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So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy is an anthology of original new stories by leading African, Asian, South Asian and Aboriginal authors, as well as North American and British writers of color. Stories of imagined futures abound in Western writing. Writer and editor Nalo Hopkinson notes that the science fiction/fantasy genre “speaks so much abo So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction &amp Fantasy is an anthology of original new stories by leading African, Asian, South Asian and Aboriginal authors, as well as North American and British writers of color. Stories of imagined futures abound in Western writing. Writer and editor Nalo Hopkinson notes that the science fiction/fantasy genre “speaks so much about the experience of being alienated but contains so little writing by alienated people themselves.” It’s an oversight that Hopkinson and Mehan aim to correct with this anthology. The book depicts imagined futures from the perspectives of writers associated with what might loosely be termed the “third world.” It includes stories that are bold, imaginative, edgy; stories that are centered in the worlds of the “developing” nations; stories that dare to dream what we might develop into. The wealth of postcolonial literature has included many who have written insightfully about their pasts and presents. With So Long Been Dreaming they creatively address their futures. Contributors include: Opal Palmer Adisa, Tobias Buckell, Wayde Compton, Hiromi Goto, Andrea Hairston, Tamai Kobayashi, Karin Lowachee, devorah major, Carole McDonnell, Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu, Eden Robinson, Nisi Shawl, Vandana Singh, Sheree Renee Thomas and Greg Van Eekhout. Nalo Hopkinson is the internationally-acclaimed author of Brown Girl in the Ring, Skin Folk, and Salt Roads. Her books have been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, Tiptree, and Philip K. Dick Awards; Skin Folk won a World Fantasy Award and the Sunburst Award. Born in Jamaica, Nalo moved to Canada when she was sixteen. She lives in Toronto. Uppinder Mehan is a scholar of science fiction and postcolonial literature. A South Asian Canadian, he currently lives in Boston and teaches at Emerson College.


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So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy is an anthology of original new stories by leading African, Asian, South Asian and Aboriginal authors, as well as North American and British writers of color. Stories of imagined futures abound in Western writing. Writer and editor Nalo Hopkinson notes that the science fiction/fantasy genre “speaks so much abo So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction &amp Fantasy is an anthology of original new stories by leading African, Asian, South Asian and Aboriginal authors, as well as North American and British writers of color. Stories of imagined futures abound in Western writing. Writer and editor Nalo Hopkinson notes that the science fiction/fantasy genre “speaks so much about the experience of being alienated but contains so little writing by alienated people themselves.” It’s an oversight that Hopkinson and Mehan aim to correct with this anthology. The book depicts imagined futures from the perspectives of writers associated with what might loosely be termed the “third world.” It includes stories that are bold, imaginative, edgy; stories that are centered in the worlds of the “developing” nations; stories that dare to dream what we might develop into. The wealth of postcolonial literature has included many who have written insightfully about their pasts and presents. With So Long Been Dreaming they creatively address their futures. Contributors include: Opal Palmer Adisa, Tobias Buckell, Wayde Compton, Hiromi Goto, Andrea Hairston, Tamai Kobayashi, Karin Lowachee, devorah major, Carole McDonnell, Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu, Eden Robinson, Nisi Shawl, Vandana Singh, Sheree Renee Thomas and Greg Van Eekhout. Nalo Hopkinson is the internationally-acclaimed author of Brown Girl in the Ring, Skin Folk, and Salt Roads. Her books have been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, Tiptree, and Philip K. Dick Awards; Skin Folk won a World Fantasy Award and the Sunburst Award. Born in Jamaica, Nalo moved to Canada when she was sixteen. She lives in Toronto. Uppinder Mehan is a scholar of science fiction and postcolonial literature. A South Asian Canadian, he currently lives in Boston and teaches at Emerson College.

30 review for So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kogiopsis

    It's been a while since I finished this collection, and while struggling with other reviews has kept me from turning to this one, it's been at the back of my mind. And... in a way, I don't feel like I can really give a good review of this book, because... I am so far from being the intended audience. Now, here's the thing: that's what drew me to this book. As a reader, I recognize the importance of diversifying the voices that shape our literature and, indeed, define what is literature; as a whit It's been a while since I finished this collection, and while struggling with other reviews has kept me from turning to this one, it's been at the back of my mind. And... in a way, I don't feel like I can really give a good review of this book, because... I am so far from being the intended audience. Now, here's the thing: that's what drew me to this book. As a reader, I recognize the importance of diversifying the voices that shape our literature and, indeed, define what is literature; as a white American, I feel I have a responsibility to push myself outside of the echo chamber of people like me in those aspects and appreciate other perspectives. And So Long Been Dreaming definitely did that - but it also distinctly felt like it was part of an intra-community discussion. It... felt like I was looking through a window, sort of, though not as voyeuristic as that simile implies. I don't know how to describe it. (There was a moment while I was reading this that I realized I'd made the foolish assumption that every story here would be specifically about race or colonialism - that they'd all be issue stories. One of those instances that forced me to question my own viewpoint.) From a narrative perspective, there was... a lot of variation in the stories. Some of them I enjoyed more than others; with some, I struggled to follow the plot. My favorite was probably Lingua Franca, which had some great cultural worldbuilding and touched on disability issues as well as colonialism. Panopte's Eye also intrigued me, though as the introduction notes, it's an excerpt from a longer novel, and I found the amount left un-answered to be somewhat frustrating. What So Long Been Dreaming really underscored for me, though, was the vast array of speculative fictions that remain to be told - stories not rooted in white Western literary traditions but in different experiences and imaginations. It can be easy, as a speculative fiction reader, to feel like much of what is published is fundamentally the same; this collection is a clear illustration that it doesn't have to be that way. There are still wildly new stories to be told; we just need to listen to new voices.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kaion

    We are so past the-future/fantasyland-is-filled-with-sexist-white-dudes or post-racial-so-minorities-don't-exist days and yet you'd be pressed to find evidence otherwise among wide swathes of mainstream genre fiction. Seeking to expand my reading repertoire from those sort of disappointing, over-familiar backgrounds, I really appreciate what editors Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan are trying to do with in their anthology So Long Been Dreaming. And short stories are the best when you're looking We are so past the-future/fantasyland-is-filled-with-sexist-white-dudes or post-racial-so-minorities-don't-exist days and yet you'd be pressed to find evidence otherwise among wide swathes of mainstream genre fiction. Seeking to expand my reading repertoire from those sort of disappointing, over-familiar backgrounds, I really appreciate what editors Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan are trying to do with in their anthology So Long Been Dreaming. And short stories are the best when you're looking to be introduced to new writers, yes? That being said, I'm not sure the way these stories are organized by topic really sets them off to their greatest advantage. Furthermore, there's a bit of studied "fulfilling-the-prompt" feeling that keeps many of them from feeling particularly fresh, or more like intellectual pitches for novels than emotionally fulfilling short stories in their own right. After all is done, there's good coverage of this incredibly broad topic, including: a lively, contemporary Afro-Canadian take on selkies ('Toot Sweet Matricia' by Suzette Mayr); an amusing microcosm of cultural assimilation when a planet of mute signers joins the "Federation" ('Lingua Franca' by Carole McDonnell); and a thoughtful, Octavia-Butler meets N.K. Jemisin look at a society where humans hold a tenuous control over their Hindu-demigod-hybrid servants ('Out of Sync' by Ven Begamudre). Butler's influence as the patron god of post-colonial science fiction reigns also in Devorah Major's wry look at inter-planetary-space negotiations in 'Trade Winds'. Greg van Eekhout's 'Native Aliens' may be the most explicit story in exploring how historical colonialism repeats itself in juxtaposing the violent "repatriation" of 20th century Dutch-Indonesians and 24th century "Brevan-Terrans". But the most successful venture of the anthology, in its seamless evocation of past and future, time-travel and mysticism, and how they converge on the individual, belongs to Vandana Singh and her vision of a teeming, surreal 'Delhi'. Rating: 3 stars

  3. 4 out of 5

    Wealhtheow

    I like the idea behind this collection so so SO much more than another tired collection of retold European fairy tales. I particularly liked Eden Robinson's "Terminal Avenue," because the characters in the dystopia felt completely real and realized, even if the dystopia itself was only dimly sketched. Vandana Singh's "Delhi" reads like a heady, suicidal and Indian version of The Time Traveler's Wife. Karin Lowachee's "The Forgotten Ones," Greg van Eekhout's "Native Aliens" and Celu Amberstone's I like the idea behind this collection so so SO much more than another tired collection of retold European fairy tales. I particularly liked Eden Robinson's "Terminal Avenue," because the characters in the dystopia felt completely real and realized, even if the dystopia itself was only dimly sketched. Vandana Singh's "Delhi" reads like a heady, suicidal and Indian version of The Time Traveler's Wife. Karin Lowachee's "The Forgotten Ones," Greg van Eekhout's "Native Aliens" and Celu Amberstone's "Refugees" question land settlement and dispossession. And finally, I appreciated Carole McDonnell's "Lingua Franca," a nuanced and uncomfortable look at language and the power it grants--or takes away.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ebony

    So Long Been Dreaming was my first foray into postcolonial science fiction and fantasy. I confess. I learned more about myself than about the worlds depicted in the short stories. While reading, I was constantly asking myself: What about this story resonates with you? What does not resonate with you? Why? Can you buy into the fantasy or are you frustrated without an anchor? How much of your (dis)like for a story has to do with the writing and how much has to do with the context? Where are your b So Long Been Dreaming was my first foray into postcolonial science fiction and fantasy. I confess. I learned more about myself than about the worlds depicted in the short stories. While reading, I was constantly asking myself: What about this story resonates with you? What does not resonate with you? Why? Can you buy into the fantasy or are you frustrated without an anchor? How much of your (dis)like for a story has to do with the writing and how much has to do with the context? Where are your biases? How would you have told the stories differently? Which stories do you want to continue? Which ones could you not wait to end? I’d be hard pressed to present plot summaries for all 19 stories, but I can say that the book made me feel—frustration, devastation, love, hope. I suppose those are the emotions of postcoloniality. And in that case the book did exactly what it was supposed to do.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Merl Fluin

    42 SHORT STORIES IN 42 DAYS* Day 10: Deep End by Nisi Shawl The sci-fi world-building is meticulous and convincing, but the weakly developed storyline doesn't match up. *The rules: – Read one short story a day, every day for six weeks – Read no more than one story by the same author within any 14-day period – Deliberately include authors I wouldn't usually read – Review each story in one sentence or less Any fresh reading suggestions/recommendations will be gratefully received 📚

  6. 5 out of 5

    Owen

    Frankly, I dislike the star rating system for book reviews. One inevitably goes for a more-or-less gut reaction when rating a book, and then there is the question of whether an anthology can ever rate five stars, or whether it should be judged as a category all its own. But then there is "So Long Been Dreaming," which, if I go with my gut, gets five stars either way. I'm new to this site, so perhaps I will find the reviews less surprising after I've grown to understand the culture here, but I've Frankly, I dislike the star rating system for book reviews. One inevitably goes for a more-or-less gut reaction when rating a book, and then there is the question of whether an anthology can ever rate five stars, or whether it should be judged as a category all its own. But then there is "So Long Been Dreaming," which, if I go with my gut, gets five stars either way. I'm new to this site, so perhaps I will find the reviews less surprising after I've grown to understand the culture here, but I've been nothing short of flabbergasted at the book's poor reviews. By the time I was halfway through, I was calling it one of the best science-fiction anthologies I'd ever read. And I've read a few. Its intent and politics are every bit as powerful as the writers themselves. I found myself disappointed to have to give up one story and start another, until the next one proved to be just as riveting as the last. If I were to criticize, I did find the organization of the stories into thematic sections a bit academic, but then the full title should certainly tip off readers that this is not intended to be a breezy summer beach text. These are stories of the Other from those that understand Otherness best. A much needed shake-up for a genre that has been whitewashed for a good long time.

  7. 5 out of 5

    rabbitprincess

    * * 1/2 that I am bumping up to 3 for the sake of the two stories I REALLY liked A fairly decent short story collection comprising science fiction and fantasy works "by leading African, Asian, South Asian and Aboriginal authors, as well as North American and British writers of colour" (per the back cover). Because it's a short story collection, you're naturally going to have some variance in the quality. Thematically, the book is divided into five sections: "The Body", "Future Earth", "Allegory", * * 1/2 that I am bumping up to 3 for the sake of the two stories I REALLY liked A fairly decent short story collection comprising science fiction and fantasy works "by leading African, Asian, South Asian and Aboriginal authors, as well as North American and British writers of colour" (per the back cover). Because it's a short story collection, you're naturally going to have some variance in the quality. Thematically, the book is divided into five sections: "The Body", "Future Earth", "Allegory", "Encounters with the Alien", and "Re-imagining the Past". Section 4 is the biggest and also contains the story which was my primary reason for borrowing this book. This is also the last section I read; after that story I don't particularly feel like working my way through the rest. I rated each story as I went, so each section will have an average rating. The rating for the collection as a whole is an average of all of the stories (not average of the averages; I'm adding all the stories' ratings together to average them out). Section 1: The Body. Average rating: 1.75 Ouch. I guess I should not be surprised that a section focusing on the body would be my least favourite. The worst of this section featured gratuitous lesbian sex, half-baked worlds, gag-inducing description and an uncomfortable-for-me focus on the female form. The best of this section was the River Song-like protagonist of the second story. Section 2: Future Earth. Average rating: 3 Much better. Most of the stories in this section were at least a 3; only the last story rated a 2. The worst of this section was creepy masochism scenes in the first story and a tired Big Brother dystopic society in the last story. The best of this section involved a man who could communicate with people in different timestreams (the Doctor Who fan in me got a huge kick out of that) and a fable of sorts set in a post-apocalyptic Saharan Desert that was scarily plausible but also magical, and it had a good message. Section 3: Allegory. Average rating: 4 I was really taken with the two stories in this section. "The Grassdreaming Tree" rated a 3.5 because the narrative voice was very good, definitely captured the rhythm of oral storytelling, and the description was good as well. "The Blue Road: A Fairy Tale," meanwhile, got a pleasantly surprised 4.5 because I really, really enjoyed it. It was really quite magical, and I think I shall have to retain a copy of it to read to any children in my family or friends' circles. I like this kind of fairy tale, with clever, resourceful protagonists overcoming adversity. Section 4: Encounters with the Alien. Average rating: 2.5 This is actually the section with the story that was my reason for borrowing the collection ("Lingua Franca"), so this rating may appear a bit harsh. However, there was a one-star in this section: "Trade Winds". Completely not interesting and I also had a personal beef with it (don't call interpreters "translators"). Still, I did like the story I came for, which is about a Deaf planet having to deal with spoken English becoming the lingua franca, and the young people all getting throat and ear implants so that they can become part of the speaking world. Very interesting concept, also quite relevant. I ended up skipping the last section, so my rating as a whole reflects only those sections I read. To sum up, I'd say borrow this from the library if you really want to give it a go. This book came to my attention through The Literary Omnivore, whose description of "Lingua Franca" was what had me hooked.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Section 1: The Body Deep End by Nisi Shawl - Inventive and thought-provoking. Griots of the Galaxy by Andrea Hairston - Like being in a lush jungle, there's a lot going on. Could have used a little pruning. Toot Sweet Matricia by Suzette Mayr - I had no idea what was going on, but the writing had me so captivated that I didn't care. Rachel by Larissa Lai - A retelling of the first part of the director's cut of Bladerunner, from Rachel's point of view. You'd think that would be cool, but it was just Section 1: The Body Deep End by Nisi Shawl - Inventive and thought-provoking. Griots of the Galaxy by Andrea Hairston - Like being in a lush jungle, there's a lot going on. Could have used a little pruning. Toot Sweet Matricia by Suzette Mayr - I had no idea what was going on, but the writing had me so captivated that I didn't care. Rachel by Larissa Lai - A retelling of the first part of the director's cut of Bladerunner, from Rachel's point of view. You'd think that would be cool, but it was just... why? The only change was having Rachel be half Chinese instead of Irish, which on its own wasn't enough to really subvert any of the original story. Possibly because Phillip K Dick is already intensely subversive, even as seen through a Hollywood lens. Although since Bladerunner was designed to take advantage of East Asian esthetics, maybe including an Asian main character was the point. Part 2 - Future Earth Terminal Avenue by Eden Robinson. Kind of reminds me of that tv show Continuum. But more grim. And no time travel. When Scarabs Multiply by Nnedi Okorafor. Nnedi! Great story, and a precursor to Who Fears Death, I think? .... I picked this anthology up for the Shawl, Robinson, nd Okorafor stories. Finished those, so back to the library it goes!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Outis

    Intriguing but somewhat disappointing. Some of these stories share a common theme (mostly the ones in the section titled "encounters with the alien") but otherwise they're all over the place (topic, genre, style and so forth). One of the stories is Blade Runner fan fic and another isn't even a short but an extract from a longer work. Sometimes the relevance to the anthology's topic was tangential and in a few cases the stories were so artsy that I failed to ascertain what they're actually about. M Intriguing but somewhat disappointing. Some of these stories share a common theme (mostly the ones in the section titled "encounters with the alien") but otherwise they're all over the place (topic, genre, style and so forth). One of the stories is Blade Runner fan fic and another isn't even a short but an extract from a longer work. Sometimes the relevance to the anthology's topic was tangential and in a few cases the stories were so artsy that I failed to ascertain what they're actually about. Most of the stories however have a redeeming trait in common that contrasts with much of genre fiction: they clearly are trying to say something... sometimes too clearly for some people's tastes perhaps but I'm not a fan of artsy obscurity so I found most of the anthology refreshing in that respect. As you might expect, there is a heavy dose of wishful thinking behind what some of these stories are saying. One could use words like "naive". But I'd rather have that than authors who are afraid to be caught meaning anything for fear it would be less than brilliant. Still, I've got to say this anthology gave me a new appreciation for Aliette de Bodard's stories (none of which were included). My faves were the stories by Vandana Singh (unsurprisingly) and Karin Lowachee. Greg van Eekhout's story also deserves a mention. I was pleasantly surprised by a couple of authors I don't think I'd ever heard about: Celu Amberstone and devorah major. But there were simply too many stories I should in hindsight have skipped. The variety and creativity of the stories is to be commended but that can serve as a trap of sorts and I feel that I've too often been intrigued and then let down.

  10. 4 out of 5

    M.

    This book was like watching a movie you that really irritates you, which you thought was going to be so intriguing, that you say you hate but go on for weeks thinking about. You say to yourself, well damn those certain aspects of the movie were so well done, why'd that other shit have to be in there fucking up the rest of it? Why did it have to go there? Why didn't it go that other place? If it weren't for that one scene or the other scene, the movie would've been total shit and you reaaaallly w This book was like watching a movie you that really irritates you, which you thought was going to be so intriguing, that you say you hate but go on for weeks thinking about. You say to yourself, well damn those certain aspects of the movie were so well done, why'd that other shit have to be in there fucking up the rest of it? Why did it have to go there? Why didn't it go that other place? If it weren't for that one scene or the other scene, the movie would've been total shit and you reaaaallly would've been mad about it wasting your time. You can't put your finger on it. You realize you don't hate it. That really you just wanted it to be as good as you saw promise. IF YOU ARE INTO SCIFI: This anthology suffers from that "baby's first sci-fi story" thing when writers not accustomed to the possibility of SF/fantasy write SF/fantasy stories, and they fall short, irritating the open-minded reader with all its promise left wasted. I found the Rachel story, a poorly written Blade Runner fanfic the likes of which could be found amidst the archives of a couple thousand fanfiction.net tales, particularly cliche. A couple other stories after that were conceptually stale, but thankfully there is a good amount of salient detail and vision worth ingesting/taking the time to think about. IF YOU DONT REGULARLY READ SCIFI: This jawn is good.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Whyte

    http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1265226.ht...[return][return]This anthology, edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan, pulls together 20 short stories by writers of colour, all exploring different aspects of the colonisation experience through an sfnal lens. They are all very good. I found I had to read most of them very slowly to let the language settle into my brain; I think for that reason my attention lingered a bit more on the stories by Vandana Singh, Maya Khankoje and Tobias Buckell whic http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1265226.ht...[return][return]This anthology, edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan, pulls together 20 short stories by writers of colour, all exploring different aspects of the colonisation experience through an sfnal lens. They are all very good. I found I had to read most of them very slowly to let the language settle into my brain; I think for that reason my attention lingered a bit more on the stories by Vandana Singh, Maya Khankoje and Tobias Buckell which made slightly fewer demands on me. This is a great anthology.

  12. 4 out of 5

    ErinK

    I'd known about this collection for a while but I was freshly inspired to buy it when "post-colonialism" came up in a discussion of Air by Geoff Ryman. The good bit from the introduction (also on the back of the book): "Arguably, one of the most familiar memes of science fiction is that of going to foreign countries and colonizing the natives, and as I've said elsewhere, for many of us, that's not a thrilling adventure story; it's non-fiction, and we are on the wrong side of the strange-looking I'd known about this collection for a while but I was freshly inspired to buy it when "post-colonialism" came up in a discussion of Air by Geoff Ryman. The good bit from the introduction (also on the back of the book): "Arguably, one of the most familiar memes of science fiction is that of going to foreign countries and colonizing the natives, and as I've said elsewhere, for many of us, that's not a thrilling adventure story; it's non-fiction, and we are on the wrong side of the strange-looking ship that appears out of nowhere. To be a person of colour writing science fiction is to be under suspicion of having internalized one's colonization."

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bill Brydon

    “We do not know a planet that is home. We are always home. It is our job to see and map and learn languages and stories and carry them from place to place.” p 186 Griots of the Galaxy “I made myself listen to the birds singing squabbles and love songs. Occasionally I heard a war. Sharp mechanical sounds clashed with the nature music. Bells and whistles mashed together in nagging bursts. My new life was calling. I had to get on with it. Body historians, griots of the galaxy, we didn’t diddle ourse “We do not know a planet that is home. We are always home. It is our job to see and map and learn languages and stories and carry them from place to place.” p 186 Griots of the Galaxy “I made myself listen to the birds singing squabbles and love songs. Occasionally I heard a war. Sharp mechanical sounds clashed with the nature music. Bells and whistles mashed together in nagging bursts. My new life was calling. I had to get on with it. Body historians, griots of the galaxy, we didn’t diddle ourselves in jungle paradises, we inhabited flesh to gather a genealogy of life. We sought the story behind all the stories.”

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    From the story "Delhi," by Vandana Singh: What he must do, he sees at last, is what he has been doing all along: look out for his own kind, the poor and the desperate, and those who walk with death in their eyes. The city's needs are alien, unfathomable. It is an entity in its own right, expanding every day, swallowing the sprawling countryside, crossing the Yamuna which was once its boundary, spawning satellite children, infant towns that it will ultimately devour. Now it is burrowing into the e From the story "Delhi," by Vandana Singh: What he must do, he sees at last, is what he has been doing all along: look out for his own kind, the poor and the desperate, and those who walk with death in their eyes. The city's needs are alien, unfathomable. It is an entity in its own right, expanding every day, swallowing the sprawling countryside, crossing the Yamuna which was once its boundary, spawning satellite children, infant towns that it will ultimately devour. Now it is burrowing into the earth, and even later it will reach long fingers into the stars." (94)

  15. 5 out of 5

    J. McClain

    This was an absolute treasure to read. I don't think there was a single story in here I didn't love.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    Amazing collection of short stories. I now have a lot of authors to add to my to-read list.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ariya

    I will give everything, EVERYTHING TO READ THIS RIGHT NOW!!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten

    This collection was super refreshing but a little uneven. Well worth checking out.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    (too long ago to rate or review, but I'm confident I did learn stuff)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    This excellent anthology of sci-fi short stories is a must for anyone with a love for the genre, although maybe a stretch for people who don't know or love science fiction. Sci-fi has always shone in the short story format. In long form, the science fiction and fantasy genres frequently feel interchangeable, with long, epic journeys pitting scrappy heroes against immense foes. (Orson Scott Card, who I reluctantly have to acknowledge as an imminently respected patriarch of science fiction, once cl This excellent anthology of sci-fi short stories is a must for anyone with a love for the genre, although maybe a stretch for people who don't know or love science fiction. Sci-fi has always shone in the short story format. In long form, the science fiction and fantasy genres frequently feel interchangeable, with long, epic journeys pitting scrappy heroes against immense foes. (Orson Scott Card, who I reluctantly have to acknowledge as an imminently respected patriarch of science fiction, once claimed that the difference between sci-fi and fantasy is that "science fiction has rivets, fantasy has trees.") But in short fiction, sci-fi is freed. Without the need to drag a novel-length plot around, thought experiments and imaginary worlds can shine. Sci-fi can get conceptual, allegorical, metaphorical. Concepts, conceits and universes that would weigh down a full novel can be explored and glimpsed at. Worlds that would fall flat in ten thousand words instead tantalize readers. Much of the best science fiction is in short form, and the editors of this book, Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan, have a good grasp on what makes a great short story, what makes science fiction shine, and how to structure an anthology to do the best by their authors and for their readers. The introductions to each section do an excellent job of contextualizing the stories for readers who may not have the background to understand their nuances otherwise. This is smart not just because these are stories written by people of color for a (historically white) science fiction audience, but also because the authors themselves span many backgrounds and draw on diverse literary and folklore traditions, including North American Indigenous, Afro-Caribbean, Indian and more. I have known and loved sci-fi for a long time, despite its persistent representation issues. I acutely felt the lack of women (or their one-dimensionality) in classic sci-fi as a little girl. And I had thought about, but not really felt, the mindless militaristic imperialism of many of the classics. But I hadn't realized how much of the story I had been missing. Even book series and media that attempt to bring nuance to the classic SF themes of alien conflict (ENDER'S GAME, etc.), expansionism (THE EXPANSE, etc.), exploitation (James Cameron's Avatar, etc.) and intervention (Iain M. Banks's Culture novels, etc.) fall flat in representing the story by necessarily writing with the baggage of white colonialism. In this way, these stories aren't just valuable writings from underrepresented minority voices in genre fiction, as some reviewers might have you believe. They're not just works worth reading to bring "balance" to the genre or to check a diversity box. They are fresh, exciting, breaths of new air in a realm of fiction constantly threatening to stagnate. They turn tired tropes sideways and, at least for me, serve as a reminder why this genre is worth loving. Because sci-fi can feel tired. It can feel oppressively masculine and macho even in the modern era. It can get stuck on the same ideas and mull them over until there are no depths left to plumb. And a loving, devoted reader of sci-fi has to either stick with it, or seek out something else. Diverse perspectives and short fiction can both help alleviate some of that mustiness and tiredness. This anthology combines the best of both of these to create a work that even 15 years later feels fresh and interesting and notable. The stories themselves are a mixed bag. Some would be fun and accessible even to readers who haven't read much sci-fi or speculative fiction and don't know the classic themes ("Delhi", "Lingua Franca"). Others really play on the classics, both in homage and in inverting their perspectives, and readers not into the genre might feel lost without that context ("Panopte's Eye", "Out of Sync", "The Journey Into the Vortex", "Trade Winds"). Most stick with you for a while, even after you've moved on to devour the next one, and the next.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy is an anthology of nineteen short stories collected and edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan. This anthology collects varied science fiction and fantasy short stories from a varied of authors from different cultures. For the most part, I really like most of these contributions. So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy comprises of nineteen short stories categorized into five sections: The Body, Future Ea So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy is an anthology of nineteen short stories collected and edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan. This anthology collects varied science fiction and fantasy short stories from a varied of authors from different cultures. For the most part, I really like most of these contributions. So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy comprises of nineteen short stories categorized into five sections: The Body, Future Earth, Allegory, Encounters with the Alien, and Re-imagining the Past. The contributors are written by African, Asian, South Asian, and Indigenous authors, as well as North American and British writers of color. The mingling of science fiction, speculative fiction, allegory, and fantasy, all clustered around postcolonial themes, means that readers may be struck by some stories and have difficulty with others. However, the diversity of styles and genres creates a tapestry in which themes intersect, harmonize, and enrich each other. Like most anthologies there are weaker contributions and So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy is not an exception. There were a few short stories that weren't conveyed well, but didn't dilute the overall enjoyment of the anthology. All in all, So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy is a well written anthology of short stories in the science fiction and fantasy genres.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    WOW - this is a great anthology! Being a Black, Woman Author in Science Fiction is like swimming upstream against the long established currents created by the early male white writers. Nalo Hopkinson was just starting her writing battle against this current when a friend reminded her of Audre Lorde's comment, "massa's tools will never dismantle massa's house". Suddenly Nalo had to consider that her writing style was too "western" and she did a rethink of her style, characters, voice, language, an WOW - this is a great anthology! Being a Black, Woman Author in Science Fiction is like swimming upstream against the long established currents created by the early male white writers. Nalo Hopkinson was just starting her writing battle against this current when a friend reminded her of Audre Lorde's comment, "massa's tools will never dismantle massa's house". Suddenly Nalo had to consider that her writing style was too "western" and she did a rethink of her style, characters, voice, language, and focus. That change was dramatic and lead to her amazing books focusing on using Afro-Caribbean lore, history, and language in her writing. In this Anthology, Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan co-edit a collection of stories by writers that embrace their "non-western" backgrounds and use the genre to "think about new ways of doing things." You will recognize many of the names and, even better, be introduced to some new authors that you may not have as yet met. Nalo's introduction, alone, is worth reading this book. But I promise you that the nineteen authors you meet will enlarge your world and change your vision - exactly why science fiction is my favorite genre!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shruti

    I'm not going to rate it because like all anthologies, my enjoyment varied wildly from story to story. I'm sure the stories I loved (especially the section on Encounters with the Alien, and Necahual) will not be the favourite stories of someone else. However, the book is well worth reading just to appreciate the freshness of stories that don't rehash the familiar old tropes and cultures. It's like when Ursula Le Guin began writing science fiction and changed our conception of what science fiction I'm not going to rate it because like all anthologies, my enjoyment varied wildly from story to story. I'm sure the stories I loved (especially the section on Encounters with the Alien, and Necahual) will not be the favourite stories of someone else. However, the book is well worth reading just to appreciate the freshness of stories that don't rehash the familiar old tropes and cultures. It's like when Ursula Le Guin began writing science fiction and changed our conception of what science fiction could be. Not all stories are about race or colonialism. In fact, there are some stories that do use "familiar" themes like time travel, first contact with aliens, alien romance etc, but even simple things like a change of setting/culture turn it into a different experience. The starting point matters.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I loved this book. My favorite story was Delhi.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Erin (PT)

    I wanted to like this collection so much more than I did. I feel like I should go on with it, because, as an anthology, there's every chance that, despite my extreme dissatisfaction with the stories I read, the ones that come after it could be wonderful. But I've been so deeply disappointed with the ones I read that I can't find any enthusiasm or desire to keep going. Maybe that could change someday, but right now, I'm just going to file this under "did not finish." Having read and participated i I wanted to like this collection so much more than I did. I feel like I should go on with it, because, as an anthology, there's every chance that, despite my extreme dissatisfaction with the stories I read, the ones that come after it could be wonderful. But I've been so deeply disappointed with the ones I read that I can't find any enthusiasm or desire to keep going. Maybe that could change someday, but right now, I'm just going to file this under "did not finish." Having read and participated in some of the discussion about the fairly pervasive whiteness and Eurocentrism of the SFF genre, I was really extremely excited by the prospect of this anthology, but having read through the first half-dozen stories, the actuality didn't meet those expectations. It's, largely, very much a personal, stylistic problem. Of those stories I read, most of them were so stylized and impressionistic as to be almost incomprehensible and I much prefer a more linear narrative. Secondly, most of the stories I read were not actually stories; they were more vignettes and character studies, with no real beginning, middle, end or conflict to speak of, which, again, made them far less interesting or entertaining to me. In some sense, this makes me wonder/worry that my tastes are so hopelessly Eurocentric that I can't appreciate other styles, other means of telling stories, but I don't entirely believe that to be the case and, even if it was/is, it's not something I'm able to change just by wishing it so. I do hope to pick this up again at some point and I hope, even more so, to find stories that appeal to me and my taste, but I don't anticipate it being any time soon.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    It is difficult to give a rating to a collection of stories because obviously some of these stories are better than others. Additionally, many of these stories feel like the beginning developments of what will be come novels--stories that therefore remain disappointing as SHORT stories. I do not make this comment to imply that the short story form is, in itself, an inchoate form compared to the novel. However, as short stories, some of the stories in his collection fail to convince me that they It is difficult to give a rating to a collection of stories because obviously some of these stories are better than others. Additionally, many of these stories feel like the beginning developments of what will be come novels--stories that therefore remain disappointing as SHORT stories. I do not make this comment to imply that the short story form is, in itself, an inchoate form compared to the novel. However, as short stories, some of the stories in his collection fail to convince me that they should be or are intended to be short stories (to fully explain this point I'd have to review the collection on a story-by-story basis, which this short review will not attempt to do!). Here are the stories I liked: Deep End, Delhi (although the message at the end is too heavy-handed for my tastes), Trade Winds (although I think I just like this story because of how much it takes from, or is reminiscent of, Octavia Butler), and Out of Sync (although this story in particular strikes me as one that is not intended to stay a short story--if it becomes a novel, I'd like to read it!). Honorable mentions, the stories that made me think about them critically but didn't bowl me over, include: Toot Sweet Matricia, Rachel (told from Rachel's perspective from Blade Runner/ Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep) and Native Aliens. As you can see from all of my asides and hesitations, I was basically disappointed by this collection (as other reviewers on this site seem to be). However, I'm certainly interested in continuing to investigate postcolonial SF!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Samantha (AK)

    Anthologies are hard to review because you have such a mix of voices to work with. Reading them, I end up slowing down, working with each story on it's own. You can't rush the reading. (Which is difficult for me). Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan have compiled a beautiful collection, here. These are stories and voices I have not heard; peoples and memories that are not often told, and it's wonderful. There was only one work in this collection that fell utterly flat for me (Rachel by Larissa Lai). Anthologies are hard to review because you have such a mix of voices to work with. Reading them, I end up slowing down, working with each story on it's own. You can't rush the reading. (Which is difficult for me). Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan have compiled a beautiful collection, here. These are stories and voices I have not heard; peoples and memories that are not often told, and it's wonderful. There was only one work in this collection that fell utterly flat for me (Rachel by Larissa Lai). As much as I support transformative works, this particular short story was far enough removed from the themes of the novel from which it was derived that I couldn't get into it. I appreciate what the author was trying to convey, but I don't think she succeeded here. That aside, this was a very enjoyable (read? study? experience?). Someday I'll figure out a better way to review anthologies.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    I really enjoyed reading "So Long Been Dreaming" many stories in this anthology push the boundaries of what we are familiar with in a fantasy or Science Fiction world, the authors have taken risks in exploring the issues raised, and in the fascinating look at colonizing, colonized, and colonizers. Like any anthology some stories in this collection were fantastic, some were great, and many were good. Some of the stories felt like they ended to soon,or were rushed, and perhaps they are snippets of I really enjoyed reading "So Long Been Dreaming" many stories in this anthology push the boundaries of what we are familiar with in a fantasy or Science Fiction world, the authors have taken risks in exploring the issues raised, and in the fascinating look at colonizing, colonized, and colonizers. Like any anthology some stories in this collection were fantastic, some were great, and many were good. Some of the stories felt like they ended to soon,or were rushed, and perhaps they are snippets of fuller stories to come by these amazing authors. Though I am a life long Sci-Fi Fantasy, speculative fiction reader it is a treat to be introduced to a wide range of writers looking at SF/F from a different viewpoint. It is always a treat to read new authors I have not discovered yet. I will be adding many of the authors from this anthology to my to-read list.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Colin

    Nalo Hopkinson is one of my favorite writers ever, so I was really, really excited about the prospect of this anthology. I got it from the library when it first came out and never made it through, then I bought it on my roadtrip and it still took me months to finish it. I found it to be really choppy. The first third of the book was really slow, then there were several stories I really liked, then I lagged on finishing it. I still have about 20 pages left and I can't bring myself to pick it back Nalo Hopkinson is one of my favorite writers ever, so I was really, really excited about the prospect of this anthology. I got it from the library when it first came out and never made it through, then I bought it on my roadtrip and it still took me months to finish it. I found it to be really choppy. The first third of the book was really slow, then there were several stories I really liked, then I lagged on finishing it. I still have about 20 pages left and I can't bring myself to pick it back up again right now, but I'm tired of seeing it on my currently-reading shelf. I love the ideas behind this anthology, yet I felt like a lot of the stories were excerpts from longer works that didn't really work as short stories for me. I was kinda disappointed. Meh.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Carmilla Voiez

    Reading this collection was an intensely alien experience, but in the best possible way. The short stories are a mix of sci-fi, speculative and fantasy fiction from a wide variety of writers. The language used feels different to what I usually encounter and while that takes some getting used to, it actually makes the stories feel more real and the characters more unique. My favourite of all was a story called Delhi by Vandana Singh which took us through the past, present and future of the crowde Reading this collection was an intensely alien experience, but in the best possible way. The short stories are a mix of sci-fi, speculative and fantasy fiction from a wide variety of writers. The language used feels different to what I usually encounter and while that takes some getting used to, it actually makes the stories feel more real and the characters more unique. My favourite of all was a story called Delhi by Vandana Singh which took us through the past, present and future of the crowded city. Rachel, The Grassdreaming Tree and Refugees really connected with me as well. But they were all great stories, feats of imagination, and peeks into the world of post-coloniality. In all a beautiful and satisfying read.

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