Magazine article World Literature Today

Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology

Magazine article World Literature Today

Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology

Article excerpt

Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology. Ann Vandermeer & Jeff Vandermeer, ed. Oakland, California. PM Press. (IPG, distr.). 2015. 341 pages.

This collection brings together stories from the 1970s onward from new and established writers in science fiction and fantasy. The editors note in their introduction that the stories were arranged for flow and readability without regard to chronology, and I believe they hit the mark.

Speculative fiction provides an excellent milieu in which to explore feminist themes and the pressures and impositions put upon women in everyday life. In fact, it is almost easier to confront the absurdity of social constructions of gender in a setting that itself is absurd or surreal. All the stories challenge patriarchy and patriarchal thinking in some way and reveal to us just how dangerous it can be. Some of my favorites include:

"The Forbidden Words of Margaret A.", by L. Timmel Duchamp, gives us a powerful heroine whose words are outlawed and body imprisoned by a government that fears her influence. "The Mothers of Shark Island," by Kit Reed, explores the isolation, burdens, and responsibilities of maternal love. …

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