“Fidelity: A Primer”
Michael Blumlein, ,
This is a story about circumcision, a very gender related issue. It is one of the rare stores that explores gender issues by examining male body issues, and the choices they involve.
“Diagram of Rapture”
James L. Cambias, ,
A woman researching neurohormones discovers a brain chemical that naturally triggers sexual arousal. The resulting drug artificially does the same thing, affecting sexual interactions on a larger social scale, as well as hanging relationships within the scientist’s own family.
The Danish Girl
David Ebershoff, Viking
The fantasy elements in this novel are so slight as to be almost non-existent, but it was so compelling that the jury could not bear to leave it out. It is the story of Einar, a man in 1920s Denmark who turns himself into a woman, Lili, first through dress and mannerisms, then through lifestyle, and ultimately surgery. One of the most interesting aspects of the book is the portrayal of Greta, who is both Einar’s wife and Lili’s best friend, as she runs through a tremendous range of emotions when her husband and her life are transformed.
Ash: A Secret History
Mary Gentle, Victor Gollancz, London
This enormous novel (published as an 1100 page book in the UK and as a four volume work in the US) is set in an alternate 15th century. Its main characters are Ash, a female mercenary, and Flora/Florian, a woman who dresses as a man in order to study medicine. It is a vividly realized portrait of two powerful and unusual women surviving in a time that is openly hostile to them.
Camille Henrandez-Ramdwar, Whispers from the CottonTree Root, Invisible Cities Press
This is a powerful story about fitting in, about body image, and about how physical appearance influences what others think about a woman’s personality and sexuality.
“The Glass Bottle Trick”
Nalo Hopkinson (ed.), Whispers from the Cotton TreeRoot, Invisible Cities Press
A seamless blend of fairy tale and Caribbean folklore, this chilling tale examines the roles of men and women in courtship, and how those roles change with marriage and pregnancy.
Nalo Hopkinson, Warner Aspect
A rollicking Caribbean feminist tale about a little girl turned outlaw, it is a blend of action-adventure, science fiction, allegory, and myth that offers a unique intersection of gender, race, and identity issues. While not overtly about gender, the ideas and concepts of gender are at its very heart.
Perdido Street Station
China Melville, Macmillan UK Ltd., London
An amazing read, a big epic wonder of a novel that constructs an urban fantasy world that is both Dickensian and futuristic. Its main themes are about inter-species relationships and what it is to be human, but there is a strong gender sub-theme that weaves its way through the city and the lives of its main characters.
“Once on the Shores of the Strem Senegambia”
Pamela Mordecai, Whispers from the Cotton TreeRoot, Invisible Cities Press
A very scary story about colonization and gender. The author uses a future society to explore questions about what it means to be in a female body, and what the consequences are when a woman’s choices about her body are not under her control.
Severna Park, Eos
A fresh and interesting feminist take on the Garden of Eden myth, with new treatments of the familiar symbols of apple, gate, and garden.
Sea As Mirror
Tess Williams, HarperCollins Voyager
Set in an overpopulated, environmentally precarious not-so-distant future, this novel deals with the theme of inter-species communication, and is a fascinating look at what it means to be the Other.