Anthology. Edited by Nisi Shawl
When the ‘New Suns’ anthology was announced a few months ago many things attracted my attention.
First of all, the cover. The illustration draw by Yoshi Yoshitani is a success: striking and so much in the line of the reasons behind this publication. On the other hand, the writer’s list. An absolute heterogeneous list of names, with a wider range of cultures: Indians, African-American, Native Americans but with very distinct foreign backgrounds, etc. And, mostly, a wider selection of Asian culture that makes the anthology a very interesting sample of what is going on out of the literature we usually read.
The name’s list interest grows if you are curious about other origins and cultures. Fortunately, nowadays we are having more and more literature coming from out of the USA and Europe. Although there are a few names we all know, they are just knocking a door through which many other writers will go in the next decade. In addition, ‘New Suns’ anthology cover text does not highlight the most known names within the book – at least, those I personally know more, as Tobias S. Buckell or Silvia Moreno-Garcia. This might be something not wanted, but looks like a very interesting action in order to promote less known authors.
It is a bit of a cliché to say that anthologies are usually some kind of emotional roller coasters. You can read a fantastic tale, with an amazing sense of wonder which engages with you from the very beginning. However, the next one can be completely different, and not being attractive for the reader at all. I have to recognize that ‘New Suns’ is one of the anthologies where I most have had this feeling. But, although the average mark could be not very high, the truth is that there is a handful of stories that a mention is well deserved.
One of this is ´The Fine Print´, by Chinelo Onwualu. An amazing tale of parent’s love to their children, human desires. A remarkable Faust’s tale revision.
‘Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex’ by Tobias S. Buckell is another remarkable science fiction tale. The Earth is now a visit destination for galactic tourists. The difference is that this story is probably the funniest story of the whole anthology. Related to tourism there is also ‘Come Home to Atropos’ by Steven Barnes which is also a good an interesting one.
I also want to mention ‘The Shadow We Cast through Time’, written by Indrapramit Das. This story summarize most of my feelings when reading ‘New Suns’. On one hand, a tale full of details, a complex one to be read bit by bit. On the other, a narrative I didn’t connect at all with.
A safe bet was Silvia Moreno-García and her ‘Give Me Your Black Wings Oh Sister’. She does not disappoint, writing a highly emotional tale which is closed with success. Similar can be said about ‘Harvest’, by Rebecca Roanhorse. A quick love story which includes one of the recurring themes in the anthology, colonialism.
In addition to 17 tales, the book also includes an introduction by Levar Burton and a foreword by the editor Nisi Shawl. I can’t deny there are some tales I didn’t like – as it happens with most of anthologies. However, ‘New Suns’ allows us to read other concerns about the past, present and future world from those we usually get in other books. Definitively, this journey along different cultures, different ways of writing and understanding the genre is a well worthy experience.