This brings me to the end of the short(er) fiction in People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction and I have to say the journey was fantastic, and the final story, “Empire Star,” is just… wow. I mean, it’s Samuel R. Delany, so it’s not like I thought it wouldn’t be amazing, but it’s a novella length piece and it’s just like a master class on character progression and evolution (and world-building, too) and I kind of wanted to just sit back in awe for a few days once I finished it.
This one’s hard to discuss without spoilers, so I’ll begin with: just read it. That said? Narratively, the being telling the story is doing so from a unique POV, and follows a single character from (very) humble beginnings. He’s tasked with making a delivery of a message, and on the way has his mind and thought processes widened in ever-increasing increments (a world-building piece here is how the various civilizations of the world consider others to be ‘simplex,’ ‘complex’ or ‘multiplex’ and that recurring theme of ever-more increasing complexity is paralleled perfectly in the progression of the story). It becomes clear that it’s not just a delivery of a message, but something far, far more important, but the journey and the unfolding of this? Sheer magic.
“Empire Star” will be following me for ages, settling in my brain and making me reconsider so many things about narrative structure, POV, character progression, but all of that pales beside just having freaking enjoyed the hell out of reading it.