioning that the cover for New Suns is absolutely gorgeous! I know this is something I would pick up in the bookstore off of cover alone.
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I'm always excited for new work by POC authors, especially in spec fic, and this anthology was a solid addition to the genre, if not the most groundbreaking. It reminded me a bit of the Asian/Asian diasporic-led spec fic anthology A Thousand Beginnings and Endings (edited by Ellen Oh), in that there were some clear standout stories, some weaker pieces, and not as much cohesion between stories as I would have liked. My favorites included Indrapramit Das' "The Shadow We Cast Through Time," Rebecca Roanhorse's "Harvest," (maybe unsurprising, since I'm already a fan of both of their writing styles) and Silvia Moreno-Garcia's "Give Me Your Black Wings Oh Sister." Definitely a book to check out, especially for readers who enjoy a wide range of spec fic.
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This book was so very different but also amazing! I really enjoyed the stories and juxtaposition in each. They each had their own different feel.
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This anthology is a collective grab bag of different types of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror stories. I expected this to be more sci-fi than it actually was and that could be part of the problem, but I think more so it was just the execution of most of the stories. I wanted a collection of strong and well written short stories, however, only a few of them met that mark. I was hoping to get some of the Afro-futurism vibes that came from Black Panther, but that isn't what this anthology is offering as a whole. The stories cover a range of topics from intergalactic tourism, human desires, deep space mythology, and even indigenous mythology and lifestyle. The standouts for me were, The Fine Print by Chinelo Onwualu and Harvest by Rebecca Roanhorse. I have read another novel by Roanhorse before and that could be part of my appreciation for the short story, but I am also familiar with the story of Deer Woman. There's a really great one hour Masters of Horror movie about Deer Woman if anyone is interested. All in all a disappointing collection for me, but I have no doubt that there is something in this collection that everyone can appreciate.
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This anthology served as my introduction to speculative fiction and I am so glad that I requested this digital arc. It's an interesting mix that took me two full months to read but it was worth it. 

My favourites were: 
Give Me Your Black Wings Oh Sister by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  5/5. Short and weird. Witches and warlocks and flying creatures that eat children. 

The Shadow We Cast Through Time by Indrapramit Das. 
  4/5. Alien world, human invasion and colonisation of the space and the results. 

The Robots of Eden by Anil Menon  5/5. 
India future, Black Mirror like. Implants that control or disable negative emotional responses. An man forms a bond with his ex-wife's new husband.
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actual rating: 2.5

I hate to give this such a low rating, but I apparently was just not in the mood to focus on an anthology because I found this to be kind of difficult to get through. There were a few stories in here that I definitely enjoyed, but there were also several that I didn't even finish. Of course in any anthology there is going to be a difference in quality between stories, but I found my attention wandering more than usual here. It might have been more that I was in the wrong mood than anything else so don't let my review deter you from trying it if you generally really like anthologies.
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Received via Netgalley for review

Unfortunately, while I was looking forward to reading this, I didn't end up liking it that much. It seemed very long (17 stories, which doesn't seem like much when I see the number, but really dragged on when I was reading them) and the stories themselves seemed to drag on. 

Normally, in a short story collection, I expect there to be a fair amount of variation in the quality of the stories and some that I like better than others, but none of the stories in this collection really grabbed me. They all seemed to focus on similar themes (treatment of women, sexuality, romantic/familial/etc. connections, violence) and it got a little boring to read after a while. I JUST finished reading it, and while there are a few stories I remember without prompting, I know I won't remember them in the future.

• Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex by Tobias S. Buckell 2/5
Good enough for what it's trying to do and a good opener.

• Deer Dancer by Kathleen Alcalá 2/5
The premise left me intrigued, but there were just too many unanswered questions and I ended up lost.

• The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations by Minsoo Kang 3/5
Very much in an academic style, which works for some people and doesn't for others. I liked the gentle admonishment at the end, scolding the author for not really doing their due diligence. It did feel a little long, however.

• Come Home to Atropos by Steven Barnes 4/5
One of the few I liked! A darkly humorous ad about a beautiful Caribbean island full that has become the premier destination for the euthanasia of wealthy white people, in which the natives are only too happy to oblige.

• The Fine Print by Chinelo Onwualu 1/5
I barely even remember this one. The love of the father for his son was nice.

• unkind of mercy by Alex Jennings 2/5
A kind of confusing kind of ghost story.

• Burn the Ships by Alberto Yáñez 4/5
Another good one: the colonized and oppressed natives of a land finally rises up against their colonizers (who have literally burned their own ships so they cannot leave!) with hints of a dark god who demands their lives.
 
• The Freedom of the Shifting Sea by Jaymee Goh 2/5
I'm not sure how I feel about this one... I like the idea of an atypical mermaid, but the interplay beneath her relationship with all the members of the family was very strange to me.
 
• Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire by E. Lily Yu 3/5
Some retellings of The Emperor's New Clothes, with a nice twist at the end.

• Blood and Bells by Karin Lowachee 2/5
A kind of star-crossed romance gangster story in some kind of violent future city, narrated in slang. Another example of a father's love for their child.

• Give Me Your Black Wings Oh Sister by Silvia Moreno-Garcia 3/5
Just long enough to tease you with the dark possibilities.

• The Shadow We Cast Through Time by Indrapramit Das 3/5
Another one that seemed a little too long, about a settled planet that is populated by demons who take human bodies sometimes. Surprisingly little happens.

• The Robots of Eden by Anil Menon 3/5
A "slice of life" story of a man finalizing a divorce while maintaining a friendship with his ex-wife's new husband, in a world where the privileged are "Enchanced" against certain negative emotions (...I think). The hints of strong emotions (rage, sorrow) trying to bubble up in the main character were well done, as was the difficulty of their daughter's adjustment.

• Dumb House by Andrea Hairston 1/5
This seemed like an excerpt from a larger story - there were pre-established settings and characters and attitudes that were never fully accessible to me. And nothing much happens.

• One Easy Trick by Hiromi Goto 2/5
Not terrible, but not for me. A woman loses her belly fat in the woods, and is lectured by a bear about how she doesn't deserve it back. 

• Harvest by Rebecca Roanhorse 2/5
I wanted to like this one...! It's incredibly dark and melancholy, but maybe it was just too short to properly draw me in.

• Kelsey and the Burdened Breath by Darcie Little Badger
I have to admit, I was so ready to be done with this collection I didn't even read this one...

It's really a 2 star average, but just barely, so I don't feel bad rounding down to 1.
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I got an ARC of this book.

I got this book because an author friend of mine kept saying speculative fiction and recommending short stories that she said were speculative fiction. I had no idea what it was and why she would be so excited by it. So I did my research. This book came up as an option for an ARC and I had to have it. 

I loved this book. I have never really loved an anthology before. Most anthologies are so all over the place that I can't ever settle into them. They range from stories that bore to me tears and stories I love, but this one squarely sat in the camp of love outside of one story. A single story in this whole anthology didn't capture me within the first paragraph. That is amazing for an anthology.

Some of my favorite stories were just so perfectly done. The story about the alien that dies during a cab ride? YES. The story about the least breaths? OMG. There are so many stories in here that really just grabbed at me and won't let go. I am thinking about so many things and can't organize my thoughts for a better review. I just really recommend this book. It has so many plots, so many deep thoughts, so many languages. It really is like getting new worlds with every story. 

I am not big on sci-fi or fantasy, never have been. These stories, while having elements of them, are perfect for me. There is just something here that I responded to in a way I never have before. I may have found a new favorite genre. 

Just read this book. My review could never do it justice. There are so many voices in this book and this review is just mine.
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I very much enjoyed this anthology of speculative fiction. There were a few that went over my head and that I didn't understand, but there were a few I really enjoyed. There were funny ones and fantastic ones. I think my favourites were Dumb House, The Robots of Heaven, and The Freedom of Shifting Sands.

The collection felt very subtle but strongly feministic which I enjoyed. Also, I loved that there were so many stories that were LGBT+. it was great.

In relation to speculative fiction and my worries about what that mean int he beginning. This was a selection of paranormal, sci-fi (light and heavy), and light fantasy. I very much enjoyed the fantastical element to most of the stories.

I highly recommend this to people who enjoy anthologies, speculative fiction, sci-fi, and fantasy. 

My opinion on the individual stories:

The Galactic Tourist Industry Complex by Tobias S Buckell
Very interesting imagination! I liked the character and the world. It's clear that danger draws people and aliens in especially if it's mundane. The was a lot of information packed into this short story which made the world feel more real. Note taken

Deer Dancer by Kathleen Alcalá
Again I liked the world and the character and her "magic" but I felt it ended before it began. I'm not sure what the story is. Her finding a future? Wasn't there a bear coming for them, a talking bear? Yes, she dreamt of being a deer and she felt like one after the dream. So maybe yes the bears would come and take them all and her feeling of a future was her brain in denial? I don't get it.

The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations by Minsoo Kang
Well, that was something. Its a longer short story based on a fictional reveal of a historical account in a fictional world. But the world was colourful especially in terms of the names for people and things. Then the marginal notes at the end made me think about the entire story in a different way. Very interesting.

Come Home to Atropos by Steven Barnes
It starts off so sweet and light, then ends in the darkness of black humour. I did find the darkness of the topic funny. I won't spoil it for anyone, but I enjoyed it.

The Fine Print by Chinelo Onwualu
I was annoyed at the beginning of this story. Women had no importance and no value in this world. There were hardly any women in this story and the ones who were there to serve and please. Then the djinn spoke the truth in the end and I saw what the author was doing. Well played!

unkind of mercy by Alex Jennings
I'm not sure I got this. Firstly I struggled with the language. English isn't my first language. I'm fluent but that doesn't mean I don't struggle with English that isn't straight. It was a conversation-type language with some slang.

Burn The Ships by Alberto Yáñez
That almost felt real. It felt like the Aztec' point of view during the European invasion of central and South America but with magic, voodoo magic and zombies. Loved it. Women again saves the day 

The Freedom of the Shifting Sea by Jaymee Goh
Interesting little LGBT+ story with alternative mermaids and feminism. This is one of few that still resides in my mind. It was very memorable.

Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire by E Lily Yu
A cool retelling of the Emperors New Clothes. Very political but I liked them.

Blood and Bells by Karin Lowachee
This felt like an alternate gang story but I love the little details like the chimes in their hairs which made it so very different.

Give Me Your Black Wings Oh Sister by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
I didn't fully get this one but it does involve baby eaters... 

The Shadow We Cast Through Time by Indrapramit Das
I think this went over my head but I liked the bit where two females gave sex and one became pregnant.

The Robots Of Heaven by Anil Menon
This starts off fairly normal but with a feeling, things are a bit off. Then it slowly reviles their true nature and it's weird but wonderful. I loved the style of writing and how the mystery unfolds like a bud in springtime.

Dumb House by Andrea Hairston
I really enjoyed it! The world was interesting and well built up. I liked the characters too; not young, not white, not straight, not your everyday kind of woman.

One Easy Trick by Hiromi Goto
Interesting way to lose your belly fat.  very funny. I enjoyed this read.

Harvest by Rebecca Roanhorse
I love Rebecca Roanhorse's writing and this story was no exception. It's thick with native American lore weaves into a modern-day storyline.

Kelsey and The Burdened Breath by Darcie Little Badger
A new twist to "open the window to let the spirit out" and what happens if you don't. I enjoyed this very much.
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New Suns is definitely an interesting collection of short stories, spanning from science fiction to horror and fantasy. Carefully selected stories create a variety large enough for all readers to find something that interests them. Although there were some very interesting stories, there were also some I struggled with and weren't engaging for me at all. All in all, it was an interesting read.
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I wanted to love this one but most of the stories barely grabbed my attention. There was a good mix of diverse writers but I never quite felt a connection to any of the stories. I wasnt able to force myself to continue along with this anthology when most of the stories felt unfinished.
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Maybe I just don’t like short stories? I’m not really sure. I LOVED the first two and then the fourth stories, but after that, I just couldn’t keep everything straight. Everything seemed well-written, but not a lot could hold my interest.
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This anthology has a slightly punk feel to it. Some of the stories (I assume) drew from the different cultural backgrounds of the authors, it felt very much like reading folktales. Some of the stories felt too long to belong in an anthology and some felt unfinished but that’s the case when stories.

Some of my favourites were:

The Freedom of the Shifting Sea by Jaymee Goh: a story about a young Muslim woman who meets a half-woman half-centipede/worm creature and strikes up a relationship with her. This story was weird in a way that was impossible for me to stop reading it.

Give Me Your Black Wings Oh Sister by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: I’m not sure how to describe this story but it felt ethereal and scary at the same time.

Dumb House by Andrea Hairston: technology has advanced in unimaginable ways so of course it’s not all advantageous. Two salesmen try to sell Cinnamon a smart house but she’s not having it no matter how much they insist.

One Easy Trick by Hiromi Goto: a woman loses her belly fat while hiking in the woods. Yes, you read that right.

Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire by E. Lily Yu: a different look into the Emperor’s New Clothes with a close look at the tailor and how he convinced the emperor he was clothed while looking at how he has tailored his own life.As a reader I’m excited to see a change in the sci-fi and fantasy stories when it comes to racial diversity.  Authors of colour have remarkable stories outside of the lines that publishing tells them to stick to that deserve to be heard
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ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for a review. All of my opinions are my own, and are in no way affected by the exchange. 

2.6☆ average

• Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex by Tobias S. Buckell 2☆
• Deer Dancer by Kathleen Alcalá 1☆
• The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations by Minsoo Kang 2☆
• Come Home to Atropos by Steven Barnes 2.5☆
• The Fine Print by Chinelo Onwualu 4☆
• unkind of mercy by Alex Jennings 2☆
• Burn the Ships by Alberto Yáñez 3☆ 
• The Freedom of the Shifting Sea by Jaymee Goh 2☆ 
• Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire by E. Lily Yu 3☆ 
• Blood and Bells by Karin Lowachee 4☆
• Give Me Your Black Wings Oh Sister by Silvia Moreno-Garcia 3☆
• The Shadow We Cast Through Time by Indrapramit Das 4☆
• The Robots of Eden by Anil Menon 2☆
• Dumb House by Andrea Hairston 2☆
• One Easy Trick by Hiromi Goto 1☆
• Harvest by Rebecca Roanhorse 5☆
• Kelsey and the Burdened Breath by Darcie Little Badger 2☆
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I was looking forward to reading this anthology as its not something I would usually pick up myself. While it started out promising, I found that as I progressed, the stories became less engaging. While there are some stories that are good, for me, I found them to be a bit hit or miss. It is definitely a diverse collection, and while the writing is fine, the stories weren't stellar.
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Some of the stories are pure class and some only little gems either way it’s a book that is well worth reading
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New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color showcases emerging and seasoned writers of many races telling stories filled with shocking delights, powerful visions of the familiar made strange. Between this book’s covers burn tales of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and their indefinable overlappings.

These are authors aware of our many possible pasts and futures, authors freed of stereotypes and clichés, ready to dazzle you with their daring genius.- Goodreads

I am trying to expand my reading tastes; especially when it comes to Black or other authors of colors. It is so easy to pick up more white authors especially if they are the ones being promoted more.

So when I came across this book I was extremely excited for it despite my dislike for short stories. With that being said, I wasn't exactly disappointed in this book; there was a lot of good but then a lot of so so.

Dear Dancer written by Kathleen Alcala was the first short story that showed promise. The author was able to get me interested in the who and what the main character Tater was. There was a backstory that called for more and then ending left a 'well why' sitting at the tip of my tongue. This could be extended into a longer story or at least a novella leading to a full novel.

The Fine Print by Chinelo Onwualu is great as it is. I don't enjoy reading stories about Djinn as a Muslim they creep me out. This story was no different but beyond that it packed a punch. It was creative and there was a twist that was well thought out. *insert shocked gif* This was good.

Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex by Tobias S. Buckell gave me Fifth Element vibes. Was it as good as the movie, no but it was a solid read that deserves attention not only in the story but in the author.

The remaining stories weren't bad but they were not my cup of it. They didn't draw me in nor did they provide the wow factor.

This collection is worth reading because it brings attention to new authors that given a longer word count may be worth investing time into.

Overall, since there were more eh stories than good ones

2 Pickles
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