Black Sci-Fi Short Stories

Flame Tree. (Gothic Fantasy). Jun. 2021. 432p. ISBN 9781839644801. $30. SF
Henry’s wife has been sold while he was away. Kade must contend with her cousin seeking her position. Belton must survive the school bully, his teacher. What do a pair of individuals looking for other survivors, a group of students nursing a strange object, a girl who speaks with the weather, a woman visiting her mother, and a handful of Mississippi slaves escaping to Canada have in common? They are all characters in this anthology of 20 short stories. In the way of speculative fiction, each story provides an issue—be it social, scientific, or both—and offers new ways to think about it.
VERDICT The latest installment of Flame Tree Press’s “Gothic Fantasy” series has something for every speculative fiction taste. All of the short stories, old and new, are written by authors of color, and many have appeared in other compilations. The oldest story, by Martin Delany, was first published before the American Civil War; the most recent were published in 2019. The W. E. B. Du Bois short story “The Comet” appears on several college required reading lists.
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