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Transcendent: The Year's Best Transgender Speculative Fiction
     

Transcendent: The Year's Best Transgender Speculative Fiction

by K. M. Szpara (Editor)
 

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There are fantastical stories with actual transgender characters, some for whom that is central and others for whom that isn't. And there are stories without transgender characters, but with metaphors and symbolism in their place, genuine expressions of self through such speculative fiction tropes as shapeshifting and programming. Transgender individuals see

Overview

There are fantastical stories with actual transgender characters, some for whom that is central and others for whom that isn't. And there are stories without transgender characters, but with metaphors and symbolism in their place, genuine expressions of self through such speculative fiction tropes as shapeshifting and programming. Transgender individuals see themselves in transformative characters, those outsiders, before seeing themselves as human protagonists. Those feelings are still valid. But though the stories involve transformation and outsiders, sometimes the change is one of self-realization. This anthology will be a welcome read for those who are ready to transcend gender through the lens of science fiction, fantasy, and other works of imaginative fiction.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 09/05/2016
First-time editor Szpara shoots the death-obsessed conventions of transgender narratives into space with this splendid collection of 15 speculative works by trans authors, starring trans characters, and/or featuring themes of transformation, placing gender’s many permutations under a warm and welcoming spotlight. Beginning with Nino Cipri’s “The Shape of My Name,” a nonlinear, barely binary tale of coming out via time travel, and ending with Penny Stirling’s “Kin, Painted,” a search for self through paint and myriad gender identities, Szpara stitches together a collection that feels like a cozy blanket for trans readers who long for inclusive fiction (and for cis readers who may well wonder why there’s so much gender-essentialism in everyday SF/F). Though some of the works are either a little overwrought or a touch underdone, the breadth of voices is dazzling, and many stories are outstanding; highlights include Alexis A. Hunter’s “Be Not Unequally Yoked,” about an Amish boy learning to live with the mare who literally lives inside him; A. Merc Rustad’s “Where Monsters Dance,” in which a cis woman rescues her trans girlfriend from a fairy tale gone wrong; and Molly Tanzer’s “The Thing on the Cheerleading Squad,” a foray into gender-twisting Lovecraftian horror. This is a timely (which is to say long overdue), wide-ranging, and highly enjoyable collection. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"First-time editor Szpara shoots the death-obsessed conventions of transgender narratives into space with this splendid collection of 15 speculative works by trans authors, starring trans characters, and/or featuring themes of transformation, placing gender's many permutations under a warm and welcoming spotlight." - Publishers Weekly, starred review
Kirkus Reviews
2016-09-26
Szpara edits an anthology of new, speculative short stories from transgender perspectives. A transgender man and his melancholy family live in different decades by using an heirloom time machine. A woman works on fostering telepathy between people and animals in order for humanity to get the upper hand in a war with aliens. A female resident of a fishing village, who desires a wombless body, goes to sea in a magic ship. An aspiring librarian is tasked with making books easier to share while simultaneously making them impossible to steal. These and other stories in this collection, set in places both fantastic and familiar, follow characters who seem caught forever between worlds. In an introduction, Szpara explains the content: "There are stories with actual transgender characters, some for whom that is central and others for whom that isn't. And there are stories without transgender characters, but with metaphors and symbolism in their place, genuine expressions of self through shapeshifting and programming." From Holly Heisey's short, epistolary "Contents of Care Package to Etsath-tachri, Formerly Ryan Andrew Curran (Human English Translated to Sedrayin)" to Penny Stirling's meditative, fragmentary "Kin, Painted," the tales depict a multitude of forms, genres, cultures, and time frames. All were published in various literary journals in 2015 and represent the diversity of both transgender and speculative fiction. They interact with past literary traditions, respond to the evolving social climate of the present, and, of course, imagine the landscapes of the future. Authors also include Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Everett Maroon, E. Catherine Tobler, and Molly Tanzer, among others, most of whom readers will likely encounter for the first time. The stories are as literary as they are imaginative, written in practiced prose that probes and interrogates the emotional states of their characters. The speculative scenarios match with transgender perspectives in such complementary, productive ways that one wonders why it hasn't been done more often. Traditional boundaries of identity and structure are blessedly absent, as this anthology challenges readers' expectations in ways that few have managed to do before. A varied, remarkable collection of trans-themed fiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590216170
Publisher:
Lethe Press
Publication date:
09/13/2016
Series:
Transcendent , #1
Pages:
206
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.47(d)

Meet the Author

In the best of all timelines, K.M. Szpara lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with their black cat and miniature poodle. He has a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, which they totally uses at his day job as a paralegal. On nights and weekends, Kelly advances the queer agenda by writing science fiction and fantasy novels. Their short fiction appears in Lightspeed, Shimmer, and Glittership.

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