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Subversion: Science Fiction & Fantasy tales…
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Member:laurion
Title:Subversion: Science Fiction & Fantasy tales of challenging the norm
Authors:Jessica Reisman
Other authors:Jean Johnson, Cat Rambo, Shanna Germain, Barbara Krasnoff, C. A. Young13 more, Camille Alexa, Bart R. Leib (Editor), Natania Barron, Kelly Jennings, Caleb Jordan Schulz, Brittany Jackson (Cover Design), Wendy N. Wagner, Kay T. Holt, R. J. Atruc, Deirdre M. Murphy, Timothy T. Murphy, Melissa S. Green, Daniel José Older
Info:Crossed Genres Publications (2011), Paperback, 172 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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Subversion: Science Fiction & Fantasy tales of challenging the norm by Jessica Reisman

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    Broken Slate by Kelly Jennings (MinaKelly)
    MinaKelly: Her short story in Subversion is set in the same world as Broken Slate.
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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
When I first started reading this book I wasn't sure where it was going or if I'd like it. Turns out that the collection of short stories varies widely. I'm not sure I would recommend buying it, but I think there's probably short story in here for everyone. ( )
  laurion | Nov 6, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is definitely an anthology theme to get behind: the authors collected here cover a wide range of sub-genres, and the editor has done a great job of avoiding stories with too similar 'shapes' - an unfortunate flaw in many themed anthologies.

A Thousand Wings of Luck by Jessica Reisman starts the collection with beautifully detailed world building, that could have sustained a novel, and a genuine feeling of uncertainty about the decisions the main character would make, and the effect they would have.

Seed by Shanna Germain does a similarly meticulous job of world building, managing the difficult task of packing in a alien society's world view, and the critique there of into a short wordcount, with lots of interesting angles on gender, sex, and food to consider.

Received Without Content by Timothy T. Murphy and Parent Hack by Kay T. Holt are both near-future tales of teenage rebellion - both excellent, but otherwise so different in flavour and shape.

Scrapheap Angel by RJ Astruc & Deirdre M. Murphy and The Hero Industry by Jean Johnson might be said to form a similar pair around adult job roles - how much changes, when so much stays the same.

Phantom Overload by Daniel José Older and The Red Dybbuk by Barbara Krasnoff both mix a strong sense of location and identity with the paranormal end of the genre mix. Again - two strong stories with some surface similarities, but utterly different reading experiences.

To Sleep With Pachamama by Caleb Jordan Schulz takes us to a post-earth end-of-the-line to finish out the anthology - a very fitting grace note of hope and possibility.

Not every story spoke to me, and the overall collection is maybe less subversive than the title might suggest, but there are a lot of very strong stories here - certainly more to recommend than to not. ( )
  AlexDraven | Feb 19, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
My initial expectations:
Given the current turmoil in the world economy and the anger against bankers and big business in general I was expecting a book of stories born out of the frustration and rage that has shown itself in the “Occupy Wall Street” protest and all its associated actions and demonstrations across the Western world. Despite the impression given by the picture on the front cover the stories in “Subversion” do not fit into that slot.

“Subversion” is a collection of relatively mild stories, some better than others (as one would expect in a collection), but nothing that is Earth shattering, revolutionary or likely to provoke the gathering of a rabble to demand change.

The foreword states all the stories are united in their dealing with subversion of one sort or another.

The stories:
A Thousand Wings of Luck by Jessica Reisman
Good world building – The world in this story would do well as part of a novel, but the story in this short piece is too weak for the world built to tell it. The “religion” in the tale could be built upon as part of a bigger work.

And All Its Truths by Camille Alexa
This is a tale of life in a colony where the humans have been pushed into subservience by the machines that were put in place to protect them. It is a story of hope and survival. One could interpret it as a story about the Guantanamo detention centre.

Pushaway by Melissa S. Green
This is a tale about religious oppression, suppression of women in the name of religion, and child abuse in isolated communities. The central government, although aware of the mistreatment, does not take action to enforce child protection measures and human writes until many people are permanently damaged by the lifestyle and feudal control of the religious leaders.

Phantom Overload by Daniel José Older
This is an amusing little tale of tyranny in the afterlife. While it was a good story I was upset by repeated basic grammatical errors (e.g. “There’s two…”; “There’s hundreds…”) and some poor editing that didn’t catch sentences like, “In moments like these that I have to work very hard not to use it.”

Cold Against the Bone by Kelly Jennings
A tale of slavery and injustice. A bit too disjointed and convolute to be an enjoyable read.

The Red Dybbuk by Barbara Krasnoff
I found this story had nothing in it to grab my interest.

Pushing Paper in Hartleigh by Natania Barron
Pushing Paper is a lovely tale of frustration with bureaucracy.

Parent Hack by Parent Hack by Kay T. Holt
This is a fun story of future foster parenting.

The Hero Industry by Jean Johnson
Armchair theory story on kidnapping.

Flicka by Cat Rambo
Interesting tale of prejudice in small town USA with differences highlighted between right-wing theist community and the more open minded atheists.

Seed by Shanna Germain
Brothel taking business from foreigners and being persecuted by men of their own kind as a result. Well told story about prejudice and xenophobia.

Scrapheap Angel by R.J. Astruc & Deirdre Murphy
This is an amusing tale about the dehumanising effect of call centres.

The Dragon’s Bargain by C. A. Young
An interesting tale but some loose editing let some problems through.

A Tiny Grayness in the Dark by Wendy N. Wagner
A tale of the underworld; beautifully told.

Received Without Content by Timothy T. Murphy
Interesting tale about striking back against the privileged elite.

To Sleep With Pachamama by Caleb Jordan Schulz
Eco warriors of the future. Good story of struggle against the system.

While the collection contains some interesting pieces it is not a book I will be going back to time and again. ( )
  pgmcc | Jan 19, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a high quality collection of SF & F stories. They are roughly the same length, and of consistent quality. Although there is a common thread of "subversion" there is a variety of genres from hard SF to underworld Fantasy.

I highly recommend this book. Even if there's one story you don't like then if you like SF & F you'll probably like the rest. ( )
  paulmorriss | Jan 19, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. Also to note: my work has appeared in past issues of Crossed Genres Magazine, by the same publisher, though I have no work in this anthology.

The theme of this book is unique. By "challenging the norm," characters in very different settings fight for their lives, their people, and their sanity. My initial concern was that the book would be very dark. Indeed, some of the stories do dwell on darkness, but not all. Subversion doesn't have to mean inciting a rebellion. Many of the tales are more subtle, such as Cat Rambo's story "Flicka," where a human boy strikes up a friendship with a girl genetically-modified to be equine. One of the lightest stories in the group is "The Hero Industry" by Jean Johnson, where the power of a wise strategy for a rebellion creates an enterprise. "The Red Dybbuk" by Barbara Krasnoff and "To Sleep with Pachamama" by Caleb Jordan Schulz are fascinating because of how they utilize Jewish and Quechan cultures, respectively, creating stories with a fresh perspective.

As for the genres, the anthology has the full gamut. Fantasy, science fiction, dystopia, urban fantasy... it's all in here.

A lot of times I read anthologies and have a few favorites, but most of the stories are forgettable. Here, probably half of the stories resounded for me, and even the ones I didn't quite connect with were well-done. ( )
1 vote ladycato | Jan 13, 2012 |
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