Women Destroy Science Fiction! Anthology Review: Original Flash Fiction (1/3)

March 13, 2017 2017 Review Challenge, 3.5 Stars, Anthology, Audiobook, Book Review, Science Fiction, short story/Vignette 1 ★★★½

Women Destroy Science Fiction! Anthology Review: Original Flash Fiction (1/3) three-half-stars
Original Flash Fiction by Carrie Vaughn, Emily Fox, Marina J Lostetter, Sarah Pinsker, Tina Connolly
Series: Women Destroy Science Fiction! (Lightspeed #49)
Published by Skyboat Media on November 18, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Length: 15 hours, 11 minutes
Narrated by Cassandra Campbell, Cassandra de Cuir, Harlan Ellison®, Jamye Méri Grant, Susan Hanfield
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

I took a small break from reading Women Destroy Science Fiction – I had to return the library book, lol. And YES. I know I own a personal copy…but there’s nothing quite like using a CD while commuting. Ease of use.

This is my first time really reading “Flash Fiction.” I’m not really into shorts in general so shorter forms of fiction often confound me.

“Salvage” by Carrie Vaughn – Narrated by Susan Hanfield – 4 Stars
Salvage was…sad and creepy at the same time. “Salvage” is what my friend Ala would call a “slice of life” story: there are no huge stakes and the story is focused on how [whatever situation] affects the lives of the characters in the story.

“Salvage” is a quick tale of what can happen to a [spaceship] crew when they are asked to discover why another spaceship has gone radio silent. The characters locate the ship to discover – as they expected – the entire crew died. It’s not an action story or a mystery, just a small slice of the lives of the people who located the [now dead] ship. A ship and crew that were just like them.

An excellent short tale and an auspicious beginning to a new format for me.

“A Guide to Grief” by Emily Fox – Narrated by Cassandra de Cuir 3.5 stars
I’m not quite sure what to make of A Guide to Grief. The story is incomplete but I’ve the feeling it is that way on purpose. A Guide to Grief is written as if the author is speaking directly to the audience and it has an unresolved ending that leaves the future completely in the reader’s hands. When I finished A Guide to Grief it felt – to me – that grief has propelled the author to commit suicide or murder but I’m sure there are many other interpretations.

“See DANGEROUS EARTH-POSSIBLES!” by Tina Connolly – Narrated by Harlan Ellison® 4 stars
“See DANGEROUS EARTH-POSSIBLES!” is another of these open to interpenetration endings. The story is about a youngish boy who’s parents are divorced. The boy doesn’t see his dad often (due to top security missions) and seems to have an antagonistic/abusive relationship with his step-father. The boy sees the ad for DANGEROUS EARTH-POSSIBLES! and sends off his application (out of sight of his stepfather’s prying eyes). The answer to the boy’s application takes him to different “Earth-Possibles” where he learns to fight and kill in order to help the future of Earth. The ending…was strange. I interpreted it as the boy going to try to kill his step-father.

Harlan Ellison®’s narration was great!

“A Debt Repaid” by Marina J. Lostetter – Narrated by Jamye Méri Grant 4 stars
“A Debt Repaid” is weird in the way that only SF can be. It is weird and strange and kinda creepy but I liked it! “A Debt Repaid” is written like a letter (or it IS a letter) from one character to another. It’s sad as well as creepy.

I also want to note that I think I’m in love with Jamye Méri Grant’s narrations. There’s something about the way she speaks and the emotions she uses that I think I’m crushing on.

“The Sewell Home for the Temporally Displaced” by Sarah Pinsker – Narrated by Cassandra Campbell 2.5 stars
I didn’t care for “The Sewell Home for the Temporally Displaced” much at all. The story has interesting characters but the most important part of the story is missing: the why/how. The story didn’t tell me how these Temporally Displaced people became that way. Where they born in this manner? Did something happen to them? IDK. But the idea itself is intriguing.

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