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The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard
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The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  329 ratings  ·  49 reviews
A dynamic composite of rising stars, The Collection represents the depth and range of tomorrow’s finest writers chronicling transgender narratives. 28 authors from North America converge in a single volume to showcase the future of trans literature and the next great movements in queer art.
Hardcover, 364 pages
Published October 16th 2012 by Topside Press
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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May 07, 2014 rated it liked it
In all honesty and transparency, I'm giving this 3 stars instead of 2 or 1 solely because it is what it is and I'm glad that something of its kind does exist. But 3 stars is generous just considering the quality of the writing here. And of course quality will vary among stories in any anthology, but way too many of these stories are just bad bad irredeemably are-you-kidding-me who-would-publish-this-shit bad. Some were just plain poorly written, like -- sentence-level poorly written. Some just d ...more
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
it's usually kind hard for me to get excited about anthologies, but this one is amazing. Sensitive, witty, experimental, philosophical, visceral, cerebral, soulful, sexy, it's all here. The pieces capture what I love best about short fiction (a form that does not get nearly enough appreciation in a novel-dominated literary world!)
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Obviously, a Roman Incident by Red Durkin (what a fox!) was my favorite story, but there is SO MUCH more between these beautiful covers!
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian, transgender
Founded in 2011 as a specialty publisher focused on transgender narratives, Topside Press brings their first work to market with The Collection: Short fiction from the transgender vanguard edited by Tom Léger and Riley MacLeod.

Like most collections, this one is hit-or-miss, with some absolutely outstanding entries, as well as a few stories I admittedly skimmed through to the end. On the 'miss' side of the spine are a few bland, boring, slice-of-life stories that unfortunately tended to revolve a
The variety of themes, genres and styles in this collection is exciting; the inconsistent quality is discomfiting. The best stories aren't necessarily the ones by the most prolific and recognised writers. But I think it makes for an awkward anthology when some of the pieces seem patently better than others - and I mean that the characters are more developed, the writing is more engaging, the ideas are interrogated more deeply, there is a greater subtlety of emotion, it is more persuasive or more ...more
Amber Dawn
Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Twenty-eight emerging authors--each unique and surefooted in their narrative prowess--together make for an outstanding anthology. In particular, stories by Red Durkin, Carter Sickles, Casey Plett and Alice Doyle have remained on my mind since reading an early copy of THE COLLECTION.

My biggest thanks and appreciation for editors Riley MacLead and Tom Leger. I can't wait to watch this book garner accolades it deserves.
DNF. People I respect and admire adored this book, and I probably went into it expecting too much. There's a LOT of drug references, and the very first story comes from a weird place that I can't connect to at all. I skimmed through others and they all kind of do. This might be a great book for others, but it just wasn't for me.
Joey Diamond
May 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
There are some great stories in here. I liked Imogen Binnie's story about fandom and brooklyn and histories a lot, and Casey Plett's "other women" was great. And I loved Red Durkin's piece. I mean OF COURSE.. it features an eating contest and name checks my idol Sonya Thomas. In fact there are a lot of celebrities in The Collection. Maybe someone can develop a literary theory about that. There's also quite a bit of fantasy fiction and even though I never read fantasy books I kinda loved those st ...more
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Like any anthology, this one has its ups and downs. There are wonderful stories, such as RJ Edwards' standout "Black Holes," and some weaker entries, but the sheer fact that this collection exists is reason enough to buy and read it. The mainstream perception of trans literature (if there is such a thing) is pretty exclusively focused on coming-out stories and/or tragedy. Here instead are superhero stories, slices of life, romantic vignettes -- all of them with trans people at the center. Trans ...more
Jul 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
as with all anthologies, some works were better than others. but all in all, i really enjoyed it! i laughed, i cried, i got turned on, i got turned on while know, the whole transgender experience.

i really loved its unapologetic presentation. like, here is our shit, like it or not, it doesn't matter because we didn't make it FOR YOU. i identified with a lot of the stories, even ones that weren't narratives i have identified with in the past. a must-have queer reader, published by a
Everett Maroon
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
The stories in here are so varied as to break the stale concept of the "trans narrative." Thank Xena. The only improvement I can think of here (other than making my own story in the anthology better) is for there to be more anthologies like this one, so we can start laying down not only this snapshot of trans literature, but also our development as a writing community over time.
Sep 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Nicely varied collection of short stories that are unified by transgendered points of view. I liked this book and learned from it, which is sorta what I'm always hoping for. Blue bookcase review: ...more
Danika at The Lesbrary
Dec 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This anthology is across the board very well-written, and the subject matter is far overdue. In short, I loved this book. In full, check out my review at The Lesbrary. ...more
Mar 24, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While the themes and issues dealt with are all really interesting, in terms of actual writing this collection is a bit of a mixed bag. Some of the stories are really great, but there were a few that I had to skip.
Nov 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: transgender
It's a really diverse collection of short stories that seemingly have nothing in common other than the fact that they have a central character that is trans*

This collection shows how diverse trans* people really are. That being trans* doesn't define anyone, it's just a part of us.
Sep 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Massive collection that pushed forward the field of trans lit. Quality of stories ranges, some are pretty incredible, but with this many in the book they can't all be. Still, very much worth the read.
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great collection by talented writers featuring fictional transgender characters in a variety of imaginative situations. There is even a Necronomicon.
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A collection spanning multiple genres and authors centered around transgender characters.
If I had to pick a single favorite, it would be Donna Ostrowsky's The Queer Experiment, written in the a 1920s sci-fi style.
I found this a difficult book to read as a trans woman. But it was difficult, to some extent, because it is good: it forced me to confront some of my own uncomfortable emotions and memories, even though I often try to bury them and hide them from myself.
Peter Parker
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This collection is very amazing.
Oct 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
So I thought I’d wrapped up with The Literary Others event after Annabel, but I realized I had time to sneak one more into the group! And what better to do than add one that someone else suggested. Tom, one of the editors, filled out my lovely comment form and offered me a review copy of The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard and I figured why not add it to this month’s event. And it was at this point I realized I’d read at least one piece of work from Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual ...more
Jan 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
This was an incredibly uneven anthology, and I was a bit surprised at how dreadful so much of it was considering Topside Press's stellar later record.

There are some I really enjoyed: Imogen Binnie and Casey Plett (of course), Ryka Aoki, Red Durkin, Riley Calais Harris, Cyd Nova, and others in which it was just nice to see some decent representation if it wasn't spectacular. Generally, the stuff by trans women was pretty decent.

But so much of this was just an odd insight into some collective tran
Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: queer, trans
The Collection was amazing! Read my review on here.

But seriously, the book was magical. The fact that a book of short fiction with trans protaganists exists is awesome but honestly even beyond that fact there are so many really delicious stories in this book and I really enjoyed reading it.

(FYI, there are a few mildly sexually explicit stories in The Collection so while I don't really think that means it's inappropriate for teens/older teens to read, I want to put that out there
I was pretty excited to pick up the anthology The Collection, which brings together quite the diverse group of writers all creating narratives, to paraphrase editors Tom Leger and Riley Macleod, featuring trans characters as protagonists, rather than comic relief, or a character used as a tool to further the plot of a cisgender main character. The Collection aims to present trans characters as agents of their own destiny. This anthology has been a long time coming, and a fantastic venue for up-a ...more
Joel Kirk
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
As with any anthology, there are stories that are hit or miss. In regards to this book, many of the stories are a miss. They offer good ideas for stories (e.g. loss of male privilege, the fetishization of Asian women when that privilege is lost after post-op gender reassignment surgery, and one story where a superhero goes through gender reassignment surgery).

Some stories begin with these good ideas or a story that will leave you thinking, and then they just stop (e.g. the superhero story). Othe
This is a collection of stories by and about trans* and otherwise-non-gender-conforming individuals and it is AWESOME.
There are some gorgeous coming-of-age stories, great reflections on gender and society, some sad and heart-wrenching stories. There are some stories where being trans* or genderqueer are very central, and some where it's barely mentioned. But my favourite ones were the hilarious and weird and unexpected ones. Like the one about Captain Macho, the superhero, learning how to be a s
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished-in-2016
I thoroughly enjoyed Léger and MacLeod's anthology of contemporary trans fiction (published in 20102). I was quite impressed with the breadth of stories included ranging from more poetic biographical explorations to more mainstream short stories about superheroes featuring trans protagonists. Many of the stories featured heartbreaking portrayals of a trans person's continuous struggle with acceptance from themselves and others in a contemporary society that does consistently tells them they are ...more
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
These stories vary in quality (some are fantastic, others not so good, and there's a couple bad ones). But I'm glad I read them. For the most part the stories were pretty good and I'm glad there were a few fantasy/sci-fi stories to mix it up since most of the others followed similar plotlines. Some of my favorites were "Saving" by Carter Sickels, "To The New World" by Ryka Aoki, "Black Holes" by RJ Edwards, and "Runaways" by Calvin Gimpelevich.
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was surprised by how good this was, given that most of the authors are not well known, the genres were very varied, and collections of short stories are almost always uneven. The only author I'd heard of was Imogen Binnie, although other reviewers here are saying some of the others have good reputations as well. My favorite stories were Casey Plett's "Other Women" and Susan Jane Bigelow's "Ramona's Demons."
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure how you write a review of this book. It's relatively unique. There aren't many books of trans fiction by trans authors, so if you want to read that, then this is one of the few options. This book can be a big fish in a small pond.

It has about 28 stories from different authors, so there's a lot there. Type of story varies as well, so it's not all the same. Relatively equal mix of trans female and trans male stories. A handful of nonbinary stories I think.
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