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Fox from AZ

and now you the players, handsome and rare

The third volume of Lavie Tidhar's excellent anthology series The Apex Book of World SF is now available for pre-order. The page includes bundled deals with the first and second volumes. Lavie notes that the full set contains 58 stories, from 34 different countries. I highly recommend taking a look at these anthologies, if you haven't already. They're strong and important collections of SF.

The Table of Contents for XIII, ed. Mark Teppo, has been posted. It reprints my story "Feed Me the Bones of Our Saints" among many new works. It is due out in March 2015.

Speaking of anthologies, I've recently seen a preview of the cover art and a PDF of the page proofs for Phantasm Japan, ed. Nick Mamatas & Masumi Washington. It looks very attractive. I can't wait to get my contributor copy later this year.

A cool thing I saw on Twitter: manuscripts used as dress linings.

A less-cool thing I read: my post about Ice Song by Kirsten Imani Kasai is live at Tor.com. It's a really unfortunate book, terrible in so many ways that I couldn't find a single positive thing to say about it. I got it for the gender-change and the possibility of interesting conversation about bodies/gender/fluidity. Instead I found... that.

I didn't even mention the dire quality of the writing. Or some serious problems: the house of forced sex and manpain, where a bell tolls daily to commemorate the moment Chen's ex-partner left him. (If you do decide to read this book, TW for rape. I decided I'd be far happier if I skipped some chunks, and I was.) The non-animal woman who decides to lead the animal-people for their own good, because they're too disorganised without her guidance. (She's also a bit of a quirky object of male desire: a manic pixie white saviour?) The herbalist who finds herself pregnant, a condition that could kill her due to an irreparable bone condition, but doesn't even consider abortifacents. Or, on a far lighter note, the house of waterlogged marble that the main characters intend to set alight. Good luck!

There's a sequel. I won't be reading it.

Comments

Well that's super depressing about the book. Even knowing what you said here I was reading the review hoping the point of the book was "and they think of themselves as this dyad because SOCIETY." But nope. So much potential, totally wasted.

Though some of your comments got me thinking about my own genderfluid project and how to approach a character that thinks of it as a dyad initially and settles for "nope, neither-ish", so... silver lining to your pain?
A less-cool thing I read: my post about Ice Song by Kirsten Imani Kasai is live at Tor.com.

That sounds like an incredibly frustrating book. I understand that The Left Hand of Darkness is no longer the benchmark for genderfluid sci-fi, but Ice Song sounds like someone took the core components of frozen world and body-change and then was terrible to them. The idea of each body-shape coming with its own consciousness is interesting, but I don't like it, and I like even less the way you report it plays into the novel's binary divide.

(If you do decide to read this book, TW for rape. I decided I'd be far happier if I skipped some chunks, and I was.)

Yeah, I had a recent literary encounter with a woman's graphic rape employed one hundred percent for manpain and I am surprisingly upset every time I remember it.

Or, on a far lighter note, the house of waterlogged marble that the main characters intend to set alight. Good luck!

. . . do they succeed?

Edited at 2014-06-17 09:34 pm (UTC)
I understand that The Left Hand of Darkness is no longer the benchmark for genderfluid sci-fi, but Ice Song sounds like someone took the core components of frozen world and body-change and then was terrible to them.

Yes. I would recommend The Left Hand of Darkness a hundred times over this. For starters, Le Guin can write! More importantly, the book does a lot more to question gender roles, even though some of what it says about gender is problematic to me.

The idea of each body-shape coming with its own consciousness is interesting, but I don't like it, and I like even less the way you report it plays into the novel's binary divide.

I would perhaps be very cautiously interested in seeing this explored in a significantly better story/book, but probably not. The idea of a separate male-self and female-self within a single body really creeps me out. I am me, no matter what gender I am; I would remain me if I had surgery to my breasts or genitals.

. . . do they succeed?

I skimmed the final chapter (while thinking, FREEDOM, SO SOON THE FREEDOM), so I don't know!

Edited at 2014-06-18 02:30 pm (UTC)
For starters, Le Guin can write! More importantly, the book does a lot more to question gender roles, even though some of what it says about gender is problematic to me.

I kind of imprinted on Therem in college.

The idea of a separate male-self and female-self within a single body really creeps me out. I am me, no matter what gender I am; I would remain me if I had surgery to my breasts or genitals.

Yes. It's a conceit of gender in terms of alter ego, not continuity. It feels like a . . . very outside perspective.

I skimmed the final chapter (while thinking, FREEDOM, SO SOON THE FREEDOM), so I don't know!

I can't argue with your sense of self-preservation.

Edited at 2014-06-18 10:46 pm (UTC)