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Danged Black Thing (Eugen Bacon, Transit Lounge) 

Lyrical, rich, oftentimes dark and sometimes hopeful, Danged Black Thing is a speculative fiction collection that takes the reader on a journey from Africa to Australia. The cities and villages the stories are set in are sometimes familiar, while others are plucked fully formed from author Eugen Bacon’s imagination, providing a vast backdrop to her exploration of the emotional costs of being a woman. In ‘Unlimited Data’ Natukunda is coerced into accepting a microchip implant in her neck that provides unlimited data for her partner: ‘A woman is the queen of the earth. The code needs your fertile body to work properly.’ This chip inevitably kills her and many others. Meanwhile in ‘Phantasms of Existence’ a mother loses a child during birth, while another prays she’s not pregnant. ‘Still She Visits’ explores the familial ghosts that follow us, and the trauma of leaving everything behind in hopes for a better life. These are just a handful of the 17 stories that can be found in Danged Black Thing. Its pages contain vibrant and complex female characters that I have come to love and admire. Their strength and resilience inspire, but Bacon does not shy away from the bleak and devastatingly harsh nature of being a woman in a patriarchal society. Where men rule, there will be women who suffer. With the lyricism of Toni Morrison and the worldbuilding of Ken Liu, Bacon secures herself as an important voice in Australian genre fiction. Danged Black Thing is the feminist science fiction debut that brings women and Blackness to the forefront.

Jing Xuan Teo is the co-founder of Amplify Bookstore, Australia’s first BIPOC specialist bookstore. 

 

Category: Reviews