Cover Image: NEW SUNS

NEW SUNS

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Member Reviews

FOP: Fear of Pages. It's real. I swear! My time is precious, and I find it necessary to vet every one of my reads very carefully. The best cure? An anthology like New Suns. This book gives you new genres and POC authors in bite-sized portions. The commitment level is low, but the rewards are many.

I'm going to honest and say that I wasn't enthralled by every story in this anthology, but that's ok because twenty pages later is a new trip. Seventeen stories that range from the comical to the scary to the deep philosophical dives.

Here are a couple that got me: 

Rebecca Roanhorse's Harvest: I just like anything she writes and am really looking forward to the next installment of her series. This story is bloody and quick, and full of a couple serious threads.

Andrea Hairston's Dumb House: Two very forward salesmen show up to try to upgrade a woman's house. Great dialogue and a strangely realistic setting make for fun scene.

Tobias Buckell's The Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex: A cab driver is just trying to make it in a New York that is now infested with alien tourists. After a fare throws itself out of the car from 2,000 feet, Tavi is pulled into an intergalactic incident. 

There are some excellent SFF novellas being released these days, along with impressive anthologies like this one. Try something new!

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Releases on March 12th.

Thank you to NetGalley, Rebellion Publishing, and all the authors for the advanced copy for review.
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Shawl has pulled together a star-studded (rising and established) group of authors for a fabulous collection of speculative fiction drawing on the experiences of people of color. It spans fantasy, science fiction, and horror--and everything in between--drawing on the experiences and mythology of it’s authors--Indian, African American, Asian, and Indigenous Peoples. Standouts include pieces by Rebecca Roanhorse, Steven Barnes, Jaymee Goh, and Tobias Bucknell--just to name a few--along with a fabulously political introduction by LeVar Burton. Everyone should give this a try.
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This is an absolutely fantastic collection of short stories set in non-Eurocentric/white American worlds. I loved it and am recommending it to everyone i know who enjoys speculative fiction. The stories and settings include  Asian-inspired cultures in which translators collude to save vast populations; a stunning South America under a Nazi-like rule by the Spanish; numerous tales in which colonizers get their just desserts (including a euthanasia-vacation tropical island); and erotic encounters that question traditional roles and cultural norms. I want to read more stories set in all of the realms introduced here. And LeVar Burton's foreword is a gem, a beautiful piece of writing about the long-needed support of non-white writers in the genre.
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This anthology contains 17 original speculative fiction stories by authors of color. This isn't a light read; many of the stories verge on horror and they often handle difficult topics, such as colonialism. The stories tend to be rooted in a particular historical and cultural context. For instance, "Burn the Ships" by Alberto Yáñez appears to be an alt-history (with sci-fi and fantasy elements) about the Aztecs under colonial rule. "The Freedom of the Shifting Sea" by Jaymee Goh features a Malaysian Muslim protagonist. 

As with most anthologies, this was a mixed bag in terms of what appealed to my taste. My favorite story was "The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations" by Minsoo Kang. It was a lovely story about two translators from opposite sides of a conflict systematically mistranslating documents in order to avert what would have been a devastating war.

Other stories I particularly enjoyed were:

"Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex" by Tobias S. Buckell, in which rich, drunk alien tourists frequent Earth to get their fill of our primitive, quaint, dangerous lifestyle.
"Come Home to Atropos" by Steven Barnes, which is a satirical advertisement script about euthanasia tourism. (I swear, it is better than I make it sound.)
"The Shadow We Cast Through Time" by Indrapramit Das, which is an atmospheric tale about a human colony on an alien planet, and their relationship with death.
"The Robots of Eden" by Anil Menon, which examines the consequences of eliminating negative emotions.
Content warning: "The Freedom of the Shifting Sea" by Jaymee Goh had several graphic sex scenes in it. Just in case it needed to be said, this isn't really age-appropriate for teens.
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I'm an anthology fan, and rating them is highly subjective and challenging because they're so uneven. This one was no exception. A good mix of adult horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and their combos. This is a little like reading stories by authors of other cultures; at least for me I find the varying perspectives interesting. I appreciate the advanced copy!
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I'm thinking really hard about what I want to say in this review because I do want to be supportive about spec fic by POC but I also want to be real. And honestly, either my expectations were too high (most likely) or I don't know what I want (I never know what I want), because I finished the book with a slight sense of discontent.

I guess as anthologies go, this is a proper mixed bag. There were 5 that I really liked and 4 that I liked but had some reservations about? So that’s already 9/17, which is more than half. There were only three that I found very confusing or weird, which I guess just goes to say that it was a nice, interesting read, but nothing especially spectacular, no matter how much I was hoping to be blown away. I guess I really did expect too much. (You can see that inconsistency here, don’t you?)

STUFF I REALLY LIKED, in no particular order.
The Fine Print - Chinelo Onwualu 
Djinn! Always here for the djinn. This has a kind of Aladdin feel, but also a very lawyer-y thing going on. I’m looking for a term to describe it but can’t think. Like the smart, fast-talking guy trying to get out of a contract. Oh. I know what I was thinking of. I was thinking of that scene in the American Gods TV series with the djinn. (I can’t recall the book well enough now to remember if that was in it too? I know the TV series did add some scenes.)

Burn the Ships - Alberto Yanez 
THIS IS THE CONTENT I'M LOOKING FOR. Lush, rich worldbuilding, magic oozing out of every pore. There’s this intricate weaving of faith versus lore, a juxtaposition of male priesthood and women's magic; both doing what they believe to be right, letting the other go in love. Beauty and death. Anger and life. 

Dumb House - Andrea Hairston 
I don’t really know how to explain why I like this one. Most of it is just the Cinnamon trying to chase off these two annoying salesmen who are trying to make her upgrade her dumb house into a smart one. Nothing really happens at the end. But it was amusing. I suppose I liked the humour. 

Blood and Bells - Karin Lowachee 
Though the first prologue (?) threw me, the story unfolded in beautiful ways. An utterly charming story (it has an adorable kid) that ended in an unexpected way. 

Kelsey and the Burdened Breath - Darcie Little Badger 
I love the concept in this. It’s kind of bittersweet plus nostalgic with a side of ghostbuster detecting. I don’t think I’m explaining myself very well. 


STUFF I KINDA LIKE BUT I DUNNO?
The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations - Minsoo Kang 
I liked this, like a little Chinese historical story, but it was a little too wordy and repetitive at places. I think there was this bit which felt like they backtracked and retold part of the story and then there was this addendum about omitting the female point of view which just felt a bit awkward. Stylistically on point, but could have done with a little editing down. 

The Freedom of the Shifting Sea - Jaymee Goh 
Storywise, I liked it, but it was a little gross, honestly. It would honestly be in my “really liked” section if it didn’t have the weird (mandible?) sex. 

Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire - E. Lily Yu 
A straightforward retelling of The Emperor's New Clothes. I see no lie here. Last variation sounded just a little bit too forced, but tone is a very easily misinterpreted thing, so it could just be my own biases.

The Shadow We Cast Through Time - Indrapramit Das 
As much as I liked this, it was a little hard to follow. There’s a nice mythic storytelling feel to it, but it also came across like too much story in too few words. I had this overall feeling that I was missing something that maybe wasn’t being explained well enough? Or maybe like a myth that was just a bit too obscure and I’m too far distant to understand it. 

I wasn’t going to mention the others I didn’t like, but I guess I’ll give One Easy Trick - Hiromi Goto a quick mention. I did like this in the beginning, but it got weirder and weirder until I was like.. uh, wth? So really, I’m quite ambivalent. I don’t know what to think.
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1.5 stars rounded up to 2

I felt great anticipation in reading New Suns; Original Speculative Fiction by POC, bring it on! We definitely need more of that! However, this anthology of short stories was disappointing and somewhat puzzling. I couldn't fathom how the editor had picked some of the writers included which was supposed to showcase POC Science Fiction and Fantasy. In reading the foreword and then background of some of the 'writers', it becomes clear. Nisi Shawl is a board member of a writing workshop called Clarion West. Almost all the included 'authors' are graduates of this writing workshop. So to champion this book as a representation of diverse writing, Nisi Shawl confesses she did not put out an open casting nomination procedure, instead she just contacted these people of this writing workshop that she knew. Some of them are not even writers by profession, they are history professors, nurses, actors, scientists etc. And I am sorry to say that this is reflected in the quality of the writing. 

The stories, by and large, are not captivating. Craft of writing has not been honed. 'The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations' by Minsoo Kang was extremely dry and took an inordinately long time to make a point about biased translations. Even the entry from arguably the most prize-recognized SFF writer of the group E. Lily Yu was quite uninspiring - 'Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire' - which was a re-telling of The Emperor with No Clothes. In my view, she didn't really add anything new to the story except insert some obvious political commentary and a repetition of three variations. It is such a difference from her award-winning excellent short story 'The Cartographer Wasps and Anarchist Bees' which I had read in another fantasy anthology (more on this later). I know of Jaymee Goh as editor/author of The Sea Is Ours: Tales from Steampunk Southeast Asia - her story 'The Freedom of the Shifting Sea' was probably the more interesting one of the group but not enough to rescue this anthology. 

I could go on to elucidate why this anthology was a disappointment but want to end this review on a positive note. As Nisi Shawl indicates, there are now many talented recognized non-white SFF writers. For those interested, one of the best fantasy anthologies I've read is The New Voices of Fantasy edited by Peter S. Beagle which is how I got exposed to E. Lily Yu's writing. Although it didn't expressedly set out to show-case POC writers, the short stories have all won some prestigious fantasy awards and contributors included Amal El-Mohtar, Carmen Maria Machado, Usman T. Malik, Alyssa Wong, Hannu Rajaniemi and JY Yang. The quality of writing is exceptional. Other anthologies I would recommend along the same lines are Not So Stories edited by David Thomas Moore and A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman. To put it bluntly, yes, we need more diverse stories but we need more excellent diverse stories rather than including them because they attended your writing workshop.

Thanks to Solaris and Netgalley for providing an ARC copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review.
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I was thrilled to read a free eARC of New Suns. Speculative fiction is one of my favourite things, the cover looks great, and the mix of authors promised an eclectic mix of fantasy, horror, hard sci-fi and magical realism. 
Unfortunately many of the stories felt unfinished and the desire to tell a clever story often came at the cost of creating memorable characters. I enjoyed the writing of the short stories by Karin Lowachee, Andrea Hairston, Hiromi Goto, and Rebecca Roanhorse and will check out the authors in the future. All in all, however, I missed finding true gems and the few solid works did not balance out the number of disappointing short stories. 

1. The Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex - Tobias S. Buckell; 
A cab driver on earth, which has become the new hip place of travel for all kinds of aliens, stumbles through an almost old-fashioned, humorous sci-fi short story. (2.5/5)
2. Deer Dancer - Kathleen Alcalá; 
dystopian fiction with an "indigenous spin". I would have appreciated more magic or fleshed out characters. (3/5)
3. The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations - Minsoo Kang;
Asian fairy tale mixed with the faults of historical story telling? I can't be sure because I did not finish this short story that suffered from being overly wordy and leaving me emotionally totally uninvested. (1/5)
4. Come Home to Atropos - Steve Barnes;
Angry and cynical advertisement for euthanasia tourism- not bad. (3.5/5)
5. The Fine Print - Chinelo Onwualu;
Interesting imagery somehow wasn't followed through and taken to a satisfying ending, even though I was keen to like the story of a djinn granting wishes with a catch. (2.5/5)
6. Unkind of Mery - Alex Jennings;
Ghost story or not, the narrator gets side-tracked and I found the time line to be poorly executed. I remember nothing of the two main characters besides that they were a care worker and a professional comedian. (1/5)
7. Burn the Ships - Alberto Yáñez;
A story of war between two factions with an interesting magic system and characters that begged to be developed more. (3/5)
8. The Freedom of the shifting Sea - Jaymee Goh;
The story about the discovery of a "worm-woman" creature wants to explore themes of love and gender roles but seeks to shock and repulse the reader instead. (2/5)
9. Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire - E. Lily Yu;
The Emperor's New Clothes retelling which ends up undecided about what was supposed to be changed in this version. (1/5)
10. Blood and Bells - Karin Lowachee;
Romeo and Juliet with gangs, a toddler and a twist I did't see coming. (4/5)
11. Give Me Your Black Wings Oh Sister - Silvia Moreno-Garcia;
Explores the feeling of feeling bad and wrong inside. It had a very different tone, which I appreciated but eventually meandered along not telling much of a story. (2/5)
12. The Shadow We Cast Through Time - Indrapramit Das;
Space travel, demons, and the beginning of time - too much bunched into a repetitive story for my liking. (2/5)
13. The Robots of Eden - Anil Lemon;
Interesting setup of "enhanced", psychologically super healthy people, but leaves things up in the air when it could have been fleshed out more. (3/5)
14. Dumb House - Andrea Hairston;
The characters in this one just drip with coolness and remind me of everything I like in "Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Mandel. (4/5)
15. One Easy Trick - Hiromi Goto;
Body image, loneliness and fat shaming rolled up in a funny little fable. (4/5)
16. Harvest - Rebecca Roanhorse;
Reminded me of "Let the right one in" by John Ajvide Lindqvist. Eerie but feels like the beginning to a longer story. (3.5/5)
17. Kelsey and the Burdened Breath - Darcie Little Badger
Spin on a ghost hunter story- even includes the lingering spirit of a ghost herding dog but the characters ironically did not come alive. (3/5)
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Aquí os traigo la reseña de una de las antologías más esperadas del año, que parte de una idea muy interesante y que indudablemente tendrá continuaciones.
Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex de Tobías S. Buckell
Cuando la Tierra es un destino turístico prioritario es normal que la economía planetaria se vuelque en este sentido, dejando a la gran mayoría de la humanidad en una precaria posición. Es un relato algo flojo para comenzar la antología.
Deer Dancer de Kathleen Alcalá
Fantasías postapocalíptica sobre recuperar lo perdido utilizando las tradiciones, no me ha acabado de convencer.
The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations de Minsoo Kang 
Estupendo relato reflejando la tradición de las letras asiáticas y la maravillosa labor de los traductores e intérpretes, cuya intervención puede equilibrar la balanza entre la guerra y la paz 
Come Home to Atropos de Steven Barnes
Cruel relato sobre el script para un anuncio que vende lo único que puede ofrecer una tierra arrasada por los temporales, un resort para la eutanasia.
The Fine Print de Chinelo Omwualu
Un relato fantástico sobre el cambio de un yugo por otro y el coste de la verdadera libertad. Con aire arábigos pero con un final prometedor.
Unkind of Merche de Alex Jennings
No queda claro en ningún momento la finalidad de este relato, aparte de la amalgama de referencias a la cultura americana actual. Algo inconexo.
Burn the Ships de Alberto Yáñez
Un relato macabro y bastante desagradable sobre la lucha entre invasores e invadidos, con algo de creencia religiosa de por medio. Demasiado duro para mi gusto.
The Freedom of the Shifting Sea de Jayme Goh
Creía que ya pocas cosas me podrían sorprender en la fantasía pero estaba equivocada. Nunca me esperé un relato sobre relaciones lésbicas entre humanas y sirenas centípedas centenarias. Cosas veredes.
Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire de E. Lili Yu
Estoy a favor de los retellings de fábulas y cuentos conocidos, así me gustaba la idea de una nueva aproximación al traje nuevo del emperador de la mano de E. Lili Yu, una autora que me normalmente me gusta. No es el mejor de sus cuentos pero dentro de la tónica general de la antología es bastante destacado.
Blood and Bells de Karin Lowachee
Una historia de clanes y violencia en un entorno distópico donde la búsqueda de la venganza por un crimen puede desequilibrar la tensa paz que se mantiene con las concesiones de todos los grupos implicados. No es demasiado llamativo.
Give Me Your Black Wings Oh Sister de Silvia Moreno-García
Corto relato de terror interesante dentro de la obra de la autora canadiense.
The Shadow We Cast Through Time de Indrapramit Das
Un relato complejo de primer contacto con una civilización alienígena en su propio planeta y de su integración en el folclore propio de la población. 
The Robots of Eden de Anil Menon
Excelente relato sobre la diferencia de clases, esta vez articulado sobre la posibilidad de adquirir un “cerebro” que ayuda a controlar las emociones. Pero, ¿es mejor no sentir nada para no sufrir por ello?
Dumb House de Andrea Hairston
Hay una cierta querencia por los relatos surrealistas en la actualidad que no son para nada de mi gusto. En este cuento se mezcla la vigilancia y el big data con las tradiciones vudú, en una mezcolanza que no termina bien.
One Easy Trick de Hiromi Goto
De nuevo nos encontramos ante un relato surrealista, porque en un paseo campestre la protagonista de repente se ve liberada de su grasa abdominal y no voy a seguir hablando sobre la trama porque es absurda.
Harvest de Rebecca Roanhorse
Relato de terror realmente bien trabajado sobre las consecuencias del amor sin medida, con toques de cuento de hadas macabro mezclado con tradiciones de nativos norteamericanos.
Kelsey and the Burdened Breath de Darcie Little Badger
Un buen final para una antología bastante irregular, con una protagonista que recolecta últimos suspiros en la tradición más victoriana que se me ocurre. Sin embargo, no todas las muertes son igualmente tranquilas y algunas almas se aferran al mundo a pesar de todo.
Tenía mucho interés en este antología y reconozco que algunos relatos me han gustado mucho, pero me temo que es demasiado irregular para mi gusto, con algunos cuentos que directamente no entiendo.
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I have read quite a few anthologies published by this publishing house and while short story anthologies are nearly always a mixed bag, I have always found some brilliant authors to follow. This book though did not work for me. I found most of the short stories disappointing and I did not finish reading all of them. I think I would have liked this more if there had been some kind of theme here. While I appreciate the idea of publishing short stories by authors of colour, I do think more cohesion would have improved my reading experience.

There were nonetheless a few stories that stood out for me and I feel the need to highlight them. I really enjoyed Rebecca Roanhorse' take on the Deer Woman ("Harvest") and thought the story was both poignant and impeccably structured. She is fast becoming one of most exciting SFF authors out there (I still have not read her Hugo winning short story but will have to remedy this as soon as possible). I found Chinelo Onwualu's short story "The Fine Print" impressive in its interesting exploration of family and the ties that bind us. As always, the short story by Silvia Moreno-Garcia ("Give Me Your Black Wings Oh Sister") was by far my favourite. I really do like the way here prose flows and her imagination sparkles and will definitely have to pick up some of her novels next year.
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I was excited when I saw this book was available for review. It’s the crossroads of two personal favorites—short stories and speculative fiction. If that second term is unfamiliar to you I first came across it in the late ‘60s, early ‘70s among writers who felt that the term “science fiction” was restrictive and outdated. Speculative fiction would not be held to the realm of spaceships and bug-eyed monsters. The goal was to open areas of exploration that could include any possible source for a story. Some of what emerged was pretentious and self-indulgent. The rest offered some astounding new ideas. For me, the term makes me think of the writing of Harlan Ellison, and the first title that comes to mind is “I Have No Mouth, But I Must Scream”. A psychological horror story in the realm of science fiction, it’s a tour de force.

So, I opened this volume with great anticipation and was rewarded in full measure. The stories range widely. Some take new approaches to familiar ideas, some introduce us to new concepts from other (meaning non-white/European) sources. Unifying them all is the quality of the writing.  Well told stories and carefully crafted words give the reader a satisfying experience.

Imagine my delight to discover a foreword by LeVar Burton. Burton’s career has been its own intersection of science fiction and books. He sets a high standard for the collection when he writes:

“These are voices that are sorely needed if we are to chart a course for humanity that does not result in the destructive practices of our past.”

I agree with Burton.  Best of all, these writers are up to leading us to the goal. The result is a fascinating collection of stories that grow from creative environments different from most of our reading. It is well worth your time to explore and savor.

As with any collection like this, not all the stories grabbed me, but none of them disappointed. I have starred (*) the stories that were my particular favorites.

    • The Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex by Tobias Buckell—Earth is a second-rate planet trying to get by as a tourist attraction. And the newest attraction may be a problem.
    • Deer Dance by Kathleen Alcala–Learning to live, and learning to dream.
    • *The Virtue of Unfaithful Translation by Minsoo Kang– Sometimes the powerful are best served by an unfaithful servant.
    • Come Home to Atropos by Steven Barnes–A new resort island with an ancient attraction.
    • The Fine Print by Chinelo Onwualu–Be careful what you wish for, everything comes with a price.
    • unkind of mercy by Alex Jennings–There are others, and sometimes they reach into our world. Then the world changes.
    • Burn the Ships by Alberto Yanez
    • The Freedom of the Shifting Sea by Jaymee Goh
    • Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire by E. Lily Yu
    • Blood and Bells by Karin Lowachee
    • 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 -The increasing growth of an information-based economy means that the pressure will grow on those who don’t want to play the game.
    • One Easy Trick by Hiromi Goto
    • Harvest by Rebecca Roanhorse
    • *Kelsey and the Burdened Breath by Darcie Little Badger - The final breath is the departure of the spirit. But not all spirits go gently.

I reviewed this book based on an Advance Reader Copy and it is consistent with my Review Standards.
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I know it isn't exactly the done thing but I want to start by showing some serious love for this cover. I had to do a bit of searching because the info wasn't anywhere obvious in my copy but the artist is Yoshi Yoshitani and looking at her website I am utterly obsessed. I might need a print of this cover because I love it so much.

But we all know better than to judge a book by its cover now don't we? I have, in the past, found anthologies in general, as well as ones from Rebellion Publishing a little hit or miss, I adored Infinity Wars, I thought Not So Stories was good, me and The Outcast Hours were a little at odds, so I went into this without too high expectations, but also with the knowledge that there would be at least a couple of stories that would hit high for me.

It actually took until the eighth story for me to find one that I didn't like. I won't spoil it for you but there were a lot of mentions of mandibles that I wasn't quite sure about. But the majority of the short stories in this anthology are at least fun and at best amazing. I loved reading about what a cab driver in a more intergalactic New York might be like, there's some interesting conjecture on a world where people are somehow separate from their own minds, a sort of ghost hunter narrative and more. Where some anthologies stick to either fantasy or science fiction this one certainly takes speculative to mean much more than even those two words, taking in alternate history as well as other nuances of genre.

I thought that reading the editors note (which in my version is an afterword and comes at the end of the book, perhaps it would have been more impactful to have it at the start?) was where the significance of this anthology really came through. Nisi Shawl talks about the fact that writers of colour have always been writing speculative fiction, they are not a modern 'phenomenon'. But it is true that the group is growing, publishing has a long way to go, let's not pretend it doesn't when we see statistics telling us that only 7% of the children's books published in 2017 were written by black, latinx and Native authors. But this book is a celebration, a welcoming of authors of colour. To quote Nisi Shawl:

That was then. This is now - a time when the anthology you hold in your hands could easily have filled multiple volumes, when I never even got to issue a public call for stories because I received plenty merely by asking the writers of color I personally know.

Nisi Shawl also recognises that this is not the first anthology to bring together the works of writers of colour, nor is it or should it be the be-all and end-all of this kind of publishing. But this was a really strong addition to Rebellion's list and I hope to read more of the works of these authors in the future.

My rating: 4/5 stars

I received a free digital advanced review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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I was initially excited to be given the chance to review this diverse anthology by diverse authors. But as I went on to read the first story of the collection, I was instantly discouraged to continue on. It has potential, but I wasn't sold by it. The transition and pacing were abrupt, the characters aren't memorable nor do they have depth, and most importantly, I just didn't feel anything for it? As a reader, I think it's crucial that we are able to associate feelings for a story, and it is all the more crucial that the first story in the anthology could hook us. For me, it's a defining point if I should continue reading the other stories or I should just stop. Usually, I don't give up with an anthology that easily, and the fact that this was written by POC authors pushed me to read this and promote (if I liked it). But, it was just not something I would read on after that first story. I'm sorry because I do want to give some of the authors a chance to tell their tale, but honestly, my personal enjoyment is a high factor and I pride myself for this as a reader. I don't want to continue reading this just because it's a book by POC but instead because of the quality that I'm getting from it. I hope that this book will reach a lot of reader audiences in the future, but this just wasn't for me.
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Excellent collection. Great mix of horror, fantasy, sci fi elements! Not for general teen consumption but I’ll be buying for my personal collection.
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The thing about anthologies? No matter how promising the topic sounds, I usually end up liking no more than half the stories in the anthology. And unfortunately that held true for NEW SUNS as well. There were some utterly amazing stories in it but also a bunch I was bored by or didn't understand the point of or that just didn't match my taste at all. And of course a lot of stories which were nice and okay but no more than that so that I had pretty much forgotten them by the time I finished NEW SUNS. Overall it's a nice anthology, I liked the topic and the majority of the stories seemed to match that overall topic very well (no matter how much I personally enjoyed them). But as with almost all anthologies I've ever read, it's a mixed bag and for every story I loved, there was one I hated and two I forgot about by the end of the anthology.
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ARC through NetGalley

Actual rating: 2.5/5

New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Colour, edited by Nishi Shawl, assembles science fiction, fantasy and horror stories by new and veteran authors. I'm in the mood for more Sci-fi. And I appreciate good covers and this one looks stunning. Yoshi Yoshitani's art rocks. I wonder why more authors don't get their art from him.

I have a love/hate relationship with anthologies. Let's face it - each anthology is a grab bag. In a batch of stories, some will hook me, some won't. 

The art of short fiction is damn difficult. An author has only a few pages to hook me and make me root for the characters. Not an easy task. My ratings of short stories are always brutal. I'm not trying to deconstruct them to assess their structure, prose, crucial plot points. Nope. I rate my enjoyment. The stories that get one star from will become other readers' favourites. 

Below you'll find my thoughts on all stories assembled in New Suns.

Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex by Tobias S. Buckell - 4.5/5

A fun one. Intergalactic tourism became the main source of income for US citizens. Aliens seek for a real American experience and they want a full range of what's Earth has to offer. 

When a stoned alien cephaloid falls to his death from a flying cab, intergalactic relationships become tricky. And no one desires complications when and where money is involved.

Smart, entertaining and well written. I loved it.

Deer Dancer by Kathleen Alcala - 2.5/5

A decent read showing that indigenous ways can increase the chances of survival in a decayed reality. Not surprising but interesting nonetheless. The weakest part of the story - forgettable characters.

The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations by Minsoo Kang - 1/5

Well written, but wordy and descriptive. I won't lie - it bored me. 

Approach it as a tale about the limitations of scholarly and historical reconstruction, set in an Asian-based fantasy world.

Come Home to Atropos by Steven Barnes - 3/5

Short and decent, it offers an interesting take on the tourist economy of post-colonial countries. It seems even suicide can become an exotic and desired experience. 

The Fine Print by Chinelo Onwualu - 5/5

An excellent story about human desires, paternal loves and djinni. I loved it. It has a strong opening, it engages the reader emotionally and delivers a nice ending.

Quality stuff.

unkind mercy by Alex Jennings - 3/5

Ok. I didn't find it thrilling but it's clever. I appreciate it, but don't particularly like it.

Burn the Ships by Alberto Yáñez - 2/5

Nope. Nothing in this story worked for me. I'm sure other readers will enjoy it, though.

The Freedom of the Shifting Sea by Jaymee Goh - 1/5

I liked the idea of a mermaid tale retelling. Eunice Aphroditois - an aquatic predator, known also as a Bobbit Worm, is a top pick for such a retelling. 

The story, though, with its porno-horror vibe and fatal fellatio didn't appeal to me at all.

Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire by E. Lily Yu - 3/5

An interesting and bloody reinterpretation of Hans Christian Anderson’s tale of The Emperor’s New Clothes. I liked it.

Blood and Bells Karin Lowachee

Give Me Your Black Wings Oh Sister by Silvia Moreno-Garcia - 3/5

The Shadow We Cast Through Time by Indrapramit Das - 2.5/5

The story features exoplanetary folklore, deep space myth, and extraterrestrial demons that wear the bodies of our dead. Interesting, but experience proves Indra Das's writing isn't for me. Nothing wrong with it, I'm sure others will love it. I simply don't feel it. His flow isn't mine.

The Robots of Eden by Anil Menon - 2.5/5

The story tries to see if post-humans outgrew their need for fiction. In the end, children outgrow their imaginary friends.

Great idea, decent execution.

Dumb House by Andrea Hairston - 3.5/5

It's an episode/vignette presenting the life of Cinnamon Jones, an old tech geek who used to love the theatre. After the Water Wars, she lives in a dumb house on her grandparents’ heirloom farm with her dog, Bruja, and three Circus-Bots. 

Weird(ish) and interesting. 

One Easy Trick, Hiromi Goto - 2/5

On a day off in the forest, Marnie loses her belly fat somewhere along the way. It literally disappears. Her voluminous belly roll is gone and she doesn't know if she should rejoice or despair. Her friend thinks Marnie had done a surgery somewhere in Mexico and feels betrayed.

Marnie returns to the forest to find her Bellyfat.

It's a weird story with interesting ideas. Ultimately, though, it didn't convince me. An ok read, but nothing more.

Harvest by Rebecca Roanhorse - 3.5/5

The story tries to answer the question is falling in love with Deer Woman a good idea. A bloody business. Well written and punchy.

Kelsey and the Burdened Breath, Darcie Little Badger - 3.5/5

Interesting take on gathering breaths (souls). I liked it and if I have any criticism it's the fact the story is a bit unclear.

All in all, I find the anthology rather disappointing. I like when a collection of short stories has a common theme/leitmotif. Here I see no such thing apart from authors' ethnicity and race. 

Don't misunderstand me. I love the idea of promoting diversity in fantasy and sci-fi literature. That said, my reading expectations are very simple - I want to be thrilled. New Suns didn't thrill me. There were only two stories that spoke to me on a personal level. I didn't care much about the rest.
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It's always so hard to review anthologies, as there are bound to be some stories that work and some that don't. Overall, this is an anthology that is strong on the dystopia and bleak side of science-fantasy, which isn't my favourite thing, but there are some great pieces in here. 

Stand outs for me are: 

Minsoo Kang's The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations - a clever psuedo-historical text on the ways in which translation can be as crucial as the original texts. 
Rebecca Roanhorse's Harvest - creepy and atmospheric. 
Steven Barnes's Come Home to Atropos - so good I read it twice straight through. The perfect use of satire to unnerve.
Darcie Little Badger's Kelsey and the Burdened Breath - I'd read a whole series of this paranormal investigator's adventures!

Some didn't work for me, but are clearly well-written:

Chinelo Onwualu's The Fine Print - clever story of a deal with the devil, but I found it quite misogynistic.
Jaymee Goh's The Freedom of the Shifting Sea - some gorgeous writing, but I'm not hugely keen on body-horror, and there's a lot of quite graphic sex scenes featuring a 'worm-woman' who has chitinous segments and can unhinge her jaw. Without the sex, I would have put this in the 'standout' list.

Some were just okay:

Tobias Buckell's The Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex could have been found in any of the yellow-spined sci-fi anthologies of the 70s or 80s. 
Lily Yu's Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire would have been better if it had just been the initial variation, as I think the reader had got the point by then!

And some were downright bizarre, such as Hiromi Goto's One Easy Trick, which is about a woman whose belly fat runs away. Suuuper weird. 

So, a mixed bag for me. I really would have liked more cohesion in the theming of the anthology, but I understand that as I am not an #ownvoices reviewer for any of the stories in this book, I may well be missing something. I think it will make a lot of people happy, and would recommend it to any sci-fi reader looking to broaden their horizons.
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This is an excellent anthology. Much of the most dynamic and powerful speculative fiction at this point in time is being written by people of color, and this book gives an excellent sampling. I cannot write about all the stories individually in this comment, but I will mention the ones I particularly loved. Tobias Buckell's "Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex" gives a satirical and very funny description of a future in which the entire Earth has become a backwater that subsists entirely on tourism from wealthier and more technologically powerful species from other planets. This story brings home post-colonial dependency to American readers who might well themselves be on the other side of the equation (as tourists in poorer countries themselves). Kathleen Alcala's "Deer Dancer" shows how indigenous ways might give the best hope for survival in a decayed  post-climate-catastrophe landscape. Minsoo Kang's "The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations" is a witty parable about surviving the stupidity of the powerful, and about the limitations of scholarly and historical reconstruction, in an Asian-based fantasy world. Steven Barnes' Come Home to Atropos goes along well with Buckell's story, as it is a sarcastic take on the tourist economy of poorer, post-colonial countries seeking to attract dollars from the affluent white world; in this story, even suicide becomes a fancy and "exotic" experience. Jaymee Goh's "The Freedom of the Shifting Sea" brilliantly rewrites the mermaid tale in terms both of white/Asian colonial relations, and of some rather unusual (but actual) facts of biology. Lily Yu's "Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire" sarcastically rings a number of social and political changes on Hans Christian Anderson's tale of The Emperor's New Clothes. Those are my favorites, but in fact all the stories in this anthology are really good.
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When I see a collection like this, I never know if I should be glad that a potentially underrepresented group of writers is getting recognized or disappointed that we are remaining segregated.  A big part of me wants everyone to be in the same anthologies based on merit and popularity rather than on color.  If we do want to showcase certain segments of writers, why not base it on geographic region rather than color?  Many of these are Caribbean or Asian, so there's certainly room for that.

The collection opens with an enthusiastic intro by Levar Burton.  He does a good job of getting me thinking why we do need a collection like this but then he ends with a dig to President Trump.  Why make this political?  Burton's comment pertains more to Star Trek than to this book, anyway.  What if we had a collection of stories stated to be by white writers only that began with a dig to President Obama?  Take the high road, please!

Moving onto the contents, the first story is so enjoyable that I looked up the author to see what else he has written.  Imagine my surprise to see that he is white!  Now I'm really beginning to doubt the collection.  Despite its apparent good intentions, it is getting bogged down with internal issues.

The other stories are of various quality.  My preference is to science fiction over fantasy, but that's just me.  The book has a mix of both.  Some are interesting or enjoyable; others don't work for me.  Some are outright racist, which really gets me back to "why segregate by color?""  I think they probably meant well but didn't realize their own prejudices still needed some work.  Are we supposed to get along or not?
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