Review: “Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora” edited by Zelda Knight and Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki

Release Date: August 17, 2020
Publisher: Aurelia Leo
Genre: Anthologies, Short Fiction

 

Description

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

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

 

My Thoughts

Dominion-cover

This new anthology of African and African diaspora authors contains one poem and twelv short speculative fiction stories, ten of which are brand new and three of which have been previously published elsewhere: “Trickin’” by Nicole Givens Kurtz, “Red_Bati” by Dilman Dila, “A Maji Maji Chronicle” by Eugen Bacon, “The Unclean” by Nuzo Onoh, “A Mastery of German” by Marian Denise Moore, “Convergence in Chorus Architecture” by Dare Segun Falowo, “Emily” by Marian Denise Moore, “To Say Nothing of Lost Figurines” by Rafeeat Aliyu, “Sleep Papa, Sleep” by Suyi Davies Okungbowa, “The Satellite Charmer” by Mame Bougouma Diene, “Clanfall: Death of Kings” by Odida Nyabundi, “Thresher of Men” by Michael Boatman, “Ife-Iyoku, the Tale of Imadeyunuagbon” by Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald.

I read a lot of short speculative fiction as part of my spotlight column at Tor Dot Com. If I don’t get hooked on a story within the first few paragraphs, I drop it and move on. It’s the only way I can keep up with the dozens and dozens of stories published every month. With Dominion, every story reeled me in. Not a single DNF in the bunch.

In particular, I especially enjoyed “Red_Bati,” about a robot that believes itself to be real and who decides to take over a mining ship and escape a life of drudgery. I always like stories about androids who rewrite their coding and algorithms to forge their own destiny. After reading “Ife-Iyoku, the Tale of Imadeyunuagbon,” a story about survivors living in a post-apocalyptic Africa, it felt weirdly familiar to me for reasons I couldn’t place. A quick google pulled up this tweet from the author; I remember reading that tweet and being very excited about the premise. (Yes, believe it or not, I retain random tweets about random stuff in my brain. And yet I can barely remember what I had for breakfast this morning. Go figure.) Luckily for me, the novella lived up to my expectations.

Sadly, my review copy did not include Tananarive Due’s forward, which I really would’ve liked to read. But otherwise I have no complaints. This is an excellent collection of stories from a talented group of authors.

One thought on “Review: “Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora” edited by Zelda Knight and Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki

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