“The Comet” by W. E. B. Du Bois
Jim is a black man working as a messenger for a New York bank. Everyone is talking about a comet. The bank president sends Jim into the filthy and dangerous vaults to find two missing volumes of records. While he’s down there, there’s a great crash and the door slams shut.
This is the eighth story in the preview of Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora. (25% into preview)
“The City Born Great” by N. K. Jemisin
A homeless, black man stands on a rooftop and yells—singing to the cityscape. As he leaves, he hears something basso-deep that feels both distant and intimate. He also hears a growl that could be police sirens. Later, he meets Paolo at a café, who buys him breakfast. Paolo is trying to explain something important about the city, but the man doesn’t care. A cop comes in but doesn’t seem to notice him. He takes off.
This is the second story in the preview of How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? (50% into preview)
“Caramelle 1864” by Jewelle Gomez
The narrator and her father live on a New England farm. Their place is a rest stop for people fleeing slavery in the south. Years earlier, the father, Solomon fled slavery. He scans the road for the sign. They’re getting visitors tonight, whom they refer to as Cousins. They’ve heard lots of stories of what their guests have been through.
This story can be read in the preview of Black from the Future: A Collection of Black Speculative Fiction. (12% in)
“I Left My Heart in Skaftafell” by Victor LaValle
A Black man from America is traveling through Iceland alone. He came because he likes the cold, and to avoid marriage back home. Although the Icelanders like him well enough, he’s not paid too much attention. The Africans don’t acknowledge him at all. He notices a man-sized troll on the bus, who seems to be following him around.
This story can be read in the preview of Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond. (20% in)
“Don’t Go There” by Tracy Cross
At bedtime, a little girl tells the babysitter not to go into the basement. Her dad keeps the door locked because monsters live down there. The girl wants her room checked out before she goes to sleep.
This story can be read in the preview of Midnight & Indigo: Twenty-Two Speculative Stories by Black Women Writers. (27% in)