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Fist of the Spider Woman: Tales of Fear and Queer Desire Paperback – April 1, 2009
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Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Fist of the Spider Woman is a brave, bold, eye-opening book. Amber Dawn deserves credit for probing beyond the shiny surface of modern womanhood to the places we often dare not go, but should. By turns chilling and erotic, the stories in Fist are unforgettable, and will speak to women who are strong enough to own up to their fears and traverse to the other side of them.
―Rachel Kramer Bussel, editor, Best Sex Writing 2009 (Rachel Kramer Bussel 2009-02-01)
Amber Dawn has a beautifully twisted mind; I'm a fan. This book isn't about desire despite fear, or fear that triumphs over desire--Fist of the Spider Woman asks, "What are you afraid of?" and then spins a multi-dimensional, multi-genre web that is sexy, poignantly scary, and politically astute. If Charlotte were all grown up, queer, kinky, and foul-mouthed, Fist would be the stuff of her dreams.
―Anna Camilleri, author, I am a Red Dress (Anna Camilleri 2009-02-01)
One of the best among this collection is Nomy Lamm's "Conspiracy of Fuckers," a story about a phone sex worker.... Just as compelling is Amber Dawn's "Here Lies the Last Lesbian Rental in East Vancouver," which takes place in a house inhabited by a young dyke couple and haunted by a violent lesbian ghost.
―GLBT Roundtable Newsletter (American Library Association) (GLBT Roundtable Newsletter 2009-04-01)
The most engaging stories [in Fist] are those that manipulate the horror genre to construct an elevated understanding of the queer experience.
―Xtra! West (Xtra! West 2009-04-22)
This anthology of horror stories, with literary styles that span gothic, speculative and noir, expresses the fantasies of queer women and provides strong characters in place of the genre's stereotypically scantily dressed victims.
―Ms. Magazine (Ms. Magazine 2009-04-23)
Megan Milks' "Slugs" is a perfect mix of crazy sexual tension, genderfuck and H.P. Lovecraft-inspired freakish horror. Body horror is also a theme in Michelle Tea's "Crabby," but this story is far more entrenched in real life and comical to boot. Kristyn Dunnion's "Homeland" is almost an homage to Hitchcock, as a homicidal lesbian hustler gets the tables turned on her in spectacular fasion by her would-be victim.
―Philadelphia Gay News (Philadelphia Gay News 2009-07-05)
Fist of the Spider Woman applies the tropes of the horror genre---suspense, fear, surprise---to the horrors of real life, and allows its characters the courage and grit to come out on the other side, scarred, but surviving.
―make/shift Magazine (make/shift 2009-10-07)
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
“In FIST OF THE SPIDER WOMAN, fifteen daring authors frankly ask themselves, “What am *I* afraid of?” The aim is not to quell our fears, but to embrace them. In doing so, their work takes on an entirely different form than the familiar thrills of contemporary Hollywood horror films.”
Between the blurbs on the back cover and the wonderfully creepy artwork (by Julie Morstad) gracing its front, FIST OF THE SPIDER WOMAN is not at all what I expected. For starters, most of the stories aren’t particularly scary. With a few notable exceptions, you won’t find many supernatural baddies or serial slashers here. The fears explored within these pages tend towards the mundane as opposed to the otherworldly: Carrying on after the death of a loved one. Embracing vulnerability by learning to trust others. Accepting help. Being caught by karma. Our culture of fear. All of which is sprinkled with a liberal helping of sex. In fact, many of the stories in Fist read like erotica over horror (e.g., “Every Dark Desire” – vampire dominatrix porn; “Slug” – worm porn; “In Your Arms Forever” – ghost porn).
Not that there’s anything wrong with that; it’s just not what I thought I was getting when I picked this anthology up. (Though I must admit that many of the rape scenes turned my stomach; not for the mere presence of rape, which is disturbing enough on its own, but because the victims often come to enjoy their non-consensual abuse.)
Instead of singling out those pieces I didn’t enjoy (looking back on my notes, I assigned a 2-star or lower rating to 5/14 of the stories and poems), I’d rather rave about the ones I loved.Read more ›