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Review: Fiyah Lit Magazine #13 – Ozzie M. Gartrell

FIYAH Lit Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction

Title: The Transition of  OSOOSI
Author: Ozzie M. Gartrell
Published: 2020
Publisher: Fiyah Lit Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction Issue #13

In 7,900 words Ozzie M. Gartrell’s The Transition of  OSOOSI  gives us a cyberpunk story of an audacious idea to eradicate bigotry.

Mal is a “Citizen American, a native-born U.S. citizen with all the second-class rights thereof.” (p. 44)  He’s also a visionary who in the process of following that vision alienates everyone important to him.  Seeking entry into the world of the elite Anansi  community, Mal pitches an idea so provocative he is questioned about how far he’s willing to go to make it happen.

None of us should be shocked at the treatment Citizen Americans receive at the hands of True Citizens.  But it is shocking, and heart breaking.  The transphobic treatment of Mal’s twin Mar in a favorite restaurant, the casual racism of being pulled over by a True Citizen cop, is all too common.  This is what it is to be black in America.

With shades of William Gibson‘s  cyberpunk classic Sprawl Trilogy, the best of current hacktivist culture, and a nod to West African mythology, Gatrell places themselves on the path to an interesting career of bold writing.

Downloading empathy into every True Citizen using stolen tech is a truly courageous idea.  How else do we make changes to systemic bigotry?