Broad Knowledge: 35 Women Up To No Good is a feminist anthology of dark fiction and darker knowledge, edited by Joanne Merriam. Containing 35 stories of “bad” women, and “good” women who just haven’t been caught yet, it features 35 fearless writers who identify as female, non-binary, or a marginalized sex or gender identity. It’s the second in the Women Up To No Good series, and is forthcoming in winter 2018.
She was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1973. A graduate in English and Mathematics from Dalhousie University, she has worked as an oil and gas lease and title administrator, courier dispatcher, telemarketer, charity fundraiser, sheet music librarian, Medicaid claim sorter, check composition specialist, disability and workers' compensation administrator and web designer. She is currently employed by a large hospital system to run a surgical fellowship, other educational programming, and the lives of four attendings.
In 2001, she quit her job as the Executive Assistant of the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia to travel Canada by train, and then parts of the Northeastern and Southern United States. In 2004, she immigrated to the USA. She has lived in Kentucky and New Hampshire, and now resides in Nashville, Tennessee.
Joanne Merriam's poetry and fiction has appeared in dozens of magazines and journals, including The Antigonish Review, Asimov's Science Fiction, The Fiddlehead, The Furnace Review, Grain, The Magazine of Speculative Poetry, The Mainichi Daily News, Per Contra, Riddle Fence, Room of One's Own, Strange Horizons and Vallum Contemporary Poetry, as well as in the anthologies Ice: new writing on hockey, To Find Us: Words and Images of Halifax and The Allotment: New Lyric Poets.
I did not slip; that's five stars. And yes, this means this anthology has hit my "I don't care if you don't usually check out the genre, I really think you should check out this book" threshhold. This latest entry in the series is fantastic; dark, weird, hopeful, and funny by turns. Highly, highly recommended.
Broad Knowledge is an anthology of short stories from the Upper Rubber Boot "Women Up To No Good" collection, edited by Joanne Merriam. It contains 35 speculative fiction stories with female protagonists who get into or out of trouble because of their esoteric, scientific or other knowledge.
As with most short story collections, I enjoyed some contributions a lot more than others. There was an excellent one about a sex robot engineering a better life for herself, an atmospheric one about a group of women obtaining their perfect mates from the sea, a tragic one about two sisters trying to recover the essence of their dead mother, and an entertaining one about two deaf girls rescuing themselves from abduction via the medium of explosives.
The range was broad, I liked the thematic concept and I would say about 60% of the stories landed solidly for me.
I was drawn to this compilation because I greatly enjoy the writing of Minghao Xu. After reading her previous short story, "Mr. Kim" I was excited to read her next offering. The author did not disappoint with her present story, "Think, Baby Turtle," and again I was immersed in a story that made me invested in the characters and the outcome of their lives. The depth of feeling evoked by the author's character development is what keeps me wanting to read more from her.