First of all, this book does what it's meant to do. It provides a nuanced discussion of bisexual issues, and the difficulties faced by those in the biFirst of all, this book does what it's meant to do. It provides a nuanced discussion of bisexual issues, and the difficulties faced by those in the bi community. However, my admiration of this book comes from the ways in which it provided more than the advertised content.
So many books about gender and sexual politics get mired down in introducing concepts to the uninitiated. Because of that, most of them end up being redundant and superficial. Eisner manages to avoid that trap without alienating readers who don't have a contemporary blog reader's grasp on the minefield of mindful language. Alongside defining the basics, Eisner introduces newer concepts, reaching a second level in comparison to many books of the kind. All the analysis is notably intersectional--linking bisexuality to broader discussions of feminism, rape culture, race, and disability. This is also the first book I've encountered that integrates trigger warnings, in a totally appropriate, non-gimmicky way.
More than just being intersectional, Eisner provides an underrepresented perspective being from Israel. Thus, the sections dealing with racialized groups--a term for POC I plan to adopt thanks to Eisner, along with minority-world to replace Western--are not rehashings of the parallels between the American civil rights battle and queer history. I found myself questioning views and privileges I didn't know I had, and I consider myself to be pretty attune to my biases. ...more
It's hard for me to come at this unbiased, because I spent so much time wishing for more Tamora Pierce scholarship while I was pursuing my MA in ChildIt's hard for me to come at this unbiased, because I spent so much time wishing for more Tamora Pierce scholarship while I was pursuing my MA in Children's Literature; and while The Queen's Riders does contain several essays that could be built upon in future scholarship, the majority of the content is more amateur-ish than I wanted; however, this does not negate the fact that it is a highly praiseworthy work.
The amount of effort the editors must have put out to organize an anthology of fan essays cannot be ignored; and the diversity of the essays' content does a truly amazing job of representing both the complexity of Tamora Pierce's work and the devotion of her fanbase. The problem is, as a long-time fan, I already knew these things existed, and I think many readers will, too. The people who come across this book will mostly be either scholars or those who are already familiar with Pierce's work and fandom. The latter will have little need for thesis-less essays that tend toward summarizing elements of a particular book or series. They may appreciate the first-person narratives about how a character helped the writer feel less alone in the world--there is comfort in knowing that others have been affected by a book you love--but such identification will hopefully spur said reader to turn to the fandom for further companionship, and so the number of such essays in this work is extensive.
For the scholars, there are quite a few pieces here that stand out--particularly Sabrina Neo Zhi Wei's essay "(dis)empowerment women in hiding: mobility, femininity, and hiding in 'Elder Brother'/'The Hidden Girl,'" a fantastic look at feminine spaces in two of Pierce's short stories. It's the kind of piece that one would expect to find in a work born of a call for papers circulated in academic venues, which I had to remind myself this volume wasn't. Essays The Queen's Riders were found via fan-space promotion, particularly on Tumblr, and so the work produced is fan-centric. The fact that there is a good amount of scholarship within speaks to the intelligence and thoughtfulness of Pierce's fans.
I think, more than anything, The Queen's Eiders paves the way for a future anthology wherein more academically-minded contributors feel comfortable delving into these niche themes, since the quantity of essays in The Queen's Riders proves that they will have a broader audience than a lot of scholarship finds. The next effort could also benefit from requiring a certain amount of copyediting (every fandom has at least one!) as well, since several grammar and typographical errors in the work served as an unnecessary reminder that this was not a professionally-produced work.
Overall, this is an amazing book created by fans, for fans, but it isn't the collection of Pierce scholarship that I hope one day to see. ...more