Sisters of the Revolution: A Publishers Weekly Review

Publishers Weekly
May 2015

The VanderMeers (The Time Traveler’s Almanac) have produced a well-curated and gorgeously edited selection of speculative feminist stories, including classics from the 1970s and ‘80s as well as recent work by currently prominent writers. The stories, arranged thematically, flow into and bounce off of one another in a thought-provoking, dramatic arrangement that displays each piece in its best possible light. Highlights include James Tiptree Jr.’s “The Screwfly Solution,” a terrifying exploration of femicide; Hiromi Goto’s “Tales from the Breast,” a darkly funny look at a nursing mother pushed to her limit; Angela Carter’s “The Fall River Axe Murders,” which builds and removes sympathy for Lizzie Borden in equal measure; and Rose Lemberg’s “Seven Losses of Na Re,” a meditation on memory and totalitarianism. There are no truly weak pieces, but Tanith Lee’s “Northern Chess” doesn’t rise beyond its conventional sword-and-sorcery trappings, and today’s readers will cringe at the attitude towards transsexuality in Pamela Sargent’s “Fears” and the employment of gender-shifting and androgyny as an attribute of evil in several older stories. Otherwise, this collection is a generous celebration of work both by and about women.

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