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Reading Groups

Beyond the Tropes II: African American Voices in Speculative Short Story Form with Marc Abbott

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3 Monthly Sessions Sundays, 12:00 pm EST - 1:30 pm EST June 13 to August 8, 2021

Online via Zoom

The ‘With Books’ option includes all titles required for this group at a 15% discount.

Meeting Dates:
6/13, 7/11, 8/8

In these sessions, we take a look at short form speculative fiction stories by African American authors from the two volumes of the Dark Matter anthologies (Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora and Dark Matter: Reading the Bones). We will discuss the effectiveness of the short story form, the tropes used to draw us in and how African American prose in speculative fiction gives a unique look into their vision of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. We will be featuring stories from Tananarive Due, Walter Mosley, Samuel R. Delany, Octavia Butler.

In advance of the first meeting, participants should read the following stories from Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora:

  • Leone Ross, “Tasting Songs”
  • Kalamu ya Salaam, “Can You Wear My Eyes”
  • Tananarive Due, “Like Daughter”
  • Nalo Hopkinson, “Greedy Choke Puppy”
  • Amiri Baraka, “Rhythm Travel”
  • Kalamu ya Salaam, “Buddy Bolden”
  • Samuel R. Delany, “Aye, and Gomorrah…”
  • Nalo Hopkinson, “Ganger (Ball Lightning)”
  • Akua Lezli Hope, “The Becoming”
  • Charles W. Chesnutt, “The Goophered Grapevine”

Led by

  • Photo: John F. Sheehan Photography (

    Marc L. Abbott

    Marc L. Abbott

    Marc L. Abbott is the author of the YA novel The Hooky Party and the children’s book Etienne and the Stardust Express. His short stories “Welcome to Brooklyn, Gabe” and “A Marked Man” are featured in the Bram Stoker-nominated horror anthology New York State of Fright and the Hell’s Heart horror anthology. He is the co-author of Hell at the Way Station, the two-time African American Literary Award-winning horror anthology with award winning author Steven Van Patten. He is also a contributing writer of the book Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy. Abbott is a 2015 Moth Story Slam and Grand Slam Storyteller winner. He is the writer and performer of the storytelling solo shows Love African American Style and Of Cats and Men: A Storytellers Journey. He is the host of the monthly storytelling show Maaan, You’ve Got to Hear This! in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Abbott is one of the hosts for the podcast “Beef, Wine and Shenanigans” and an active member of the HWA New York Chapter and Gamma Xi Phi Fraternity.