Sisters of the Revolution A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology [Read] by Ann VanderMeer
Hat were tacked on to the end I would think that any reader inclined to pick up this book would be capable of identifying such themes and messages for themselves without having to be told that the moral of the story isWith that said there were a few stories that did stand out The Mothers of Shark Island by Kit Reed If I were to recommend just one story from this book it would be this one It s about how we treat and think about our mothers It s heartbreaking and universal written in a graceful and eerie style reminiscent of The Handmaid s Tale The Grammarian s Five Daughters by Eleanor Arnason A smart funny fairy tale about how language shapes the world and how even the most maligned parts of language have importance and power Being in the style of a fairytale the characters weren t especially well developed but the story is than delightful enough to make up for thatThe Screwfly Solution by James Tiptree Jr aka Alice Bradley Sheldon I have always held that if ou want inspiration for a truly mind bending dystopian society look no further than the lives of the plants and animals in The Magdalen your own backard This story looks at how humans interact with unwanted parts of the natural world and then takes those interactions to the logical next level And a few of the weaker storiesMy Flannel Knickers by Leonora Carrington I m not usually one to complain about lack of plot or about world building that leaves open uestions but this was a bit of an extreme example And Salome Dances by Kelley Eskridge This story is basically about how the narrator comes to realize that trans people exist Not exactly speculative fiction Sur by Ursula K Le Guin Le Guin is one of my favorite authors All the Devils are Here yet the editors somehow found a boring story by her My disappointment is immense But all in all ifou re interested in learning about female SFF authors this is an ok place to start Maybe dip in and out of it rather than reading it straight through and keep in mind that the stories featured here don t necessarily represent the authors best work This is a really excellent and diverse collection of sci fi and fantasy stories with a feminist slant A lot of the stories as might be expected are dystopian but not all There is a good mix of well known and lesser known authors and there are many stories in translation too As with any anthology I enjoyed some stories a lot than others but the overall uality was very high and I would recommend this anthology to anyone who enjoys speculative fiction Sadly overall the impression I am left with is that I simply do not like anthologies all that much Some standout stories Some ok stories and some very weak ones Still I am convinced than ever that I Authors in this collection I have read before Leonora CarringtonOctavia E ButlerAngela CarterPat MurphyJoanna RussTanith LeeUrsula K Le Guin All the other authors L Timmel DuchampKit ReedNnedi OkoraforEleanor ArnasonKelley EskridgeAng lica GorodischerNalo HopkinsonLeena KrohnJames Tiptree JrRose LembergAnne RichterKelly BarnhillHiromi GotoVandana SinghSusan PalwickCarol EmshwillerEileen GunnKarin TidbeckPamela SargentRachel SwirskyCatherynne M ValenteElisabeth VonarburgClearly I need to do readingThis is a pretty solid collection The authors I were already familiar with did not disappoint and I came across some new to me authors that I want to check out in detail now Kit Reed Hiromi Goto to name just a couple and reminders to read the ones I ve heard of but have not read previously James Tiptree Jr Catherynne M Valente to name a couple againWhat was lovely about this collection is that it is not entirely Anglo There are writers from several different countries here and while their agendas may be similar their stories are not which made for an exciting read throughout With any collection or anthology there are some stories that are better than others and this is no different But I appreciated that each of these women were given a voice in a genre or classification of a genre if Miles to Go (The Walk, you want to be specific that do not always get as much attention and that other cultures were represented hereSome of these stories were written in the 70s such as Joanna Russ s When It Changed For those of us who recently read The Female Man When It Changed will be familiar because Russ wrote again about Whileaway the utopian society in which men died out from a plague specific only to menfolk some 800ears ago utopian society in which men died out from a plague specific only to menfolk some 800 The Wake years ago It Changed was written about threeears before The Female Man so I think Whileaway was a society Russ felt strongly aboutOther stories were recent and those are a lot of the authors I had not been familiar with Circus Act (Spy Pups yet but again I look forward to searching many of them out nowI know I reuested this collection from the library but I no longer remember what it was that prompted me to search it out in the first place That s my good ol memory forou But whatever it was I am glad I paid attention to it and reuested it right away A collection of short stories was what I needed right now and it felt good to be able to get "Through It In A Few "it in a few without tasking the brain cells too much Some of these stories are especially powerful and one that actually broke my little heart because animal but it was so well done that I can t help but keep thinking about it And holding onto my dogs with all my strength This is an interesting and well curated anthology that brought me into contact with several authors I haven t read or even heard of beforeAs with nearly all anthologies it was a combination of hit and miss but there are
much stories that intrigued me than ones that stories that intrigued me than ones that me with a shoulder shrugThe stories that stood out to me wereThe Palm Tree Bandit by Nnedi Okorafor is a delightful story about the unusual beginning of a myth I love Okorafor s prose and her down to earth charactersThe Grammarian s Five Daughters by Eleanor Arnason is a uite innovative kind of story a fairy tale kind of narration about several sisters who go out and conuer the world with grammar One of my absolute highlights in this selection and a new to me author whom I put high up on my must read of listThe Screwfly Solution by James Tiptree Jr is a very bleak view on the future et nonetheless fascinating to readThe evening and the morning and the night by Octavia Butler is a story about her pet topic self determination and the loss thereof Like all of her stories absolutely fascinating for me She always hits my innermostThe woman who thought she was a planet by Vandana Singh is a lovely surrealistic story A new to me author whom I fortunately already have on my TBR listThirteen ways of looking at spacetime by Catherynne M Valente is together with Karin Tidbeck s Aunts the most weird story of this collection I was fascinated by this very different kind of creation story Valente is another new discovery that I must pursueHome by the Sea by Elisabeth Vonarburg ended the collection on a beautiful poetic and hopeful note with this story about an artificial being FavoritesMy Flannel Knickers by Leonora Carrington which actually made me physically dizzy which was a new one on meThe Grammarian s Five Daughters by Eleanor Arnason really loved this one Will be reading Arnason soonThe Forbidden Words of Margaret A by L Timmel DuchampThe Fall River Axe Murders by Angela Carter which prompted me to spend the next 5 hours researching Lizzie BordenandBoys by Carol EmshwillerPlus of course the James Tiptree Jr and Octavia Butler stories but those I had read before A good collection of science fiction and fantasy short stories from a wide range of authors I enjoyed a number of the stories all of which had a feminist slant Some stories were scary commentaries on gender relations while one in particular gave me a few chuckles the one about the grammarian I liked the editors pick. 0s to the present day the collection seeks to expand the conversation about feminism while engaging the reader in a wealth of imaginative idea. .
Idn t get it It went over my head as I said I m not uite smart enough to appreciate all of these et I aspire to get there and have my opinions change The Screwfly Solution by James Tiptree Jr 55 This story is so incredible Gripping and remarkable and terrifying and One of my favorites if not my very favorite of the entire anthology The fear and the idea of this disease that just takes over a person and how Alan tried to desperately to fight against it I loved the letters and how the entire world was really freaking out about this thing it felt realer than some of others despite being dated It really created a world in an admirable way for such a short little story It also truly packed a punch And kind of like The Glass Bottle Trick I loved the titular element of the Screwfly Solution Amazing Love Seven Losses of na Re by Rose Lemberg 45 Beautifully written and well put together with powerful images and wonderful ideas Also this story was grounded in history and reality in a different way from many others from this collection and I appreciated that layer The Evening and the Morning and the Night by Octavia E Butler 55 Huge huge fan This is another story that I really liked and have remembered which to some degree is kind of how I know which of these I really liked If I ve forgotten it it probably didn t have that huge of an impact on me The relationship between the narrator and her boyfriend is really intriguing and complex the whole premise is SOOOO intriguing to me and I kind of want to check out all of the books that Ms Butler mentioned at the very end of the story Loved it The Sleep of Plants by Anne Richter 155 Just not it for me Skimmed it and kind of forgot what was happening while I was reading The Men Who Live in Trees by Kelly Barnhill 355 A very intriguing story I liked the style with excerpts from the journal kind of interspersed throughout and just the general narrative voice The idea of becoming part of a new family and getting past the mother in law was discussed in a way I don t think that it was in any of the other stories in here Also I just liked the premise again and that can kind of go pretty far for me Tales from the Breast by Hiromi Goto 45 I hope that this is not what everyone s experience breast feeding is like but I did really enjoy this and found it to be incredibly poignant Gorgeously written and illuminating some interesting relationship dynamics painful and well put together Very good The Fall River Axe Murders by Angela Carter 255 Very interesting premise but the actual action and composition of the story didn t appeal to me uite as much I was also unfamiliar with the history that this short story was based on so that might have also decreased my enjoyment a little bit I wish that we also witnessed of the actual murder and aftermath and not just the buildup Love and Sex Among the Invertebrates by Pat Murphy 35 Interesting and cool with a little bit of pain kind of sprinkled on top Not sure I entirely agree with or understand the overall message of the story but still enjoyed the reading experience When It Changed by Joanna Russ 355 Super super interesting take on the idea of splitting up the binary genders and then reintroducing the two together l liked the family aspect of this story but the rest of it wasn t as powerful for me Also I do kind of get a little uncomfortable with the idea of men as a pure and unadulterated evil I don t know The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet by Vandana Singh 25 These women as didn t really work for me unfortunately A little bit too much meaning for me to really latch on and appreciate what they had to offer I m sure that they re amazing for some just not for me Gestella by Susan Palwick 55 This was beautiful and devastating The controlling nature of the relationship and just basically every element of the story kind of broke my heart but I still adored it How she was tamed just limited in every single way and not allowed any agency in her own life I loved this I think this is my actual favorite Spectacular Boys by Carol Emshwiller 255 Fine interesting world but overall didn t really strike me in any particular ways Stable Strategies for Middle Management by Eileen Gunn 45 Super cool idea well executed uniue in this anthology of very uniue stories and at least the general idea has remained with me and is at the top of my head when I sat down to write this So this is to say that I liked it and it worked well but wasn t necessarily the best in my opinion Northern Chess by Tanith Lee 255 I very much "LIKED THE VERY END OF THIS "the very end of this and the moral or kind of ending message type thing but the rest of it really wasn t my cup of tea I mean it was fine but just really didn t stick out to me and I kind of rushed my way through because I just wanted it to be over That being said I was very pleasantly surprised by the ending Aunts by Karin Tidback 25 So I don t know exactly what happened here I definitely meshed a lot better with the ones that were less out there This was definitely cool and interesting but I didn t get a lot out of it or enjoy it all that much Sur by Ursula K Le Guin 255 Definitely not as enad with this one as I really wanted to be as I know that Ms Le Guin is definitely one of the most influential writers of the genre I liked the relationships between them all but like the adventure type and like wilderness I don t know it just really wasn t for me Fears by Pamela Sargent 35 Kind of difficult to read but still a good story in my opinion Again very interesting premise though Detours on the Way to Nothing by Rachel Swirsky 55 REALLY liked this story about people projecting their desires onto others especially women in this case and not letting those people have their own identities apart from how others construct them Anyway I really appreciated a lot about this story even when it was kind of heartbreaking and difficult to read Thirteen Ways of Looking at SpaceTime by Catherynne M Valente 35 I mean to be fair I didn t understand a lot of the science parts they just kind of went over my head so I basically skimmed those parts I liked the idea of putting together these creation myths with science stuff but really the part which was most impactful for me were the parts where she wrote about the science fiction writer which was a lot like what I was looking for Home by the Sea by Elisabeth Vonarburg 255 I didn t get anything out this really Like I m looking back at it now and obviously it was the last one that I read so it should be fresh in my mind but I m not really remembering lots Average not bad but not exceptional or one of the ones from this that will Average not bad but not exceptional or one of the ones from this that will stick with me for a while A very interesting collection 88% I love the idea behind this anthology sci fifantasy stories written by women from many different places and times coming together to form a multi faceted view of feminism It was an exciting combination of authors old favorites some I d been meaning to check out and several I d never heard of before There were some compelling and thought provoking stories in here but overall I found it a bit tedious Part of the reason is that despite the variety of settings and styles there s a dearth of themes I felt that I was reading the same story over and over again the patriarchy abusing and oppressing women with grim conseuences While I realize that this theme is an important part of feminist fiction reading so many similar stories back to back lessens the impact of each one I would have loved to see a few stories focused on say female friendship or gasp men and women treating each other with respect The overall presentation and editing of the book is mixed I liked the author mini biographies that prefaced each story but really disliked the one sentence take home messages Of the most respected editorial teams in speculative literature today the award winning Ann and Jeff VanderMeer Including stories from the 197. .
First of all I would like to award myself a medal for FINALLY making it through one of the anthologies on my VanderMeer shelf It is one of the slimmer collections but I have been saying I will do this for several ears It took one of my reading groups declaring February the month of revolution and I decided this was as good of a time as any to work through these storiesThere is a wide range of stories here wide in theme and in time period some old enough to give tastes of old school speculative fiction and some much contemporary feeling Some were already old friends like the Tiptree and some were complete discoveries of both author and story I appreciate that the VanderMeers do not always pick the top 20 female authors top 20 stories of speculative fiction and that instead there is a wide range of expected and surprise I also definitely noticed the threads joining the stories together and how naturally they flowed from one to the nextMy favoritesThe Forbidden Words of Margaret A by L Timmel Duchamp The Mothers of Shark Island by Kit ReedThe Screwfly Solution By James Tiptree Jr The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet by Vandana SinghStable Strategies for Middle Management by Eileen Gunn I laughed out loud several times with this oneThirteen Ways of Looking at SpaceTime by Catherynne M Valente even with the difficult subject matterI enjoyed reading a story by Leonora Carrington even if it didn t rank in my favorites because I have another short story collection of hers that I m looking forward to reading later this ear Other favorite authors that I was happy to read of even if those stories were also not my favorites include Octavia Butler Angela Carter Nalo Hopkinson and Ursula K LeGuin An exemplary collection of feminist speculative fiction with a nice combination of contemporary and classic authors Although as with all anthologies some stories appeal than others there wasn t a story here that I felt didn t belong Disclaimer I was a Kickstarter backer for this project which really just means I paid for my copy uite a bit in advanceStories that especially stood out for meThe Forbidden Words of Margaret A by L Timmel DuchampSpeculative legal fiction about a woman seemingly ordinary but the power of whose words are so intense the Constitution has been amended to stop herThe Screwfly Solution by James Tiptree JrBest last line everGestella by Susan PalwickWhat if a werewolf fell in love with a human How would that actually workWhen It Changed by Joanna RussA classic that I should have known already powerfulThe Evening and the Morning and the Night by Octavia ButlerA horrifying new disease human created and the issues of stigma and treatment which sounds maybe dull but is incredibly not soThe Grammarian s Five Daughters by Eleanor ArnasonA fairy tale to make an English professor smile A lotIn addition to these writers there s Ursula LeGuin Angela Carter Nalo Hopkinson Nnedi Okorafor Carol Emshwiller Eileen Gunn Karin Tidbeck and many others If ou re interested in speculative fiction from a feminist view point this is a must have This book is something of a challenge for me I picked it up because it has the word feminist on the cover and is an anthology something that I find significantly easier to read during the school Mission New York (Scavenger Hunt Adventure year because I can review in parts I would like to make it clear that I will not understand some of the works included in this anthology and I hopeou will not judge me for this I will rate each piece on my enjoyment of it but in this book than any other my opinions might be very wrong I do not intend to offend by my words but regard this book as a learning experience for me and one I will try my best to take advantage of Some of the pieces in this collection were really important and well done and spectacular and I will remember them for a long time In some other pieces I was significantly less pleased and there were a good amount right in the middle Overall I m very glad that I read this collection and recommend it to anyone interested in getting into the genre The below discussions will not mention any major spoilers for the stories but may contain some minor ones Proceed with caution The Forbidden Words of Margaret A by L Timmel Duchamp 355 I feel like this work really went over my head "I mean I liked it but I felt like there was a lot right there beneath the surface "mean I liked it but I felt like there was a lot right there beneath the surface I truly wasn t picking up on That being said the premise is incredible I am just overcome with the desire to know what Margaret A said I cannot fully express how much I just want to know and the writing is wonderful and totally fits the mood of the piece The uality of the censorship in even denying her a last name a uality I find particularly interesting given the author s decision to represent her first name as just an initial just as Margaret A s last name becomes just an initial is a terrifying but also b so incredibly intriguing I must know about this government and this woman and she is such a sad enigmatic person This story left me wanting but also kind of embarrassed that I don t feel like I read it like I should ve My Flannel Knickers by Leonora Carrington 155 So I just literally have no idea what happened basically a theme for this book if ou were wondering I mean it s definitely very pretty but I felt the whole time feeling like I was playing catch up towards something I would never truly understand For me this wasn t that great despite the really kind of wonderful start Also I loved how it came full circle and even I playing some intense catch up could begin to make some connections and glimpses The Mothers of Shark Island by Kit Reed 45 So I really liked this one Of course I didn t understand a lot and was kind of out of it at times but also I really liked it Now though I haven t ever been a mother I m a little sad about the nature of motherhood in this piece which is basically just like a thankless terrible job Still it s very gripping and even pretty at times The Palm Tree Bandit by Nnedi Okorafor 255 First story I could actually understand the majority of Sweet and cute and all that but didn t really resonate with me or
to my understanding of collection Enjoyed it but nothing all that special for Me The Grammarian S Five Daughters By Eleanor Arnason 455 The Grammarian s Five Daughters by Eleanor Arnason 455 loved this one I mean a it s about grammar and the power of words and b it s told like a fairytale and I just adore fairytales In some ways like the selling of words it reminds me a lot of Dos Palabras by Isabel Allende Any story that appreciates story and words has great value in my book And Salome Danced by Kelley Eskridge 255 I m marginally conflicted about this one Like I definitely didn t dislike it by any means but also it really didn t stand out to me at all I found it remarkable only in that it mentions the theater and I really like the theater and it provides a little bit of insight into the casting process etc but I didn t love it The Perfect Married Woman by Ang lica Gorodischer 25 I don t remember this one even after reading through it Interesting mentions of the murders and stuff but overall didn t particularly stick with me or anything The Glass Bottle Trick by Nalo Hopkinson 55 Terrifying and I love it First of all I tend to just really like retellings of Bluebeard because I think that they offer these really interesting insights into relationships especially ones that can very easily escalate into abusive relationships Every little detail added by the author was really interesting and special the race aspect his anger over things like the air conditioning and the glass bottle all of it was truly exceptional Their Mother s Tears The Fourth Letter by Leena Krohn 25 Of the two most explicitly about mothers the Mothers of Shark Island stuck with me a lot Mostly I Sisters of the Revolution gathers a highly curated selection of feminist speculative fiction science fiction fantasy horror and chosen by one.Contribute To My Understanding Of