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Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction Paperback – May 5, 2012
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''Mandelo's introduction explains, 'Non-binary identities and expressions are often marginalized; our voices are silenced, our identities are effaced, and our stories go untold.' Defying that trend of oppression, the narrative voices of these 17 stories are loud and strong. ''Fisherman'' by Nalo Hopkinson, a deeply intimate story about a 'mannish woman' visiting a brothel, questions notions of socially acceptable relationships. Sandra McDonald's poignant ''Sea of Cortez'' explores covert sexuality on board a navy ship during WWII. ''Schrodinger's Pussy'' by Terra LeMay is a love letter of sorts that illuminates what it means to be human, regardless of gender or sexual preference. These and other stellar stories from Catherynne M. Valente, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, and Tansy Rayner Roberts will inspire writers, delight and satisfy readers who are already familiar with fluid gender identities, and leave newly enlightened readers determined to make the world more welcoming.'' --Publishers Weekly, starred review
''Seventeen stories of genderqueer and sexually fluid people living, laughing, lusting and lying their way through the world. Seventeen points of light burning like beacons above the plain of 'normal.' Seventeen tales written mostly in the twenty-first century about the future, the past that never was, and alternate universes that might never be (or always have been). Seventeen authors working on the bow wave of their own writing, riding a surge of inspiration.
These writers--the vast majority identify as female, a thrill all of its own--play with many versions of queer. The stories range from a 35-page novelette that begins at the raw edge of loneliness and ends in exuberant human connection, to a 6-page blink of quantum weirdness encompassing all possibilities. The stories teem with gay, trans, lesbian, bi, polyamorous, asexual, unspecified, and imaginary people--as well as aliens, angels, and androids. But each ends with some oh-so-human satisfaction, resolution, or glad understanding. Beyond Binary is peopled by those who are brave, who say Yes to joy--and not only survive but thrive.
Some of these pieces are truly strange. Some are delicious romps. But in the end this is the rarest of anthologies: the sum is greater than its parts. Read it. Read it all.'' --Nicola Griffith, multiple award-winning author and editor
About the Author
Brit Mandelo (britmandelo.com) is a writer, critic, and occasional editor whose primary fields of interest are speculative fiction and queer literature, especially when the two coincide. Her work fiction, nonfiction, poetry; she wears a lot of hats has been featured in magazines such as Clarkesworld, Tor.com, and Ideomancer. She also writes regularly for Tor.com and has several long-running column series there, including Queering SFF, a mix of criticism, editorials, and reviews on LGBTQI speculative fiction. When not writing, she is a perpetual student and is working up to an eventual (hopefully) PhD. She is a Louisville native and lives there with her partner in an apartment that doesn t have room for all the books.
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Top Customer Reviews
I really enjoyed this collection of stories about people redefining sexual identity and gender. The stories are all speculative fiction, reprinted from a variety of speculative fiction magazines and anthologies. They range from the slightly different to the quite strange, and some are more accessible than others, but all are well written and worth reading. The choices are a good selection of the editor calls "sexually fluid", one of my current favorite phrases. Several stories are sexually explicit and others cover some dark territory.
Two of my favorites were at the end. In The Metamorphosis Bud, an 87-year old woman wakes up to find herself transformed. How she explores the transformation in the streets of San Francisco is truly funny. In Schrodinger's Pussy (the best title, IMHO), a woman is visited by a future self and what ensues is both explicit and fascinating.
I also enjoyed A Wild and A Wicked Youth, for the writing, and because I learned how Richard, from Swordspoint, got to Riverside. The Faerie Cony-Catcher was a twist on the havoc fairies can wreak on the unsuspecting, expressed in lovely language and a twinkle in the eye.
I also very much enjoyed Fisherman, a wonderful character who tugged at my heart, and Eye of the Storm, a long story with wonderful characters and an unusual premise that came together beautifully.
A story-by-story review of this anthology is too long to fit here on amazon, but available at my website: http://tc-mill.com/book-review-beyond-binary-ed-by-brit-mandelo/
You wouldn't find all these stories in the same anthology in any other circumstance, because they range from different science fiction subgenres to different fantasy subgenres to a few that feel interstitial. They're also written in different styles. Which basically means there should be something for everyone, but not everything will be for everyone.
I'd list the stories I really loved, but I kind of don't want to play favorites. They're _all_ worth reading.
There is a nice progression to the stories, so that one story does seem to naturally come out of the one before it.
These are all reprints, so the quality is high. But while you may have run across a few of them before, you're unlikely to have seen most of them.
The design of the page numbers was a nice touch.
I don't think I would have bought it, had I known.
I expected science fiction. I got, well, not quite what I had in mind,