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Transcendent 2: The Year's Best Transgender Speculative Fiction 2016

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  99 ratings  ·  29 reviews
As with the first volume of Transcendent, Lethe Press has worked with a wonderful editor to select the best work of genderqueer stories of the fantastical, stranger, horrific, and weird published the prior year. Featuring stories by Merc Rustad, Jeanne Thornton, Brit Mandelo, and others, this anthology offers time-honored tropes of the genre--from genetic manipulation to z ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published October 23rd 2017 by Lethe Press (first published October 22nd 2017)
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Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
As with most anthologies there were some stories that weren't for me and some that hit the mark. Overall I'd say it was 3.5 stars regarding the average of quality of what I expect in short stories (which of course varies extremely with each reader).

Solid 4 stars because of the loving editing and the fact that such an anthology exists. I thoroughly enjoyed the various takes on gender and self-conception that spoke from every piece in this collection. Most of the time in a rather melancholic tone.
Bogi Takács
Oct 15, 2017 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
I edited this, so I'm somewhat biased. I am not giving myself stars, but the book just got a starred review from Publishers Weekly -

"Musings about body, identity, and society thread through these 16 phenomenal stories about ghosts, gods, mythical birds, and magic doorways. [...] Takács has assembled a book that reads like a fascinating conversation in which the reader feels lucky to participate."
4.5 stars
Full review now posted

I loved the introduction and it made me so excited to read more of this book, more of these authors and more trans stories. It was also the first time I saw an acknowledgement about stolen land and I hope to see it much more often in the future!

Because Change Was the Ocean and We Lived by Her Mercy • Charlie Jane Anders

I have thought about this story for the better part of the evening and I didn't want to start the next before I had a chance to collect my thoughts.
Ceillie Simkiss
You want this anthology. Read the full review here ...more
Sinead Anja (Huntress of Diverse Books)
Check out my book blog for more book reviews and other bookish posts!

I received an ARC of Transcendent 2 from the editor, Bogi Takács. I really enjoy reading short story anthologies because I get to experience the writing of many different authors. I was intrigued by this book because the stories are all in the genre of speculative fiction – my favourite genre.

Most of the stories in this book are #ownvoices.


This anthology offers so much variety. Seriously, I sometimes forget how many different
Sara Norja
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this from the editor, Bogi Takács - thank you so much, Bogi! This was a delightful anthology, with only three stories I'd read previously (A. Merc Rustad's "This is Not a Wardrobe Door", Vajra Chandrasekera's "Rhizomatic Diplomacy", and S. Qiouyi Lu's "Her Sacred Spirit Soars"). The stories were intriguingly different in genre and style, but the anthology flowed really well.

Out of the stories I had not read previously, I especially enjoyed "The Road, the Valley, and the Bea
Read full review on my blog.

I received a copy from the editor, Bogi Takács in exchange for an honest review.

Number of stories: 16
LGBTQAI+: Every story in this anthology has trans and other queer characters with various identities.
Sex on page: No

First of all, it was wonderful to see so many trans characters with various identities and experiences, including but far from being limited to various pronouns. There were characters with singular they, characters switching between he and she, and charac
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: queer-fiction
I am so impressed with this anthology, and the thought and hard work that went into selecting such beautiful and interesting stories from a variety of backgrounds.
I think it's important to note that cis folks, nonqueer folks, will also enjoy this top notch writing. But this book is for us.
Some of my favorite stories in this series cover different elements from being trans and zombie battling, to coming together as a queer community in a post-apocalyptic world and realizing that shared interest
James-Beth Merritt
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I kept my expectations in check when I picked up Transcendent 2: The Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction, edited by Bogi Takacs. How much high-quality transgender speculative fiction would even have been published over the course of the year, I wondered. As it turned out, there’s quite a lot.

Before I speak to more specifics, though, I want to point out how broad and inclusive the spectrum of gender identities in these stories were. While I’m quite interested in fiction about what you mig
Eli Poteet
This was AMAZING. One hundred levels of recommend. This collection was supremely delicious and wonderful. I am forever changed by some of these tales, there are story lines and characters I think I will always think of. This anthology of stories genuinely sparked a personal renewed interest in short stories. I want more from these authors. I am also experiencing the fabulous desire to create my own works, I am vigorously encouraged by the various styles included between the books cover. There is ...more
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
(Disclaimer: I received this free book from the editor. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Let me just start by saying, this is an amazing anthology. The purpose is wonderful and so well thought out. I loved the ways that these authors incorporated the diversity into speculative fiction. Oftentimes I see characters who may be diverse, but it doesn't effect their lives at all. But these characters are impacted by their struggles and thoughts. They live full lives of col
S.L. Saboviec
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This eclectic anthology is chock full of great stories ranging from down-to-earth, near sci-fi to ethereal fantasy. It's a great slice of today's best trans* fiction. Some stories asked hard questions and answered in ways that made me think. Some stories were just fun or beautiful. I found at least one new author whose other works I'm devouring; a few more have intrigued me enough that I'll be looking them up, too.

Please note: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, gender, queer, scifi, trans
Standouts for me are Charlie Jane Anders' opening "Because Change was the Ocean and We Lived By Her Mercy"; A. Merc Rustad's epistolary fantasy "A. Merc Rustad"; and Jeanne Thornton's "The L7 Gene," about a trans girl confronting the cloned cis version of herself genetically engineered by her scientist mother. ...more
Artur Nowrot
Just as good as Transcendent 3 (I'm going backwards through the series while waiting for volume 4); maybe better, as even the stories I wasn't too keen on stand out more in my memory (though it might just be due to a smaller number of them). Either way, this is another stellar, diverse collection that demonstrates a richness of premises and approaches to writing trans speculative fiction.

Personal highlights:
"Skerry-Bride" by Sonya Taaffe
"Transitions" by Gwen Benaway
"Three Points Masculine" by An
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtq-library
I loved it. I apparently read it in four days, but didn’t notice at all.
Encompasses a wide variety of identities and expressions. It feels great to read trans writing by trans people.
Even if one story didn’t really grab me, there were still elements in it that I loved.
Highly recommended.
I’ve had this book on my shelf forever, and I was excited to finally get around to reading it while I’m in between longer reads. Maybe I set myself up for failure by going in with my expectations too high, but this anthology didn’t deliver what I was hoping for. It wasn’t exactly bad, and some of the short stories were even quite good, but nothing really blew me away and I was ready to be done with the book well before it was over. I’m still interested in reading trans speculative fiction, but I ...more
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Naturally, as with any collection, the five stars are not for every single story in here, a few would probably get 2.5 stars from me. But overall, I really enjoyed reading through this anthology.

I approach collections of short stories very cautiously - all too often, I get disappointed. Maybe I am not the ideal reader for short stories, because I like even short stories to have a beginning, a middle and an end and not feel like they are the beginning of what could be an interesting novel.

More of a 3.5, but rounded up because there were a couple of stories in here that I adored super hard (and also bc I am just really glad that this anthology exists).

This was a good read overall, although it fell more on the side of “mostly realistic and slightly dystopic future” SF ( which I’m not big on) than on the “magic and technology allow weird and seemingly impossible things to happen” SF (which I adore). I did like the variety of trans rep, especially since it included nonbinary people w
W.L. Bolm
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every story in this collection was stellar. Many were favorites that I had already read.

I think my top picks from this anthology were "This is not a Wardrobe Door" (which I believe I first heard on PodCastle) because I like the twist on the classic trope, "Because Change was the Ocean and We Lived by Her Mercy," which was about a haunting near future that for me was both familiar and too illuminative of our current trajectory as humans, "Happy Regards" because it was just a lot of fun to read,
Yana Shepard
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC for an honest review.

I think I needed to read this anthology. I’m currently in a strange place mentally after having moved away from an abusive home nearly a year ago. I’m still shaking off all the negativity, still battling my depression and anxiety. I’m sorry if that’s too much information, but I need to express how much this collection helped me. For the moments that I read, I was able to smile again when that is such a rarity, or forget my troubles when I was

Because Change Was The Ocean And We Lived By Her Mercy
The L7 Gene
The Pigeon Summer
About A Woman And A Kid - would have liked this to be longer, but the insight on patternmaking and anxiety is relevant right now
The Way You Say Good-Night
Her Sacred Spirit Soars
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a glorious collection of diverse voices, with speculative plots. Each story had a gem of inspiration or a twist of character that delighted me.
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another worthy sci-fi read.
Jan 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
A really solid anthology. Lots of post apocalyptic and dystopian themes in this one.
inventive and yet familiar- i can see how this won a Lambda Literary Award
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed, lgbt, sci-fi
I liked this one better than the first one.
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I love the idea of this collection, but short stories just aren’t my thing.
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely marvelous.
rated it really liked it
Feb 18, 2020
rated it liked it
Nov 03, 2020
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Bogi Takács is a Hungarian Jewish author who writes short-form speculative fiction, poetry, nonfiction and weird unclassifiables. Eir work has been published in a variety of venues like Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, Apex, Lightspeed and more.

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