I’m so excited to see Forever Vacancy on this list – it’s out now, and I have a story “The Honeymoon Suite: Jacob’s Reunion” which is about a black gay man who has to go to his dead lover’s high school reunion in Atlanta and makes the mistake of booking into the accursed Kretcher Motel. Revenge, hexes, and the need to “get out” ensue.
If novels are the meat and bones of Black Speculative Fiction – science fiction, fantasy and horror written by and about people of African descent – then short stories are the lifeblood.
Anthologies are great because the short fiction found within them allows readers to expand their reading horizons in a relatively short amount of time through diverse stories written in a variety of writing styles.
Here are 10 Black Speculative Fiction anthologies that will show you just how Blacktastic science fiction, fantasy and horror storytelling can get.
This groundbreaking anthology brings together twenty authors to craft original short superhero stories.
BLACK POWER: THE SUPERHERO ANTHOLOGY offers BANG-POW-THOOM action, searing satire, and thoughtful social commentary from a people too often overlooked in mainstream comic books and heroic cinema and television.
The superheroes in BLACK POWER: THE SUPERHERO ANTHOLOGY come from all walks of life. Some…
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I am so excited to be one of the contestants in the Next Great Horror Writer Contest! Please follow the contest, click through and follow the blog, get to know the contestants in #NHWC and give us your support. ❤
At last! After months of submissions, judging, and deliberating, We have our top 14 writers competing in the #NGHW contest! Follow your favorite, cheer them on, and keep up with the show to find out who wins. For more information, subscribe to the #NGHW blog.
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I am so proud to be one of the contestants in the Next Great Horror Writer Contest. Please follow the contest and check out the contestants.
Source: #NGHW Contestants Announced!
I’m a guest blogger on HorrorAddicts.net today
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I’ve finally gotten around to updating the 60 Black Women in Horror list from 2013/2014. Here are 20 more women (for a total of 80). There are probably 20 or 40 more where these came from… as I research, I find more and more black women who are categorized as sci-fi or fantasy writers who also write horror. Before I continue to the list, I would like to take out the time to thank these most invaluable resources:
British-Nigerian horror writer Nuzo Onoh is the author of The Reluctant Dead, Unhallowed Graves, and The Sleepless. A pioneer in the African horror genre, she mixes traditional beliefs with unnerving supernatural terror. The daughter of Dr. C.C.Onoh, chief and governor of the Old Anambra State, she was subjected to a terrifying exorcism attempt as a child. This impacted her worldview and as a result she is an advocate fighting against the ritual abuse of children in Africa.
Lori Titus is the author of Lazarus, Hunting in Closed Spaces, Blood Relations, The Bell House, and several other novels and novellas in the dark speculative fiction realm. Her Afrocentric paranormal Marradith Ryder series is about Sojourner: a slayer or hunter tasked with seeking out and addressing supernatural threats like shape-shifters, demons, and warlocks.
C.C. Spivey is the author of the vampire novel Reborn. It is about an African vampire, Tytarion, who rescues Mayan, an African American runaway slave of mixed heritage, from the evil plantation master who is her father. He turns Mayan into a vampire and nurses her back to health in hopes that she will become strong enough physically to carry his immortal heir.
Alexandra Lane is the author of A Vision of Angels: The Battle Begins, and Donum: The Battle Has Already Begun, two novels in the religious supernatural horror genre dealing with fallen angels and the apocalypse. The first story takes place in historical Maryland during the slavery era, and it’s central protagonist, Minty, is a slave. The second takes place in modern times.
5. Tonya R. Moore
Speculative fiction writer Tonya R. Moore writes science-fiction, paranormal fantasy and horror. Her out-of-print short story collection On the Brink contained tales about ghosts, mermaids, vampires, urban monsters, androids and witches. Her horror novelette Sea Witch Song is about a grieving lover who plays a song that entices sea monsters up from the deep. She has contributed stories to eFiction Magazine, Black Girl Lit Magic, and Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road.
6. Ann Lane Petry
The African American novelist Ann Petry was the first black woman to become a bestselling author, selling over a million copies of her 1946 novel The Street. Although her mainstream novels are urban and historical fiction surrounding issues faced by black women during and after slavery, she wrote short stories in the horror genre, including the ghost story The Bones of Louella Brown from the collection Miss Muriel and Other Stories. Her novels include magical realism, gothic imagery, and a Western fear of hoodoo consistent with the American horror genre. Other novels include the critically acclaimed The Narrows and the Y.A. novel Tituba of Salem Village.
7. Zin E. Rocklyn
An American of Trinidadian descent, her short story Need is part of the Forever Vacancy anthology. Her short story Summer Skin is in the Sycorax’s Daughters anthology. She has a series of online horror stories available at Oblique 30, where she is one of the regular contributors.
8. Tlotlo Tsamaase
Bessie Head Literary Award and Black Crake Books Award winning author Tlotlo Tsamaase from Goborone, Botswana writes sci-fi and horror short stories and poetry rife with sub-textual messages regarding black woman’s struggle. Her works include the Rhysling Award nominated I Will Be Your Grave, Sebeteledi Holds the Dead (from the An Alphabet of Embers anthology), The Palapye White Birch and Virtual Snapshots.
9. Kyoko M
Author of the Amazon Bestselling supernatural thriller The Black Parade, about an alcoholic waitress who becomes a seer tasked with helping one hundred earthbound spirits to cross over into the afterlife. It is the first in a three book series along with She Who Fights Monsters and The Holy Dark. Of Cinder and Dust, combines sci-fi, fantasy and horror when scientists learn to clone once-extinct dragons. The embryos are stolen by Yakuza, who mutate them, turning them into bloodthirsty, gruesome, malformed beasts.
A founding member of Colors in Darkness (CID), a group for diverse horror writers, dark speculative fiction author Kenya Moss-Dyme won scholastic awards for writing horror short stories in her teens. She is the author of Daymares, a seven story horror collection, Devil Inside, a psychological horror story about a cancer survivor who is tortured and mutated under the care of an evil, twisted, unethical nurse who experiments on her. She’s written several gritty thrillers dealing with real life horrors including the Prey for Me series with takes on child molestation within the church and the A Good Wife series which tackles domestic violence.
The author of Belly of the Mountain, and Back in the Belly of the Mountain, horror stories surrounding the havoc wreaked in the wake of the restless spirit of a slave which haunting the East Kentucky mountains. She also wrote a short story for the Winter’s Chill horror anthology.
Self-described “Writer of romance, speculative fiction and horror, sometimes all three” Dahlia DeWinters has horror shorts in the notable black horror anthologies Black Girl Magic: Horror Edition and CID’s Forever Vacancy. Her novels include the southern gothic horror novel Tea and Tomahawks, the zombie-themed paranormal romance Loving Among the Dead, and the paranormal romance Reluctant Magic. She also writes horror reviews for her blog, The Sultry Scribe.
She is the author of several horror, paranormal fantasy and paranormal mystery, and young adult titles. She was a 2015 Kindle Book Awards finalist for The Time of Sanura, the third book in her Madame Lilly horror series about a vengeance-driven Creole voodoo priestess born in the 1800s who uses dark magic to become immortal. Other titles include the paranormal murder mystery Anguta’s Reign, and the paranormal fantasy Blood Thirst; An Eternal Romance.
Pauline E. Hopkins
One of the lesser-known figures of the Harlem Renaissance, she was a prominent African American novelist best known for her Afrocentric historical romances. Her short story Talma Gordon, published in 1900 in The Colored American Magazine, considered by many the first African-American mystery story. Her fourth novel, Of One Blood, mixed dark fantasy with realism, setting the stage for the magical realism that would become a mainstay of modern African-American literary fiction. It mixes gothic horror and fantasy to tell the story of one educated black man’s journey to racial self-discovery.
Her debut young adult fiction novel “Doll” is like Mean Girls vs. The Craft. The popular but cruel Pepper Fox has amassed a number of tormented victims from among her high school’s outcast underdogs. Three of the aforementioned, Tomie, Sari, and Opal, travel to Louisiana to pick up a little voodoo magic remedy for the school’s one-woman bullying issue. She writes for the YA/NA set in several genres, but horror and suspense are her primary forte. She has over twenty published short stories and more than seventy works of flash fiction.
In her horror/sci-fi tale of the zombie apocalypse, The Un-United States of Z Trilogy, not even the rise of the undead can stem the tide of racial division here in the good old USA. Dr. Zen Marley, is torn between his black Southern roots and his preppy West Coast professor image until he is bitten by his recently zombified mother. Infected but coherent, he tries to find the cure while dealing with a racial divide that is exasperated by the collapse of society. The Beast of Bodmin Moor is a gothic tale about a legendary monster and mysteriously disappearing cattle. The short story He Who Would Be King deals with an ancient monster of lore: the djinn.
The prolific Rasheedah Prioleau writes in several dark speculative fiction genres, including horror, supernatural thriller, dystopian space opera and paranormal romance. The Princess X Series is a space opera about the blind orphan Amullette Rose who leaves her space colony to go into hiding because she has a dark secret. American Specter: The Seven Sisters is a supernatural thriller featuring FBI Agent Audra Wheeler. After a paranormal attack leaves her sister Kendra in a coma, Audra uses her investigative skills to go after a ghostly killer. The chase leads her to Specter, Georgia, a town where ghosts of the dead coexist with the living. Everlasting: Da Eb’Bulastin is the first book in the Sa’Fyre Island Book Series, about Aiyana Gamelle, a woman of Gullah and Native American ancestry who learns that her transformation into the Queen of Sa’Fyre Island involves a family curse and unwanted possession.
She writes dystopian fiction, gothic horror, historical fantasies and other speculative fiction. Her debut novel on Storm Moon Press, Tuesday Apocalypse takes place in the 1940s in a post-apocalyptic London where tentacle monsters draw a nun and a young girl into increasingly treacherous worlds of erotic temptation and madness. She has written dark poetry and short stories in Infernal Ink Magazine and Poems from the Darkside.
Jewell Parker Rhodes
Her debut novel Voodoo Dreams, and her Marie Laveau Trilogy, Season, Moon, and Hurricane, which are based on the legend of famous New Orleans voodoo priestess Marie Laveau tell terrifying tales of ritualized magic being used to enslave black women and create zombie-like Sleeping Beauties for a horrifying modern revival of the fetishizing quadroon balls. She has recieved the Coretta Scott King Honor Award for Ninth Ward, and the American Book Award for Douglass’ Women.
Nicole Givens Kurtz
Dark science-fiction often dances along the fine line between pure sci-fi and true horror. Stories like The Soul Cages, the first book in The Minister Knights of Souls Series features a black protagonist, Sarah, uses the sci-fi context to address the political issue of slavery. Sarah is reincarnated into Valek’s soul cages, where she can’t experience human senses or love, and desires to return to human flesh. Although the story takes place in outer space, the use of magic puts it in the dark fantasy category. The post-apocalyptic dystopic world of The Cybil Lewis Series is not horror but is definitely in the dark speculative fiction wheelhouse.
Warning: TV Spoilers and Identity Politics To Follow, gross triggering photos of television death scenes.
I often blog about black identity, and less often do I speak on biracial identity and interracial marriage. However, with the 50th Anniversary of Loving vs Virginia this coming summer, and the Republican pushback against same sex marriage legislation, I think it’s an important time to have this conversation. Like President Obama, I saw a lot of parallels between the fight for same sex marriage and the fight for interracial marriage. If they come at them first, they might come at us next.
Growing up as a biracial child in the 1970s, some people treated me like I was a space alien. Strangers came up to me on the streets, or on the city bus, wanting to touch my hair or ask my mother nosy, rude questions about me, my brother and our parentage. The first time I saw a television program mention the existence of biracial children was the Jeffersons, and even there, the actors who portrayed the so-call mixed children were one white and one black, not mixed at all.
They used derogatory slurs to describe us, “zebras.”
June 12, 1967 will be the 50th Anniversary of Loving vs Virginia, the landmark decision that made interracial marriage legal on the federal level here in the United States. This summer will also be the 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love. I’ll be 49 on March 20. I was conceived during the Summer of Love. My parents married on May 11, 1967– a month before Loving vs. Virginia became law.
Fifty years isn’t a long time. A lot has changed. The United States has had its black president, and although some people cracked jokes about his biracial heritage back in 2007 on the campaign trail, no one would dare call Barrack Obama a zebra. In other ways, we haven’t come that far at all, and we most definitely aren’t post-racial.
I pay a lot of attention to how biracial people and interracial couples are portrayed in fiction, and over the past fifteen years since 9/11, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. The old cuckolding fear of the biracial child has resurfaced with vengeance.
If you know the origin of the term cuckolding, you understand that it was the fear of an interloper, someone from a different gene pool, taking over a man’s family blood line and usurping his children’s inheritance by impregnating his wife. It comes from the cuckoo bird that leaves her egg in another bird’s nest. The cuckoo is raised by the unwitting family, only to push the other young birds out of the nest and take over.
There have been some famous stories about this kind of fear. Modern motion pictures based on the Emily Bronte classic Wuthering Heights tend to obscure Heathcliff’s race, but the text uses terms like swarthy that were typically used to describe people from India at that time. The text suggests that Heathcliff was an Indian orphan adopted by an English colonial family. When he grew up and expressed romantic interest in his foster sister, Katherine, all of the innocence of childhood turned ugly because this foreign man could not be allowed to inherit.
In Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Mr. Rochester keeps a dark secret: a creole wife named Bertha Mason, who has lost her mind and is illegally imprisoned inside his house while he spends her dowry and inheritance. Dominican author Jean Rhys wrote her 1966 novel Wide Sargasso Sea as a prequel to Jane Eyre. It tells the tragic story of Antoinette, a young creole heiress imprisoned and driven to madness by her abusive English husband, who renames her Bertha.
These are older stories, but modern narratives mimic the same colonialist views of protagonists of color. The fear of an interloper of color is very much at work in a number of modern television plots.
Before I get into some very obvious cases of this kind of thing occurring in Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, I’d like to take a little side trip into the case of the unfortunate Rhonda Lyon, the token white girl on the television show Empire. The minute Andre and Rhonda Lyon announced her pregnancy, the character was doomed. She’s already taken a lot of shit about her race from the philandering light skinned Luscious Lyon. Now, Luscious’ even lighter skinned evil as hell creole side chick Anika is pregnant. While all of this colorism is at work, there’s a side plot about bipolar disorder. Luscious is ashamed of his crazy mother. His crazy mother says Luscious is just as nutty as she is, and there is a lot of evidence supporting that. Andre is crazy, and Luscious probably doesn’t want his defective genes passed on anyway. Evil light skin boo book kitty Anika first kills off the unborn biracial child, then gets rid of Rhonda, her white competition.
Now that we are done talking about how killed off the biracial baby and its white mother on Empire, hopefully I can talk about WTF happened to Glenn Rhee on The Walking Dead, Talisa Stark and Khal Drogo on Game of Thrones, Cordelia Chase on Angel, and Lily Tyler on the 4400 without too many white tears. Before I go any further, can anyone explain to me how Connor and Cordelia’s offspring ended up being a full-grown AfroLatina demon portrayed by Gina Torres? Cordelia is Latino, I get that part, but are we sure Connor is the real father? Moving right along…
The cuckolding fear expressed in Wuthering Heights got a new, even more blatantly racist update when TWD decided that the best way to make everyone hate Negan was to force the ever-bland protagonist Rick to choose between his biological son, aka boy-in-refrigerator Carl, and his foster child, the spunky but unfortunately unrelated and non-white Glenn Rhee. Glenn has recently committed a sin that Negan, who doesn’t “want to seem racist” in the comic, is unlikely to be able to forgive. He’s impregnated white farm girl Maggie Green, thereby ensuring there will be another generation of Korean genes in the Atlanta section of the zombie apocalypse. Rather than allowing the two to marry, so that Glenn can further pollute the Aryan genetic pool, Negan bashes his brains out in the comic and on the television show.
Now, some people say that particularly brutal deaths are saved for characters of color on these television programs. In Valerie Estelle Frankel’s 2014 book Women in the Game of Thrones: Power, Conformity and Resistance there is some discussion of this in regards to the death of Talisa Stark. Although all fans of the George RR Martin series “Song of Fire and Ice” were already familiar with The Red Wedding, the television show decided to up the ante by having the already pregnant Talisa point to her obvious pregnancy and her unborn son as evidence that her marriage to Rob Stark had been consummated. This resulted in a particularly brutal death for her and her unborn child.
On a television show where brutal deaths are common, the impact of her death alone is easy to overlook. However, continual references to white empowerment, white savio
rhood, and repeated brutal deaths for colored cast members cannot be continually overlooked. The Khalessi Daenerys Targaryen, an uber-white, uber-blonde young virgin is impregnated by the brown skinned Khal Drogo, played by Jason Momoa, an actor of Hawaiian heritage. Subsequently, he dies, and his unborn offspring turn into handy dragons so that the white queen can reign without the threat of actual colored heirs. She goes on to recruit and army of castrated black men who can’t impregnate anyone, protecting the white fragility and genetic purity of the Targaryen line and colonialism everywhere!
Meanwhile, Oona Chaplin, an actress of Columbian heritage, plays the ill-fated Talisa. The character was portrayed as a woman of color on the show. Oberyn Martell, pl
ayed by Pedro Pascal, dies a particularly gruesome (albeit heroic) death after he shows up, reminding everyone that Myrcella Baratheon, now betrothed to and in love with non-white prince Prince Trystane Martell, is the rightful heir to Joffrey. Myrcella is poisoned, and Trystane is stabbed in the neck. Draw your own conclusions. Needless to say, one of Joffrey’s other super-blond, inbred siblings took the throne under the secret rule of super-white Cersei, the anti-Daenerys. Cersei is going to make sure lily white Lannisters stay in power while Daenerys white saviors the known Westeros to death. I know what you’re thinking: lots of white people who aren’t Dany are dying horribly on GOT. I should be grateful that Dany is rescuing the safely neutered black men on GOT. What am I complaining about, really?
I’ve often bitched about the continual slaughter of people of color on The Walking Dead. I can’t even get started on the deaths of members of the LGBT community, since they rarely allow them to leave the comics and get on the show to begin with. They seem to kill off a black person every time a new black person gets on the show. It’s tedious. They had about three different dudes who looked like T-Dog, the last of which was the sensitive Tyreese, who like everyone else, had to protect the darling white baby Judith. He dies trying to save white baby Judith. The last I heard, Negan was creeping up on sweet innocent baby Judith. Who cares about Tyreese or Glenn, as long as baby zombie bait is living? I hope Glenn’s non-white baby doesn’t think she’s going to take any valuable screen time away from baby Judith, who represents the virginal white girl who lives at the end of every horror film. Luckily, the television show used the ever-popular Daryl as a plot device to avoid race baiting the television viewership with Negan’s horribly bigoted comic book speeches.
Michonne has taken to sleeping with Rick. That may or may not protect her from dying horribly to protect Carl or baby Judith – that and the fact that she’s still more popular than Rick and possibly Daryl. Although they can spend two or three seasons trying to get people to forget she exists, like they did with Glenn before wiping him out. Or they could make terrible things happen to her the way they did with Lori and Glenn and do with Carl and anyone else with the misfortune of getting too close to Rick. Last I heard she’s taken time off from being Rick’s bed wench to try and kill Negan. She is probably sick of Rick whining about how Judith is not his real child. She probably has to save Judith from Negan now. We all need to save Judith. It’s all about Judith, really.
It’s been a long time since the 4400 and Angel went off the air, but I think these two deserve special mention because they embody the particular fear of a biracial planet that struck a safe distance after 9/11.
Immediately after 9/11, a surge towards nationalism made it so that interracial couples like Richard Tyler and Lily Moore Tyler were incredibly popular as a part of the usual United Colors of Benneton, GAP kids, Old Navy commercialized ode to unity biracial people and our families usually are in times of strife. Whenever there is tension, they look upon us to become a walking billboard. We epitomize what MLK’s Dream speech means to white liberal hippies, and not-so-liberal folks who want to get out of discussing race by claiming we are post-racial. Then, when mixed kids start declaring their alliance with their colored parents, and we get closer to things like an Obama presidency, that old fear of cuckolding and the Heathcliff-like non-white interloper who comes up through your white educational and inheritance systems and then declares a sudden, frightening allegiance to community colors rears its head. The cute couple that was Richard and Lily in 2004 becomes a dead Lily and an evil biracial kid named Isabelle Tyler by 2007. Like most evil biracial offspring, Isabelle instantly ages to threatening puberty before going full on evil.
You might almost think Joss Whedon was just fucking with people when you saw Connor murder a virgin so that Cordelia Chase could deliver, by disgusting supernatural caesarean section from hell, a fully grown and totally new age evil Jasmine (played by Gina Torres). Cordelia had been portraying Jasmine as an alternate personality in her own not-that-white body with her loathed, uppity, bougie Latina mean girl character for a while before she gave birth to Jasmine. Although it was likely an attempt to get rid of some unpopular characters, namely Cordelia and Connor, it comes off like a joke-version of the later exchange on the 4400.
The Jasmine storyline took place between 2003 and 2004, a safe distance away from the fear of offending colored people that embraced America during the wave of out-and-out Islamophobia and colorism that we experienced in the wake of 9/11. The fake-assed multicultural unity haze wore off. Now we were back to the age-old story pertaining to white fear of colored people sneak popping into their bloodlines and taking away their inheritance.
With Obama out of office, the anti-race mixing hate might tone down a little bit. Like I said, these kinds of storylines are about latent racism. You see less of them when you are living in a world with more open bigotry. I was going to say “with Trump in office,” but the reality of the situation is that these kinds of fears relate to unspoken or unacknowledged biases, not blatant, in your face bigotry. That’s why you get so much pushback from the pseudo-liberal fandom when you mention the obvious political implications of killing off characters in interracial relationships the minute they make a biracial baby – or even threaten to sit a biracial heir on a throne.
For same sex couples, it’s even worse. In the television miniseries of Stephen King’s Under the Dome, married same-sex interracial couple Carolyn Hill and Alice Calvert barely get any screen time together before Alice is killed off, leaving Carolyn as the butch black nanny/stepmother to wayward white teen Norrie. Not only does it put Carolyn in the same black mammy/nanny bag they shoved poor Tyreese in before wiping him out on The Walking Dead, but it insulates bigoted audiences from having to be offended by any displays of actual physical affection between Carolyn and Alice, or suggestions that they might be getting it on with each other.