cover image Exile in Guyville

Exile in Guyville

Amy Lee Lillard. BOA Editions, $18 trade paper (138p) ISBN 978-1-960145-20-8

Each of these six enthralling speculative shorts from Lillard (Dig Me Out) explores female agency to powerful effect. Several offer dark views of the future. Women are imprisoned and subjugated in both “Blackbird,” set in a gendered internment camp, and in the title story, about living women who are displayed in a museum and the new curator determined to effect change from within. The heroine of “Typical Girls” is implanted with an oppressive AI companion marketed as a tool to improve women’s lives. “Corporeal” explores the idea of alternate realities and alternate selves, while the quiet “Wintersong” delves into the dissolution of a relationship. The final story, “Things You Say,” sends the collection out on a slightly more hopeful note, showing women reclaiming their agency, inspired by their Riot Grrrl idols. Brief but mighty, this packs a hefty punch. (May)