With a lot of stuff going on at the moment, I guess I was being indecisive about the many audiobooks I’ve got lined up ready, and ready to go. I had a lot to do and my 4 year old has an uncurable case of “bull in a China shop” syndrome.
But I needed a good dose of imaginitive fueled reading to maintain on this Monday. So, I started perusing some of the newer releases and stumbled across this six story collection of new space fiction by some familiar, very accomplished writers.
What got me excited was that I knew the names, but had yet to read ANY of their previous work. When I calculated the enticing elements that pop out of each story’s blurb, the overall promoting our awareness and importance of diversity, that they were very short, and perhaps what would be the deal breaker for today: I could listen, and read, all of them at no cost, with my amazon/audiobook memberships.
Now, Amazon does comes through every once in awhile. You just have to let go of the whole Big business will collapse the economy and usher in our real life impending Dystopia. (The cover designs might also serve the purpose of distraction. When that much bright neon is looked upon, the brain is known to scientifically mute any compulsions towards preventing the apocalypse. You knew that, right?
Anyways, Last year I think they did a similar science fiction anthology that was themed “Future” or “Forward” (I believe “Forward” was the correct theme.) I listened to two or three, but only really recall the one written by Nkedi Okrafor. It was about an “alien-like” character landing on earth a few hundred years down the time stream. On a visit to do a survey on the recovery status of planet earth after a major cataclysmic event forced a speedy evacuation of humanity a few hundred years in the past.
I loved the sly undertones that could provoke an air of hilarity that was masterly kept in check by the believability of terror I experienced by the freaked out non-hostile “alien”.
So today I picked one, downloaded it, and initiated “git er done” mode. Two really short reviews will follow.
After the coming description of the collection, are my quick thoughts on some all around review worthy tales. Again, both are from the newly released “Black Stars.” An anthology of far flung space opera and science fiction stories from a select group of immensely talented writers.
The sky is not the limit. From an alley in New York to an interstellar wormhole, the path to the future looks different for everyone. These cosmic short stories from some of today’s most influential Black authors reveal a universe of possibilities.
These Alien Skies by C.T. Rwizi
*Narration performed by Indya Moore
Proof, that an A+ space opera can be created within the boundaries of a short story. It was Short enough that it was over and being awarded its 5 stars as my haircut ended.
i started it while making tuna melts for the family, and then a self haircut. Normally I monotonous task. The excellent voice of Indya Moore, made listening to the audiobook all the more enjoyable and I am in awe of such creative teamwork. Pretty sure I gave a secretive head nod to the writer, for such a fantastic ending. I went through the mental sinkhole of loss with the MC, while embracing the resolute courage to go forward and then be able to escape an anticipated ending that was as likely as the light of a full moon steadily pouring its beacon-like light, back out of the infinite grip of a black hole.
A great team and now the second of stories in this collection i’ve been struck by……….
*Sidenote: If you just got The King of Pop moonwalking illegally through your brain, like a smooth criminal, I did too.
We Travel The Spaceways by Victor LaValle
*Narrated By Brian Tyree Henry
Credit to the audiobook narrator for giving the story an extra dimension to what is a very powerful tale. Best of all, the main characters name is “Grimace” who was probably better know to those of us around, even as kids, back in the 80’s. This is officially my first Victor Lavalle read to date, and I savored every minute of it.
If I had to choose, I would pick this story over These Alien Skies. As Grimace goes through the events of the story, you can’t help but want to jump in and wish you could offer a hand, or be his friend, or just a quiet and friendly”what’s up man?” As I pass him on the sidewalk. I will not discuss the scifi elements here, but its mentally staggering and my scifi heart was melting, even amidst some unbelievable actions.
What really struck me was the way the story flips from the heart shattering reality of poverty and mental illness to a grand scale Cosmic space operatic vision. Read it, listen to it, cry to it. It’s raw and for such a short read, provided much payoff.
That’s it folks! Thanks for coming along on my journey with scifi and books today. I know this is not a normal review post, but I hope it offers something to someone.
Take care all!