So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy
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So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  265 ratings  ·  41 reviews
"So Long Been Dreaming is an anthology of stories by leading African, Asian, South Asian, and Aboriginal authors, as well as North American and British writers of colour." The book depicts imagined futures from the perspectives of writers associated with what might loosely be termed the "third world." In its five sections - The Body, Future Earth, Allegory, Encounters with...more
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Published (first published October 1st 2004)
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Jul 01, 2008 Wealhtheow rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: wiscon?
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...more
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...more
David Spencer
Jun 12, 2013 David Spencer rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone. Ever.
Shelves: best
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nicholas Whyte[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...more
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...more
Sadly, much stronger in concept than execution. Five stars for the editorial premise but the individual pieces have either been excerpted in awkward, difficult to assess chunks or are written by authors who haven't quite secured a convincing voice as of yet.
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...more
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...more
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...more
Aug 20, 2010 rabbitprincess rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adventurous sci-fi enthusiasts
Recommended to rabbitprincess by: The Literary Omnivore
* * 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",...more

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...more
Andrew Neal
I think the intent of this anthology is fantastic; I think it's very important for all genres of fiction that different viewpoints and cultural touchstones influence the art, and that this art gets published. I'm not rating the intent of the book, though. I'm rating the actual reading experience. If I were rating the intent, I'd give it five stars.

Some of the stories in the anthology were really good. In particular, I liked Vandana Singh's "Delhi." However, many of them were so similar in theme,...more
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...more
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...more
I wonder why doesn't everyone in SF/F fandom speak about this book. Not only it's damn important and doesn't shy away from uncomfortable issues, it's also simply good. Brilliant, even. Lush with imagery and original. Inspiring and moving. devorah major's story was my favorite, but I enjoyed all of them. A must read.
Such an awesome anthology! Each story was very different from the other. I liked the issues that were explored in terms of the embodiment of difference in other worlds. I appreciated the continued commentary on the state of our world through perspectives of the colonized. I particularly appreciated reading stories that focused on what happens when the colonized become the colonizer. It's truly an intriguing anthology that has so many different themes that you wonder how the editors managed to br...more
J. McClain
This was an absolute treasure to read. I don't think there was a single story in here I didn't love.
4 star anthology that gets 5 stars because it really matters, this is one of those books that demanded people pay attention to what was already happening. The stories are uneven: they take risks, often big risks. Lots of new authors here - I found myself reading one after another of these stories, hoping to read more by the author, and seeing that there was little if anything else available, at least in a language I could read. Vandana Singh's "Delhi" still wraps around and through me. This book...more
The quality of the short stories in So Long Been Dreaming can be variant, but it’s still an amazing collection of postcolonial science fiction, with two fantasy stories thrown in for good measure. Carole McDonnell’s haunting “Lingua Franca” steals the show, but each story decentralizes the typical Western viewpoint of speculative fiction and contributes to postcolonial literature.
Many of these stories do not feel complete, and that is frustrating. Others are aggravatingly heavy handed. The last two stories had great concepts but rushed writing. In these writers, however, myself a postcolonjal science fiction witer, I feel a kinship. Delhi, Refugees, Native Aliens, Terminal Road, Trade Winds, Lingua Franca, stand out the most to me.
What a great collection!!!! There are so many stories I enjoyed, and that will definately inform my work. My only complaint is that Hopkinson didn't write a longer introduction. I wanted her to say more, tell me more about what this work means to her, to postcolonial writing, about the use and function of these stories.
Chris Keeve
This is a great anthology, and does the work of filling in some gaping holes in the field of speculative fiction and fantasy, in terms of who gets to be represented and which cultures and stories get to be drawn from. The narratives were a little too cerebral and needed more in terms of world building.
Victoria Law
Some of these stories were amazing, but felt like they would work sooo much better as longer works. The anthology introduces a speculative fiction/sci fi newbie like myself to a wide range of writers of color, but this definitely should *not* be taken for a one-sitting reading.
This was a real mixed bag. Most of the stories were thought-provokers based on interesting premises, but I thought some could have benefited from a much tougher edit. Several, at least, ticked all the boxes: plot, character, style AND substance.
This is an excellent collection--a must-read for sci-fi fans, and especially aspiring sci-fi authors.

I have a few favourites among the collection, but the overall strength of prose and vision here is excellent.
Christina G
Postcolonialism + SFF! Unfortunately, I wanted to like this one a whole lot more than I did. There were some good ones, but by the time I got to them, I was pretty worn out from muddling through the other ones.
Overall quality and interest of the stories is better than average for these type of themed collections. Though some stories seem like fragments or excepts, the quality of the writing is generally high.
Michael Underwood
Short story collection from writers of color and white writers from non-American cultural backgrounds. A different take on the genre, with (obviously) strong post-colonial themes.
Dec 27, 2012 Allan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of alternative science fiction
Not read all the stories in this anthology, but the ones I did are very good. However, I've read Nisi Shawl's selection, Deep End, several times I still make no sense of it.
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Nalo Hopkinson is a Jamaican-born writer and editor who lives in Canada. Her science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories often draw on Caribbean history and language, and its traditions of oral and written storytelling.

More about Nalo Hopkinson...
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