Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction
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Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction (The World of Riverside 0.7)

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3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  109 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Speculative fiction is the literature of questions, of challenges and imagination, and what better to question than the ways in which gender and sexuality have been rigidly defined, partitioned off, put in little boxes? These seventeen stories explore the ways in which identity can go beyond binary from space colonies to small college towns, from angels to androids, and fr...more
276 pages
Published May 2012 by Lethe Press
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ambyr
Is expecting a book subtitled "Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction" to provide speculative fiction stories about genderqueer characters too much to ask for? Apparently so, if this collection is any indication. It's not that I didn't enjoy any of the stories. It's that almost none of them lived up to the book's label. (Bisexuality is not the same thing as sexual fluidity. Being transgendered is different from being genderqueer.) This is particularly frustrating because this is a co...more
Sarah
My flight back from Readercon was delayed by several hours, so I got to read this anthology cover to cover. I usually prefer to break up the reading of a themed anthology, but there was enough variety in this one to keep me engaged. I particularly liked the Kelley Eskridge story. I would have loved to see even more variety, both in the types of speculative fiction and in the expected breadth inherent in the "beyond binary" label. Still, taken individually, most of these stories are strong; taken...more
Bending The Bookshelf
Brit Mandelo is something of a queer genre celebrity, having served as the senior fiction editor for Strange Horizons Magazine, while also leading the discussions on Queering SFF for Tor Books. It was actually an early piece of her on Tiptree Award Winners that first brought her to my attention, and I’ve been relying on her to expand my bookshelf ever since.

Beyond Binary is a collection of previously published Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction stories that I'd been looking forwa...more
A.C. Wise
Beyond Binary is an incredibly strong reprint anthology, showcasing tales of fluid gender and sexuality. Of the stories I'd read elsewhere, the two stand-outs were Kelly Eskridge's Eye of the Storm and Catherynne M. Valente's Palimpsest. I was delighted to see both included, particularly Eskridge's piece, as it has lingered with me since I first read it years ago, and it perfectly encapsulates the theme of the collection. The stories which were new to me that really stood out were Nalo Hopkinson...more
Beans
For a book called "Beyond Binary," this book was ... really binary. There were two or three stories where the narrator or main character is not assigned a gender but most are either male or female - and often it's not a particularly large component of the story if the character identifies or is identified as trans* in any way.

Beyond that, I wasn't particularly impressed with any of the stories. There were a handful I enjoyed but none that really stood out to me. It was kind of a struggle to kee...more
Cow
I was so excited when I first read about this book and the early reviews.

But no.

There are a few good pieces in here. "Eye of the Storm" by Kelley Eskridge was both amazing and mind-blowing, and made up for so much of the rest of this book. But at that point, you should probably just pick up her own personal anthology, Dangerous Space. A few of the stories toward the end were good, too, although none super stand-out.

Aside from the one story above, the best thing I can say is that most of these ar...more
Kit
Jan 08, 2013 Kit rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: queer, trans
Well, that was overwhelmingly binary.

When an anthology is subtitled "Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction", I'm naturally going to go in assuming a fair number of the stories will be about genderqueer or otherwise nonbinary people, you know? But the vast majority of these stories were either about cisgender queer people (including cisgender queer people whose narratives gave no hint of them being actually sexually fluid) or about binary trans* people. And don't get me wrong, I love...more
Greg
For a book that claims to be "beyond binary" and "genderqueer," the almost complete lack of either in this anthology is astonishing. (Doubly so since it's full of reprints.) Most stories paid lip service at best via some bisexuality (and often fleeting at that), and for a book that promised no surprise reveal of genitals as a punch line, one of the stories in fact does just that.

The best thing about this book is Kelley Eskridge's "Eye of the Storm" which really is just reminding me that I've had...more
Melinda
Overall, I really liked the anthology. There where stories I didnt like because the plot wasn't of interest to me. A good example was the pirate story. I like the idea of computer hackers as pirates but I couldn't connected with the drinking of rum as a medium to reincarnation and possession. I liked Fisherman by Nalo Hopkinson. It was grounded in a reality of experience that I believe could have existed in a different era. I also really adored Spoiling Veena! Veena knew that Vikrum was truly wh...more
Christopher
I read this back in June but forgot to rate and review. The selections are all good to great, but I got my money's worth from Delia Sherman's "Faery Cony-Catcher" and Richard Larson's "The Ghost Party". Valente's story, "Palimpsest," was nice to see here, too, particularly since her novel of the same name often eclipses the story that was its seed. The Kelly Eskridge story was one I had not come across before, and it was wonderful, as were the Sandra McDonald and Ellen Kushner stories.

Kudos to...more
Cole
I'm rating this three stars only because a few of the stories, in particular "Eye of the Storm," "Fisherman," and "Bonehouse," are worth reading. That said, I was disappointed by Beyond Binary because it occasionally lacked the genderqueer and sexually fluid components in stories while other stories lacked the genre of speculative fiction unless someone realllly stretched the genre. In other words, the theme of the collection does not come across consistently through the stories selected.

I foun...more
Valerie
Aug 28, 2012 Valerie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of speculative fiction, fans of "Swordspoint"
Recommended to Valerie by: Amazon Daily blog
Meh. A couple of good stories and quite a few that are so oblique they are almost incoherent (and I'm not interested enough to invest the time to decipher them). Starts stronger than it finishes...and if I hadn't read the title of the anthology or the introductory essay, I wouldn't have guessed the common theme.
T.C. Mill
Recently, I’ve started seeking out fiction, especially speculative fiction, about trans and genderqueer characters. A call out for ideas on Twitter resulted in this book being recommended to me. As several other reviewers have said, Beyond Binary isn’t always as “beyond binary” as it could have been, and I’m puzzled at the inclusion of some of these stories, but it does form a diverse and excellent sampler of LGBT fiction from leading authors in the field. Some names I recognized before going pa...more
Richard Larson
Mar 07, 2012 Richard Larson rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)
I'm in this book, but don't let that stop you. These are urgent, important stories, and I hope they get read by lots and lots of people.
Lauren
This is a fascinating and much-needed anthology. While I thought some of the stories were less daring than others--or, for whatever reason, less appealing to me personally--the majority were excellent: well-written, thought-provoking, and a pleasure to read. I'd like to talk just a little bit about my favorites, focusing on those that worked exceptionally well both as stories and as considerations of gender and sexuality.

"Sea of Cortez" is barely SFF--there's precognition or prophesy that doesn'...more
Carol Holland  March
Review for Beyond Binary.

I really enjoyed this collection of stories about people redefining sexual identity and gender. The stories are all speculative fiction, reprinted from a variety of speculative fiction magazines and anthologies. They range from the slightly different to the quite strange, and some are more accessible than others, but all are well written and worth reading. The choices are a good selection of the editor calls “sexually fluid”, one of my current favorite phrases. Several...more
Samuel
For those who're TLDR - I suggest reading the book, because it's good.

This collection first came to my attention because it’s got “Eye of the Storm – Kelley Eskridge” in it; I love the story so I decided to buy the collection. It turned out, though, to have many more stories I ended up enjoying! I’ve decided to review the collection story by story, since I’m unsure how to discuss theme without spoilers. While I won’t be giving plot specific spoilers, I do mention my emotions/impressions of the s...more
Char
Not gunna lie, the title of this book gave the impression it would be full of stories about people of many various gender identities. However, all except a couple were about transgender people and quite a few were about cisgender hetero/bisexual people. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to see representation of these groups, but there is already a lot more representation for them than for agender/third gender/genderfluid/androgynous/etc. people, which is what I was looking for and what I was expecti...more
Mirrordance
Più fantasi che sci-fi i racconti che sono riuscita a leggere di questa antologia che non mi ha preso ed ho trovato tanto faticosa da abbandonarla per momenti futuri. Nessuno dei racconti mi ha preso, a volte surreali, spesso sospesi e incomprensibili. Stili diversi caratterizzati, in toria, dal raccontare personaggi con una fluidità di genere ma in realtà da un faticoso e lento scorrere delle narrazioni.
Kirk Sluder
An interesting collection. Mandelo takes a big tent perspective on genderqueer and sexual fluidity, necessary because it's not always appropriate within the frame of a fictional setting to apply contemporary labels.

As with many collections, I found the stories to be hit or miss, primarily due to writing and structure rather than issues of sexuality. "Eye of the Storm" is one of the better stories in the collection, but it comes early. "Shrodinger's Pussy" is a free-wheeling surrealist narrative...more
Tommy Carlson
Interesting set of short stories promising to smash the boundaries of traditional relationships. But, honestly, it didn't feel all that ground-breaking. I'm a straight white guy from the suburbs. Okay, I'm more open-minded than most. Still, nothing here made me sit back and think "wow." So, I think, given the title, the collection is more tepid than it should be.

That said, most of the stories are good. As with any collection, each reader will find some which really resonate and some which fall f...more
Heather
A great collection, though it's somewhat unbalanced--as a whole, the stories in the beginning are much better. I found myself wishing that more of the stories dealt with elements other than sex, because gender identity doesn't have to hinge on the type of sex you are having or who you're having it with. There's only one asexual protag, and there seems to be a preponderance of lesbians. For my money, the stand out stories are:

Sea of Cortez
Eye of the Storm
Fisherman
The Faerie Cony-Catcher
Bleaker C...more
SA
Dec 30, 2013 SA rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
This was FANTASTIC. I am so ambivalent about anthologies; generally I read for the authors I know and don't do a whole lot of exploring (I came for Kushner's Swordspoint story, for example) but something about this one captured me (likely the theme). I read this from cover to cover and there was not a single story I disliked. That's basically magic, when it comes to anthologies. This is a remarkable collection of writing--and a truly impressive hand at editing.
Kim
What a disappointment. This collection was alleged to "explore the ways in which identity can go beyond binary", but I don't think that a single one of the seventeen stories did that at all! Many of the stories didn't have anything to do with gender at all. Those few that touched on gender fluidity only did so within the binary of male or female. Two of them were barely even written in English (actually, intentionally perverted English).
Bobbi Cinaede
From my RR comments:
This was a hard one to evaluate. There were some really good stories, that accomplished the spirit of the collection, but there were several that seemed as if they must have been reluctantly chosen to fill space. Overall, I was more confused by the story choices than I was entertained, and only a few of the characters really seemed to have any heart and soul.
Lora
Some really fascinating looks at gender and sexuality; I just wish I'd known ahead of time that so many were going to be erotica. One or two I just skipped completely because I had no interest in reading that detailed an account of sex, no matter who it's between. Ah well.

Still a good read, though!
Ana
Sep 23, 2012 Ana added it
This is a collection of speculative fiction, each with characters that don't fit the gender binary in some way or another. What fun, and what imagination the writers show! And thanks to the Livejournal friends-of-friends network that alerted me to its publication.
Sumayyah
Decent selection of stories, some that I have read before in other collections. However, I found myself confused as to why several of these stories were included as I was unable to figure out their connection to gender.
Kate O'Hanlon
There were a handful of stories here that I loved (and one that even made me tear up) and then a bunch that were a bit 'meh' and two I skipped.

Someday I will read an anthology that I like all of.

Heron
Two bright highlights: Kelley Eskridge's Eye of the Storm and Katherine Sparrow's Pirate Solutions. Also loved: Fisherman, Prosperine When it Sizzles, Palimpsest.
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Goodreads Librari...: Add Book to Riverside Series 5 17 May 23, 2013 07:57PM  
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  • Nina Here Nor There: My Journey Beyond Gender
  • Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation
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The Finite Canvas The Writ of Years: A Tor.Com Original Though Smoke Shall Hide the Sun We Wuz Pushed: On Joanna Russ and Radical Truth-telling Some of the Best from Tor.com: 2012 Edition

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