TITLE: The Dragon and the Stars
EDITORS: Derwin Mak and Eric Choi
PUBLISHER: Daw Books
PURCHASE LINK: Amazon
Science Fiction/Fantasy -- Anthology
I picked up this anthology after meeting one of the editors and contributing authors, Derwin Mak, at the Ad Astra convention in Toronto earlier this year. And it was one whose premise sold itself. I mean, a collection of sci-fi/fantasy stories inspired by Chinese mythology and experiences? Yes please! I myself am Chinese American, and one of my biggest gripes is that Chinese people--Asians in general, in fact--are virtually invisible in the world of sci-fi/fantasy. Unless you're reading or watching something that came FROM Asia--anime, Bollywood, kung fu films, manga, etc--chances are, the only Asians you'll ever see in sci-fi/fantasy are token sidekicks or stereotyped cameos.
So it was really wonderful and refreshing to get 18 new SFF stories of incredible range, all by Chinese authors of varying experiences and all featuring Chinese people. From a tale inspired by old school folklore to futuristic sci-fi to alternate history... reading these stories was like popping Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans into my mouth, except all the flavors were awesome and made extra special because they were just what I was looking for.
Each story is special in its own way, and to be honest I simply don't have the time to review them each individually. But I highly, highly recommend that you pick up this wonderful collection. There wasn't a single story I didn't like, and what really wowed me was the incredible breadth the anthology covered... so many different types of stories! And it's especially refreshing since even today, six years after this anthology was published, Asians are still portrayed in the same stereotypical buckets in most mainstream SFF (always the ninja, or the sneaky gangsters, or the sexless nerd, or the mute chinadoll, or the dragon lady...). Next time I see a stereotypical Asian nerd in fiction, I want to shove this anthology in that person's face and be like IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY! SEE?? SEE????
Okay, so this turned out to be more of a rant than an actual review... sorry about that! In a nutshell... This anthology features an incredible collection of excellent stories, and the sheer imagination of it all is amazing. I really, truly enjoyed reading every single one of them.