Original Flash Fiction by Cathy Humble, Effie Seiberg, Holly Schofield, Katherine Crighton, Samantha Murray
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 Campbell, Gabrielle de Cuir, John Allen Nelson, Stefan Rudnicki
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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
Standard Deviant by Holly Schofield – Narrated by Cassandra Campbell – 2.5 stars
“Standard Deviant” is rather long (for flash) with very little payoff. The majority of the story has the heroine hiding behind a car. She calls the car’s owner her boyfriend (but he’s not) but then says she is homeless. I have no clue as to why the heroine is hiding behind the car – I kept wanting her to go inside or something! The reminder of the story basically says that life is futile. The story is ok but I wasn’t a huge fan.
Getting on in Years by Cathy Humble – Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki – 3.5 stars
“Getting on in Years” is a strange story – I don’t think I would have liked it so much if Stefan Rudnicki wasn’t narrating. “Getting on in Years” was another story with a slightly ambiguous ending – I spent some time wondering what would happen next. I had the impression that someone was about to commit murder.
Ro-Sham-Bot by Effie Seiberg – Narrated by John Allen Nelson – 3.5 stars
“Ro-Sham-Bot” is cute and sad at the same time. “Ro-Sham-Bot” is about a “personality free” robot that actually has a personality. That part was cute – the sad part was watching the robot learn that it had to pretend to be emotion-less or get scrapped. What made “Ro-Sham-Bot” a lot more interesting was John Allen Nelson’s narration (which I really, really enjoyed).
Everything That Has Already Been Said by Samantha Murray – Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir – 4 stars
“Everything That Has Already Been Said” is sad but I feel there’s a lesson here, as well. The story revolves around a robot programed to “always be unique.” The creator of the robot wanted her to never repeat the same “boring” things that have been said over and over again. The sad part of this is that there are quite a lot of things that are often repeated that are beautiful in their simplicity…like “I love you.” Over time (and the robot’s growth and accumulation of knowledge) even the robot’s creator could no longer understand her.
The Lies We Tell Our Children by Katherine Crighton – Narrated by Cassandra Campbell – 3.5 stars
“The Lies We Tell Our Children” serves as the closing piece to the “story” part of this anthology. Now that I’ve finished the entire audio…I have to say I wish the anthology didn’t end with the Flash Fiction – and especially this story. “The Lies We Tell Our Children” was a little sad and a lot ambiguous – not my favorite. The story ended with the impression – for me – that the narrator was in a spaceship alone and had manufactured holograms [in an attempt] to keep her sanity. I’m trying my best to step around the spoilers but I have to say that I don’t believe that the narrator is a sane as she thinks she is – I think the children manifest her misgivings and echo them back to her. The soothing of the children – “the lies we tell” – are, in effect, lies she tells herself. I could be wrong, of course, but that’s the impression I was left with.