Edited by Zelda Knight and Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald, Dominion: an Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora, Aurelia Leo, 2020.
Dominion is exactly as advertised: an anthology of short stories by writers who are African or from the African Diaspora. It boasts a total of 13 short stories, all remarkable in their own way.
I enjoyed all the short stories in the anthology, though some really stood apart for me.
The first one was, well, the first one, "Trickin'" by Nicole Givens Kurtz, a dark fantasy about Halloween. The vividness of the atmosphere and its gorgeous descriptions really made a strong impression on me.
"A Maji Maji Chronicle" by Eugen Bacon tackles the trope of changing the past but in doing so, Bacon will challenge your assumptions. Its final lesson is both terrible and hopeful and it won't leave you indifferent, whether you agree with it or not.
"The Unclean" by Nuzo Onoh was for me an extraordinary discovery as I didn't know this writer. But the story grabbed me and didn't let me go. It filled me with emotions--sadness, anger, grief and hope. I will most definitely look for more stories by Onoh in the future.
"Convergence in Chorus Architecture" by Dare Segun Falowo manages the extraordinary feat of being a novelette and still giving you a story of epic proportions. I have particularly enjoyed its oniric quality despite the difficult theme it tackles.
"Sleep, Papa, Sleep" by Suyi Davies Okungbowa. I had really enjoyed David Mogo, Godhunter and this short story definitely sets Okungbowa as a firm favourite writer of mine. It manages splendidly a delicate balance between horror, humour and grief.
"The Satellite Charmer" by Mame Bougouma Diene begins in a very mundane way to bring you to unexpected poetical places with a sense of wonder.
"Ife-Iyoku, the Tale of Imadeyunuagbon" by Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald weaves myths for the future. It deals with gendered roles, war and traditions, with a fascinating main character.
Overall, this anthology is a real success at showcasing African writers and writers from the African Diaspora. The range of themes, tones and styles is very impressive, though they all deal with identity in a way or another whether to interrogate an individual's identity, or their place within history, family or tradition. I also particularly appreciated how it often relished in blurring the boundaries between genres.
It'd be a great introduction to some excellent contemporary short story writers for people who usually don't read that form. People who are familiar with contemporary short story publications will be delighted to recognise some well known names and to enjoy more of their work.
It is announced as Volume One and I'm looking forward to the next one!
Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for a fair review.
All reviews are spoiler free unless explicitly stated otherwise.
I only review stories I have liked even if my opinion may be nuanced. It doesn't apply for the "Novels published before 1978" series of blog posts.
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