Fiyah Summer 2019 is the eleventh issue of the Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction. The cover credits Troy L. Wiggins and DaVaun Sanders, but the full masthead is:
Executive Editors: Troy L. Wiggins + DaVaun Sanders + Brandon O’Brien
Acquiring Editors: Brent Lambert + Danny Lore + Kaleb Russell + Eboni J. Dunbar
Art Direction + Layout: LeKesha Lewis
Cover Artwork by Seth Brown
Fiyah often has themed issues. This issue is an exception to that rule.
(The table of contents includes the table of contents itself as an entry … how meta.)
Letter From The Editors:
A cheerful overview of the issue in hand. It’s odd to read something by an author whose joie de vivre has not been crushed by the realities of the 21st century.
Pimento by Dean-Paul E. Stephens
Earth has cast aside property and status in favour of a post-scarcity utopia in which all are equal, even androids. Or so Earth people tell themselves. Off-worlders take a dimmer view of created persons. Ms. Mati’s restaurant employs an android in the kitchen, which becomes a sticking point for an imperial offworlder’s retinue. Ms. Mati must choose which is more important to her: abstract principle and friendship with her hardworking chef, or status.
Galactics are bigoted dicks, apparently. There really isn’t any doubt which way Ms. Mati will lean; it is how she will make her choice clear that provides the suspense.
Ibrahim And The Green Fishing Net by Omar William Sow
Tragic loss drove Maam Iba from the sea a generation ago. Now, something is calling him back.
Not a horror story.
When You Find A Dragon, Name Them For Me by Tamara Jerée
A protector dragon is a fine thing, until it begins to die, taking the memories of the land it once guarded with it. Can a poet and a draconologist find and persuade a new dragon to take its place or will the nation and every memory of it vanish forever?
Doll Seed by Michele Tracy Berger
Chevella, a doll, becomes self-aware and discovers that dolls like her are expected to find the human destined for them. The consequences of failure are unclear but the other dolls and toys are convinced they are dire. Unfortunately for Chevella, she is a Negro doll in 1950s America. The odds of a happy resolution are not good.…
I find stories about intelligent toys like Torchy the Battery Boy and Woody from Toy Story creepy in the extreme. Adding entrenched racism to obligatory subservience fits right in with genre tropes.
A Song For Midday by Maz Hedgehog
Ọ́jí Íjè [Kola Journey] by Uche Ogbuji
I can’t parse poetry, although no doubt my editor will make me come back and try. [Editor’s note: Poetry baffles me too. In my case, it’s that when it’s good, it’s so strong it hurts. Like drinking whiskey neat. Which I don’t do either.]
James Wright and “Contact High”
A short preview of an online comic. The resolution on my Kobo isn’t quite good enough to allow me to make out the dialogue.
This was a welcome change from the grim-dark material I find myself reading. If your image of Black SF or SF in general involves endless incandescent fury or a boot stamping on the face of humanity forever, probably this is not the magazine for you. Doll Seed is bleak, expected given the period, but on the whole the issue offers a more optimistic perspective than the norm for today’s speculative fiction.
The prose is varied but always competent. My main complaint about what’s here is that the magazine was quite short; by the time I got into it, I was done.
Oh, and it would be keen if they had a regular book reviewer. Book reviewers are sadly underutilized.
Fiyah 11 is available here, as are back issues. Subscriptions are surprisingly affordable.