Wisdom From Kammbia Story Review 19: The Past Is A Dream (The Launch of a Blacktopia) by Maurice Broaddus

by | Mar 18, 2023 | Marion's Favorites, Marion's Reading Life Blog, Short Story Review, Wisdom From Kammbia Column, Wisdom of Kammbia Story Review | 0 comments

“No one ever considers the impact of a single life well-lived. The relationships made and lives touched. How a person might walk through history inadvertently.”

Those words of wisdom spoken by Nora Bradford, pilot of Ghana’s first interstellar spaceship and longtime friend of Astra Black, the protagonist in Maurice Broaddus’ short story, The Past Is A Dream (The Launch of a Blacktopia).

The story is told through interviews from the Indianapolis Recorder, the nation’s oldest surviving African-American newspaper where colleagues and dignitaries speak about the impact Astra Black made for Ghana’s space program. When it comes to talking about a great person of history, the mythology and facts merge in an attempt to create the best possible picture of such an important figure.

I appreciated Nora’s section of the interviews, where she reminisces about Astra’s curiosity as a child and how it leads her to science and the stars. Nora wanted to give a fuller picture of her friend instead of the things she was well known for.  Other people commented on the difficulties of getting Ghana’s space program off the ground and how politics almost sabotaged their efforts.  Broaddus did a solid job of making that aspect believable.

This quote attributed to Astra Black summed her life’s philosophy:

“People want to tell you how to act.  How to talk. How to be.  Always trying to define you, Make you conform. To limit you. Because they are unable to imagine you as anything other than their idea of you. They have a failure of imagination. We should not. Do not. Will not.”

That comment lands on multiple levels and is quite relevant to our time. The Past Is a Dream(The Launch of a Blacktopia) appears in the Jan/Feb 2023 issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine edited by Sheree Renee Thomas.  Also, Astra Black is the subtitle of Broaddus current series of novels, beginning with Sweep of Stars.  Science Fiction and Afrofuturism fans should check out the introductory story to a new heroine that needed her story to be told.



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Marion Hill