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The Other Half of the Sky Paperback – April 23, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 460 pages
  • Publisher: Candlemark & Gleam (April 23, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936460440
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936460441
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,022,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Alex Tolley on August 25, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The 16 stories in this anthology have the common theme that the hero is a woman (or in one case an alien female) and the settings the far future.

The first thing you need to know is are the stories good? It is a bit of a mixed bag, but the collection includes some very good ones. I particularly liked McDevitt's "Cathedral". Melissa Scott's "Finders", Jablokov's "Bad Day at Boscobel", Vandana Singh's "Sailing the Antarsa" and C W Johnson's "Exit, Interrupted". I don't think any are complete duds, but some stories just did not resonate with me.

Does the theme of strong female lead characters buy the reader anything? Yes and no. No, in that the characters could almost all be renamed and described as males with no impact on the stories at all. AFAICT, there are almost no unique feminine perspectives here. So in another sense, that the characters are interchangeable with men proves the editors' point that women should be represented equally. If that latter was the point of the theme, then these stories achieve that goal.

Overall a solid anthology, well worth reading, with some standout stories.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By tarsh on February 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a collection of brilliant stories. I'd only read one of the authors here collected before (Martha Wells - her story was actually what led me to purchase the book), but I'm now going looking for several of the others. In particular Nisi Shawl, whose <i>In Colours Everywhere</i> caught my attention and left me with a lot of interesting thoughts and a desire to see more of this world. Vandana Singh's <i>Sailing the Antarsa</i> was an amazingly poetic exploration story, and another culture whose stories I would love to know better. Jack McDermitt's <i>Cathedral</i> put me back in touch with my own childhood dreams of space exploration, and Ken Liu's <i>The Shape of Thought</i> had me reflecting on communication and cultural contamination in ways I never have before. Martha Well's Raksura story <i>Mimesis</i> was everything I expected from her and more.

Terry Boren's <i>This Alakie and the Death of Dima</i> is the only I story I truly disliked, although a couple (Sue Lange's <i>Mission of Greed</i> and Kelly Jenning's <i>Velocity's Ghost</i>) left me fairly neutral.

Overall, though, an exceptional collection of stories. It's tales like this that remind me how thoroughly I lost my heart and mind to science fiction back when, and wonder why I lost touch with it to such an extent that so many of the authors are unfamiliar to me. And now I have several new authors to search out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sabrina Vourvoulias on April 24, 2014
Format: Paperback
Athena Andreadis is a fierce woman.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the introduction to her science fiction anthology, The Other Half of the Sky (Candlemark & Gleam, April 2013). I imagine that for the reader who picks up the book without knowing in advance that Andreadis is a formidable intellect who juggles the languages of science and myth with equal zeal and dexterity, the introduction may come as a bit of a shock.

The introduction to the anthology is a ripping away of the blinkers donned by a genre that has been billed as having a vision as expansive as the universe. Expansive for whom, Andreadis asks, and in which universe? Not us, not ours — unless we are men, and white, and satisfied with the proscribed roles and trajectories assigned to women in the image-making machines of the genre.

The introduction is partisan.

In case you’ve decided to read this as a negative, let me clarify. I’m tempted to see Andreadis as a kind of Anna Magnani in Rome Open City or Maribel Verdú in Pan’s Labyrinth — someone drawn into resistance by the injustice done to a city, a people, a genre she loves — but such an analogy would ignore that Andreadis isn’t drawn into resistance, she leads it. She fights those who repress, and disdains those who collude.

But where you really see Andreadis’ mettle isn’t in the fierce introduction but in the even fiercer choice of collecting (or cajoling) short stories in open rebellion with the image-making machinery of Sci Fi. Some of these stories succeed better than others, but all of them have at their heart the radical notion that we’ll define our own roles and map our own trajectories among the stars.

The anthology opens with the story Finders by Melissa Scott. It is an interesting choice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Aaron Sikes on February 19, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
If you don't get the joke in the title of this review, take a minute to google the phrase and then come back and read the rest.

The stories in The Other Half of the Sky all feature central characters who happen to be women. This is different than saying they all feature female protagonists or "strong female characters," and that's an important distinction. The stories here do not make a showing of having women at the helm. They don't promote women or pick them out of a line up. Women are simply cast as characters, just like they are in real life.

The world is far from seeing equality across and between genders and sexes, but even so, it's refreshing to read stories that begin with the assumption that such is the case. In reading these tales, I felt like I was being given a preview of a future I hope to see in my lifetime. Like the best science fiction, the stories in The Other Half of the Sky portend, predict, and come close to promising as well.

Some of the stories didn't grab me, and this was purely a matter of taste. I didn't care for the author's voice or style, or couldn't empathize with the character for one reason or another. Happily, I can report that I liked the majority of the stories and the ones I found the most compelling didn't feature human protagonists, which was a nice surprise.

Favorites were:

Finders, by Melissa Scott - A brilliant tale of hopes and dreams, and the threat of failure to achieve them. It's reminiscent of the best Firefly episodes (okay, all the episodes) but that's not to say the author engages in any fan-fiction. Far, far from it. The crew of the Carabosse are a familiar bunch, but not one of them comes from the Whedon-verse.
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