Original Flash Fiction by Anaid Perez, Ellen Denham, Kim Winternheimer, Rhiannon Rasmussen, Vanessa Torline
Series: Women Destroy Science Fiction! (Lightspeed #49)
Published by Skyboat Media on November 18, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction
Length: 15 hours, 11 minutes
Narrated by Cassandra de Cuir, Gabrielle de Cuir, Jamye Méri Grant, John Allen Nelson, Judy Young, Molly Underwood
Buy It Here! •
The summer of 2013 was a rough one for women in science fiction. Every few weeks there was a new reminder that to a certain subset of the field, women are not welcome. There were multiple articles returning to the tired accusation that women aren’t writing “real” SF; disputes about the way the field is represented by vintage cheesecake art on the cover of a professional trade publication; the glib admonition that if women are to succeed, they should be more like Barbie, in her “quiet dignity.” For many readers, it was a very nasty surprise to discover this undercurrent running through the ocean of imaginative fiction we love.
And it just. Kept. Coming.
We got tired. We got angry. And then we came out the other side of exhaustion and anger deeply motivated to do something.
Thus the Women Destroy Science Fiction! special issue of LIGHTSPEED MAGAZINE was conceived. We did a Kickstarter campaign in early 2014 to help make the issue into a double issue; we crushed our fundraising goal in about 7 hours and ended up funding at more than 1000% of our original funding goal, with more than 2800 backers. Because of that tremendous success, we unlocked two major stretch goals which resulted in the publication of companion volumes Women Destroy Fantasy! and Women Destroy Horror!, which are being published as issues of LIGHTSPEED’s sister publications, FANTASY and NIGHTMARE.
FROM THE EDITORS — Christie Yant, Rachel Swirsky, Wendy N. Wagner, Robyn Lupo, and Gabrielle de Cuir
Editorial, June 2014: Women Destroy Science Fiction
ORIGINAL FLASH FICTION — edited by Robyn Lupo
Salvage by Carrie Vaughn – read by Susan Hanfield
A Guide to Grief by Emily Fox – read by Cassandra de Cuir
See DANGEROUS EARTH-POSSIBLES! by Tina Connolly – read by Harlan Ellison®
A Debt Repaid by Marina J. Lostetter – narrated by Jamye Méri Grant
The Sewell Home for the Temporally Displaced by Sarah Pinsker – narrated by Cassandra Campbell
#TrainFightTuesday by Vanessa Torline – narrated by Jamye Méri Grant with Cassandra de Cuir, Gabrielle de Cuir, John Allen Nelson, Molly Underwood, and Judy Young
The Hymn of Ordeal, No. 23 by Rhiannon Rasmussen – narrated by John Allen Nelson
Emoticon by Anaid Perez – narrated by Molly Underwood
The Mouths by Ellen Denham – narrated by Cassandra de Cuir
M1A by Kim Winternheimer – narrated by Judy Young
Standard Deviant by Holly Schofield – narrated by Cassandra Campbell
Getting on in Years by Cathy Humble – narrated by Stefan Rudnicki
Ro-Sham-Bot by Effie Seiberg – narrated by John Allen Nelson
Everything That Has Already Been Said by Samantha Murray – narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir
The Lies We Tell Our Children by Katherine Crighton – narrated by Cassandra Campbell
#TrainFightTuesday by Vanessa Torline – Narrated by Jamye Méri Grant with Cassandra de Cuir, Gabrielle de Cuir, John Allen Nelson, Molly Underwood, and Judy Young – 3.5 stars
“#TrainFightTuesday” is…strange. It’s a hard one to read via audio, for sure. “#TrainFightTuesday” is written in Twitter (but called Patter) and it was a little difficult to follow at first. Again I love Jamye Méri Grant’s narration but the sheer size of the cast plus all of the @ signs and # signs loses some of the magic for me. “#TrainFightTuesday” is a blow by blow account (updating via Patter) of a fight between a Super Villain and a Super Hero – in a normalized world that holds both. The narrator of the tale, Amy (@BarriaStar), is stuck on the Metro while the Super Villain and Super Hero fight.
The Hymn of Ordeal, No. 23 by Rhiannon Rasmussen – Narrated by John Allen Nelson – 3.5 stars
“The Hymn of Ordeal, No. 23” – I don’t know what to say about this one. It’s a little sad and reminds me “A Guide to Grief” in a small way. “The Hymn of Ordeal, No. 23” was a bit uncomfortable in that the narrator of the tale is lamenting over the loss of her brother. He signed up to be modified in some why that turns him into something like a guidance system in a self-governed ship. The ships are in response to the Earth being attacked by aliens – but the modifications basically kill the volunteers by removing their flesh. The volunteers are connected to their ships by their bones, fat, nerves and brains.
Emoticon by Anaid Perez – Narrated by Molly Underwood – 4 stars
“Emoticon” was super short and sweet! It’s basically a joke (or a snappy comeback). And there’s really nothing else to this two liner.
The Mouths by Ellen Denham – Narrated by Cassandra de Cuir – 3 stars
“The Mouths” wasn’t my favorite story but it didn’t creep me out so that’s a plus (it was a little gross, however). “The Mouths” is narrated by a student observing alien life. The aliens have no ears and no speech – they communicate by “long open mouth kisses” and by eating this “cracker” made with saliva that imparts information. The aliens reproduce asexually by “throwing up” a new alien when the first alien has eaten too much. Eeeewww! The aliens have evolved from creatures that resembled humans somewhat but the reader isn’t told what outside force caused this evolution.
M1A by Kim Winternheimer – Narrated by Judy Young – 4 stars
“M1A” is creepy. There’s really no other way I can look at it. It’s creepy and disturbing but it is interesting. “M1A” reminded me of The Great Loneliness but in a more personal way. M1A (or “Mia”) is a clone created for spare parts a la The Island. Unlike The Island but like The Great Loneliness, M1A/Mia lives with the family that had her created. The little girl that M1A was created from is sick and they often need surgeries (removing parts from M1A) to keep her well. What makes “M1A” even creepier is that Mia entertains the family. Mia entertains the little girl – even sleeping with her at night on occasion – and she entertains the adults by dancing, etc. The only thing that keeps M1A from being a “perfect” little girl is that she is mute (reason unknown) but she seems to have emotions so…
The story ends on a creepy note – one even creepier than the beginning. The ending gave me the impression that the next surgery will be to transplant something from the “real” little girl into M1A…like her vocal cords.