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Bending the Landscape: Original Gay and Lesbian Writing: Science Fiction Paperback – November 1, 1999

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Product Details

  • Series: Bending the Landscape; Original Gay and Lesbian Writing (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook TP (November 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879517328
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879517328
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,792,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This second volume of Nicola Griffith and Stephen Pagel's Bending the Landscape anthology series focuses on science fiction stories (the first book covered fantasy, and the third will cover horror). The editors asked contributors to "imagine a different landscape... some milieu that had not happened" and then address the theme of Alien or Other, with the Other being a lesbian or gay man. Since the writers include men and women, gay and straight, the results are fascinating and kaleidoscopic.

One of the best stories in this stellar bunch is Ellen Klages's "Time Gypsy," a "lesbian time-travel-romance-revenge story" about a scientist who discovers love in an unlikely way. L. Timmel Duchamp's "Dance at the Edge" is a heartbreaking story of visibility and strength, and Richard A. Bamberg looks at what it might be like to be the last gay person on Earth in "Love's Last Farewell."

Big name authors like Charles Sheffield, Nancy Kress, Stephen Baxter, and Elizabeth Vonarburg contribute stories as well. The science fiction volume, like all the Bending the Landscape anthologies, addresses universal themes of otherness, love, and loss. Great reading for the 21st century. --Adam Fisher --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

A companion volume to 1997's gender-bending BTL: Fantasy with, this time, science fiction themes and ideas given a gay/lesbian perspectivethough the contributors include non-gay/lesbians and mainstream writers. As before, there's a welcome diversity of subjects and approaches in the 21 stories here, ranging from the destruction of an intelligent alien species and a disturbing modern ghetto to the military, time travel, space travel, virtual reality, surgery, and religious fundamentalism. Immediately recognizable authors include Rebecca Ore, Stephen Baxter, Allan Steele, Charles Sheffield, Nancy Kress, and Shariann Lewitt. A respectable assemblage. The problemby no means particular to this seriesis the difficulty of producing distinctive, original work within previously defined parameters. Annoying, too, how often the phrase ``deliciously sly'' crops up in the editorial bits. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
Whether it be Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy, etc. they are all first rate.
Bayou Boy
It's the kind of "if things go on like this" story that science fiction has always done so well.
Amazon Customer
At times the book was funny even hilarious and at others somber, thought provoking or even sad.
Petra Soft

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Alex on June 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
A seemingly simple setup: combine two science fiction templates: an alien landscape - outer space, another planet, the fifties; and an Other - an alien, a foreigner, a renegade, a stranger in a strange land; now, the twist - the Other must be homosexual. How much can be written based on this premise? Volumes.
Start with the brilliant "Sex, Guns, and Baptists" by Keith Hartman, a wicked story of a world gone fundamentalist and a gay detective hired by a jealous wife to find out her husband's sexual orientation. Continue on in the same vein to Bassingthwaite's "Who Plays with Sin", a cyberpunk yarn as good as if not better than anything Gibson has ever written. Plunge into Klages' "Time Gypsy" and discover that the mindset of the fifties is just as alien as that of the previous stories. Examine the adage of "looks don't matter" in Wendy Rathbone's masterful "The Beautiful People." Nancy Kress contributes a thought-provoking tale of survival - at the cost of total isolation, in her "State of Nature." The cost that the artificial intelligence in Shariann Lewitt's (her "Rebel Sutra" is at the top of my reading list as I write this) "A Real Girl" must pay for her humanity is mind-boggling. The viewpoint character in Bamberg's "Love's Last Farewell" has already paid the ultimate price - he is the last gay man on Earth. Tiedemann's "Surfaces" dissects the popular tendency to partition humans into characteristics - and assign blame and praise to them instead of the person underneath. Steele's "The Flying Triangle" and Sperry's "On Vacation" take a more relaxed approach and depict a more accepting - or at least redeemable - humanity.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jack M. Walter on July 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was prepared to be disappointed by this anthology, for so many sci-fi stories that deal with gays are not very imaginative, but there were only a half-dozen or so stories in this collection that missed the mark. Nancy Johnston's "The Rendez-Vous" deals with a woman who may or may not be the victim of nocturnal alien abductions. Kathleen O'Malley's "Silent Passion" shows us that even beings from another planet can teach us a thing or two about humanity. Charles Sheffield's "Brooks Too Broad for Leaping" is a surprisingly shocking view of what it would be like if the only place for gays and lesbians were the military. Elisabeth Vonarburg's "Stay Thy Flight" is the true gem here: a story almost incomprehensible in the beginning which goes on to depict a form of life we could never imagine, and how it is drawn to a human female. A thought-provoking anthology in the truest sense of the word.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 29, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed the first anthology in this series. After seeing the cover of this second book, I was afraid the series had taken a turn for the worse. The first volume was so expansive!and this cover seems so focused and limiting. I bought it anyways: everything Nicola Griffith has worked on has exceeded my expectations, and I decided to trust her.
Boy was I justified.
The cover of this book suggests that it's "gay fiction." It is, but more importantly it isn't. What it is is a series of remarkable stories that deal with queer themes, from the points of view of straights, queers, and all those real people who lie somewhere inbetween or beyond these labels. Regardless of the themes, you aren't going to be reading a better SF anthology this year. If you're at all interested in having your notions of gender and sexuality expanded, then READ THIS BOOK (and if SF isn't about the expansion of notions, then what is it?).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Wendy C. Darling on May 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
Bending the Landscape: Science Fiction, is the first of a three-part series of "original gay and lesbian writing" edited by Nicola Griffith and Stephen Pagel (not very coincidentally, a participant in Outworlders, a local Atlanta GLBTQ sci fi / fantasy fan group and the parent group to a book group I belong to.) After choosing Storm Constantine's The Sign for the Sacred as our group's first fantasy selection, we turned to Bending as a book that would cover science fiction but also appeal to a variety of tastes. Also playing into the selection was the fact that the book had been awarded a number of extremely prestigious awards and Stephen Pagel would possibly come to our meeting to discuss it (which he did!)
When I started on Bending, I really didn't quite know what to expect; most of my affection for science fiction comes not from books but from movies and television, so I really didn't know how much of it I would enjoy. I soon discovered that my wariness was unfounded, for not only did I enjoy the science fiction, but the designation "science fiction" didn't really cover what I was reading -- I found a lot of what I considered "fantasy" as well. I also discovered that Griffith and Pagel made some truly excellent story selections.
Bending features stories which, so Pagel told us himself, cover the full spectrum of science fiction -- everything from futuristic private eye stories to time travel escapades to stories of alien worlds to explorations of cyber consciousness and gender identity. Clearly, this was not a book simply thrown together or with the lowest common denominator in mind.
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