Women Destroy Science Fiction! Anthology Review: Love is the Plan the Plan is Death by James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon) -Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki)

December 20, 2016 2016 Review Challenge, 4.5 Stars, Anthology, Audiobook, Book Review, recommendations, Science Fiction, series, slice of life, Space & Aliens 0 ★★★★½

Women Destroy Science Fiction! Anthology Review: Love is the Plan the Plan is Death by James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon) -Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki) four-half-stars
Love is the Plan the Plan is Death by James Tiptree Jr./Alice Sheldon
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 Stefan Rudnicki
Goodreads
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 SHORT STORIES — edited by Christie Yant

REPRINTS — selected by Rachel Swirsky
Like Daughter by Tananarive Due – narrated by Jamye Méri Grant
The Great Loneliness by Maria Romasco Moore – narrated by Judy Young
Love is the Plan the Plan is Death by James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon) – narrated by Stefan Rudnicki
Knapsack Poems: A Goxhat Travel Journal by Eleanor Arnason – narrated by Stefan Rudnicki
The Cost to Be Wise by Maureen F. McHugh (novella) – narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir

Love is the Plan the Plan is Death is another of these stories that was MADE by the narration. Stefan Rudnicki stuck his big toe in this one. Seriously. If I were reading this in print, I wouldn’t have finished it. But Stefan Rudnicki gave a performance that left me awestruck.

The beginnings of Love is the Plan the Plan is Death were uncomfortable for me. The wording/phrasing is…different. I also would not classify Love is the Plan the Plan is Death as Science Fiction. The characters and world-building could have (did?) easily taken place in a Fantasy setting instead of a Science Fiction one.

Stefan Rudnicki is the true MVP of this story. His voice did such wonderful things with Love is the Plan the Plan is Death. The beginning was a little startling as Rudnicki’s voice is huge but as a few paragraphs went by, I started to notice how…poetic the story was. And how poetic Rudnicki sounded. As Rudnicki’s voice in turn boomed, whispered and lilted, I was enraptured. James Tiptree, Jr./Alice Sheldon wrote a wonderful (if awkward) tale and Stefan Rudnicki brought it to life.

Love is the Plan the Plan is Death © 2014 Lisa Grabenstetter

Love is the Plan the Plan is Death © 2014 Lisa Grabenstetter

Love is the Plan the Plan is Death is the story of Moggadeet. Moggadeet is talking to someone – at first [the audience] isn’t sure who – to his heartmate, Lilliloo. Moggadeet is telling Lilli of his life and all that he has learned. He is telling Lilli the story of Moggadeet and Lilliloo. Moggadeet starts his tale at the very beginning. He tells Lilli of the first time he saw her. Moggadeet also speaks of his mother and the first things of his life he can remember. Moggadeet thinks differently but poetically and the way he speaks is almost hypnotic.

I was pretty sure as to what the ending of Love is the Plan the Plan is Death would be. There are hints scattered throughout and I did pick up on them but when I say that Stefan Rudnicki brought this story to life, I was not joking in the least. As we wound down to the final bits of Love is the Plan the Plan is Death, I knew what was going to happen but still…caught myself crying regardless. Wow. Powerful.

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