And also I #amreading some things…

Many many things. I finished Remote awhile ago–as I am greedy, I found myself telling Donn Cortez I wished it had gone on longer–and I’ve joined Pinterest but haven’t really figured it out yet.
I’ve also read a novella James Patrick Kelly kindly sent me, “Men are Trouble“. This came about because I was writing an article about gender in SF and fantasy, and trying to remember the title of his short story, “Lovestory.” So, in that way we all have now I’d thrown a query out to the Twitternets and had an answer, from Jim himself, in 24 hours. We got to talking about gender and science fiction and he mentioned his other gender stuff, in particular this novella.
So. “Men are Trouble.” It’s a near-future hardboiled detective story. There are aliens in it, aliens who–it’s apparent early on–came to Earth to help humanity pull itself out of the environmental and economic hole we’re currently digging ourselves into. And who, as part of their tough love program, disappeared every single man in the world. Jim wanted to know what I thought, and I’m sure he’d be interested in your reaction, too.
What did I think? The obvious effect of removing the male sex from the population, in this story, certainly isn’t to disappear human conflict or power struggles. It brings a couple things into the light: intergenerational friction between women, and the aliens’ failure to understand that simply wiping out guys (and, presumably, transwomen) isn’t the answer. The story and the culture he creates is very true to human behavior.
It’s a terrific story, and I’m still thinking about it a week later.
I also couldn’t help but compare it to James Alan Gardner’s “A Clean Sweep with All the Trimmings,” which is also feminist in its sensibility and a hardboiled. And, just a little, to my favorite hardboiled ever, Nicola Griffith’s Aud series which opens with Blue Place. The trio makes me wonder what it is about the hard-boiled that makes it such a good lens for stories about gender inequality. Or are all genres equally good for this, and it’s just that I’ve been exposed to these three excellent examples.
Changing pace, I’ve moved on to Caitlin Sweet’s The Pattern Scars, which is lovely and dark and intriguing, and which is also on the Prix Aurora Ballot, by the way. It’s beautifully put together on a sentence-by-sentence level and is well worth close attention.

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About Alyx Dellamonica

After twenty-two years in Vancouver, B.C., I've recently moved to Toronto Ontario, where I make my living writing science fiction and fantasy; I also review books and teach writing online at UCLA. I'm a legally married lesbian, a coffee snob, and I wake up at an appallingly early hour.

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