cover image Adventures in Bodily Autonomy

Adventures in Bodily Autonomy

Edited by Raven Belasco. Aqueduct, $20 trade paper (292p) ISBN 978-1-61976-250-3

For this distinctive anthology, the royalties from which will be donated to NARAL Pro-Choice America, Belasco (Blood Ex Libris) brings together 14 thoughtful speculative tales centered on issues of reproductive freedom and female agency. The opener, Nisi Shawl’s stirring “Queen of Dirt,” about a Black teen at summer camp, explores racial bias and questions about what makes a family, demonstrating that the anthology has more on its mind than a medical procedure. That said, several stories feature abortion more directly: in the riveting excerpt from Analee Newitz’s novel The Future of Another Timeline, a 17-year-old undergoes a painful off-the-books abortion, while the closing story, Belasco’s own “Abyssinia,” centers on a young woman in Prohibition-era Philadelphia who helps “fems who need it” access abortion services. Still others address wanted pregnancies, including Ellen Klages’s stark sci-fi tale “Goodnight Moons” and Jaymee Goh’s remarkable fantasy “The Things Melati Learns.” Tones vary throughout: some stories are bleak, presenting hard choices or pyrrhic victories, but others sound more hopeful notes. These timely tales both draw readers in and have the potential to advance important conversations. (Oct.)