Read This: Sycorax’s Daughters

Sycorax's Daughters

Sycorax’s Daughters, edited by Kinitra Brooks PhD, Linda D. Addison, and Susana Morris PhD, is a deep dive into the vast variety of speculative fiction created by Black women. It contains an abundance of stories and poems that cover folklore, fantasy, classic horror, and pure science fiction. While some works are more plainly entertainment, many others face down the brutality of our history without flinching. The authors take on the centuries of oppression and the ongoing othering that sprang from the monstrousness of American slavery. They also reclaim some of the rich traditions that slavery tried to erase.

It’s a powerful combination.


Here are ten stories that stand out for me:

“Scales” by Cherene Sherrard is the gorgeous, melancholy tale of two sisters’ complicated inheritance and the different choices they each make to live with it.

“Thirsty For Love” by Vocab is a sly, self-aware prose poem about the vampiric effects of bad romantic choices.

“Cheaters” by Tish Jackson is a sexy, graphic, and unrepentant story of a woman who discovers she can get the best possible revenge on those who wrong her.

Sycorax's Daughters“Kim” by Nicole D. Sconiers is the powerful tale of a young woman fighting back against a white demon that exists to strip of value and destroy any Black lives it can.

“Summer Skin” by Zin E. Rocklyn is a strange, beautifully rendered exploration of transformation and coping. The narrator may be a lycanthrope, or some other wondrous creature. She may be cursed. It may just be a family trait. My favorite, here.

“Taking the Good” by Dana Mcknight is a sharp, chilly tale of a female demon, her prey, and an opportunistic admirer who gladly trades up from her human lover.

“Foundling” by Tenea D. Johnson is tightly woven science fiction story of trafficking, technology and the corruption big money brings to it, all wrapped up with a lovely bit of revenge.

“Rise” by Nicole Givens Kurtz gives us a post-apocalyptic world full of people with powers, but also filled with the same old hatreds. It feels like part of something much larger, which I would love to read.

“Of Sound Mind and Body” by K. Ceres Wright is a cold-blooded futuristic spy thriller with shifting identities and alliances, the timeless horror of being owned by someone else, and the agony of losing control of one’s own body.

“The Mankana-kil” by L. Penelope is a sweet, generous tale of adolescent outsiders, their hopes and fears, and their embrace of what’s actually real. Beautiful.


Sycorax’s Daughters is a vital anthology that asks much from its readers. The stories collected here do not pull any punches as they explore the tragedies and slights that inspired them. They bring us time and again from grim defeat to unadulterated victory, from pain to joy, from ignorance to hard-earned wisdom. But there is failure as much as there is triumph, because some monsters are too much for any one person to destroy.

And there is a great deal to think about after the last page is turned.