REVIEW | The Black Stars Collection

I read The Forward Collection and followed it up with The Trespass Collection, which I thought was the whole lot. It turns out there’s a lot of collections I missed, and The Black Stars Collection is the next one I stumbled across! They’re available in ebook and audio via Kindle Unlimited, which is a great deal for lots of interesting short fiction. If you’d like to sign up for Kindle Unlimited, my link is here and at the bottom of this review. This collection is a sci-fi collection by Black authors looking at new worlds.


The Visit by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:

About the book: One night in Lagos, two former friends reunite. Obinna is a dutiful and unsophisticated stay-at-home husband and father married to a powerful businesswoman. Eze is single, a cautious rebel from his university days whose arrival soon upsets the balance in Obinna’s life. In a world where men are constantly under surveillance and subject to the whims of powerful women, more than Obinna’s ordered and accustomed routine might be on the line.

My review: What a start to this collection. A role-reversal story where a matriarchal society dominates highlighted societal inequalities in stark relief. When reflected this way, they seem completely ridiculous, and yet all of the inequalities are true for women. This story was only 20 pages but I crammed it full of highlights as the clever and emotive text shone an unforgiving light on society. If this is any indicator, I need to read more of Adichie’s writing because this was excellent.

Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads | Amazon


The Black Pages by Nnedi Okorafor:

About the book: Five miles off the South Carolina coast, Darden and Catherina are getting their promised forty acres, all of it undersea. Like every Black “mer,” they’ve been experimentally modified to adapt to their new subaquatic home—and have met with extreme resistance from white supremacists. Darden has an inspired plan for resolution. For both those on land and the webbed bottom-dwellers below, Darden is hoping to change the wave of the future.

My review: This was incredibly intense. My heart was in my throat for most of this book and I was waiting very anxiously to find out what happened next. This felt like the prologue to something bigger and honestly? I desperately want to read a whole book about this. There’s so much to know and so much mythology and mystery twisted together, especially in the last few pages, that I’m hungry for more. The writing was incredibly emotive and evocative, and I could have kept reading it for days without hesitation.

Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads | Amazon


2043: A Merman I Should Turn to Be by Nisi Shawl:

About the book: Five miles off the South Carolina coast, Darden and Catherina are getting their promised forty acres, all of it undersea. Like every Black “mer,” they’ve been experimentally modified to adapt to their new subaquatic home—and have met with extreme resistance from white supremacists. Darden has an inspired plan for resolution. For both those on land and the webbed bottom-dwellers below, Darden is hoping to change the wave of the future.

My review: I didn’t fall in love with the unique framing of this one like I have with some others. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but I found myself a little less engaged and with a short page count, I need to be gripped from the very start. The concept was interesting and unnerving in equal measures and I think if there was an expanded version of this I would absolutely pick it up.

Rating: 2 stars

Goodreads | Amazon


These Alien Skies by C.T. Rwizi:

About the book: Copilots Msizi and Tariro are testing a newly constructed wormhole jump that presumably leads to unsettled habitable worlds. Then an explosion sends them off course, far from where they started and with little chance of ever making it back. Now they’re stranded on their new home for the diaspora. It’s called Malcolm X-b. But they’re beginning to wonder how many light-years from civilization they really are.

My review: This is my favourite Audible Original Story so far. I honestly desperately want to read this as a prequel to an intense first-contact sci-fi novel. I guessed the twist a little way in, but that didn’t in any way lessen the impact. If anything, it made it more impactful because I was so sad as I read. This one I can absolutely see myself coming back to, with cinematic descriptions and a really interesting premise.

Rating: 5 stars

Goodreads | Amazon


Clap Back by Nalo Hopkinson:

About the book: Burri is a fashion designer and icon with a biochemistry background. Her latest pieces are African inspired and crafted to touch the heart. They enable wearers to absorb nanorobotic memories and recount the stories of Black lives and forgiveness. Wenda doesn’t buy it. A protest performance artist, Wenda knows exploitation when she sees it. What she’s going to do with Burri’s breakthrough technology could, in the right hands, change race relations forever.

My review: This was intense. I loved it a lot. It was a little hard to follow, but honestly to me that made it more atmospheric. I loved the included messages, and the way they became more pointed as the book progressed. The idea of the racist trinkets coming to life and sneaking out of stores and houses? Amazing. Creepy as hell, but amazing. It’s ridiculous how many of these racist caricatures are still out there. I loved the way that the story was told, and the openendedness of the story. You’re left to wonder what happens next on the precipice of a huge choice, and huge consequences and it really fired up my imagination.

Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads | Amazon


We Travel the Spaceways by Victor LaVelle:

About the book: Grimace is a homeless man on a holy mission to free Black Americans from emotional slavery. His empty soda cans told him as much. Then he meets Kim, a transgender runaway who joins Grimace on his heroic quest. Is Grimace receiving aluminum missives from the gods, or is he a madman? Kim will find out soon enough on a strange journey they’ve been destined to share.

My review: I didn’t get on with this one. I’m never a huge fan of delusion or aliens as a concept, and I feel like it didn’t deliver on the concept enough. I didn’t pick up half the points mentioned in the book description when I was reading it, however, the character voice was intense and overwhelming in a good way and the description of Grimace’s homelessness (especially his hunger) was visceral and uncomfortable in its honesty.

Rating: 2 stars

Goodreads | Amazon


If you’re interested in trying any of the above, I recommend using this affiliate link for a kindle unlimited trial! If you do, you can get the whole collection for free in ebook and audio, which is how I listened to all of them.

3 thoughts on “REVIEW | The Black Stars Collection

  1. Pingback: REVIEW | The Dark Corners Collection – inkandplasma reviews

  2. Pingback: REVIEW | The Hush Collection – inkandplasma reviews

  3. Pingback: REVIEW | The Disorder Collection – inkandplasma reviews

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