Transcendent 2: The Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction

Edited by Bogi Takács. Lethe, $18 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-59021-662-0
Musings about body, identity, and society thread through these 16 phenomenal stories about ghosts, gods, mythical birds, and magic doorways. Speculative fiction, like transgender, is a porous term, and that refreshing amorphousness is on full display here. The anthology opens with “Because Change Was the Ocean and We Lived by Her Mercy” by Charlie Jane Anders, in which Pris falls into and then out of love with an intentional queer community in a drowned San Francisco; the community’s members are trying, through magic and music and filtration systems, to heal the polluted ocean. “Transitions” by Gwen Benaway follows a delightfully acerbic trans woman who begins to hear the voices of her indigenous ancestors. An Owomoyela’s “Three Points Masculine” is a layered, dystopian story of war in which a military built on binarist ideas of feminine and masculine forces soldiers into unwanted roles. The final story is S. Qiouyi Lu’s “Her Sacred Spirit Soars,” a moving transhumanist meditation on depression, loss, and love. This anthology embraces the multifaceted nature of trans identities, imagining them into worlds that are both new and familiar. Takács has assembled a book that reads like a fascinating conversation in which the reader feels lucky to participate. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/16/2017
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