Non-Binary Authors To Read is a regular column by AC Wise that highlights non-binary authors of speculative literature and recommends a place to start their work.
Welcome back to non-binary authors for reading! Dressed a lot, I let both this column and its sibling column, “Women Read,” end in the first half of the year. I have no really good excuse. I still read tons of fantastic fiction that I want to bring to people’s attention, but somehow I blinked and half of the year passed. But, better late than never! So without further ado, here are four new recommendations for your enjoyment of reading.
Richard Ford Barley He is a speculative literary writer and poet, as well as the magazine’s deputy editor-in-chief notebook. My recommended starting point for their work is “The theft is waitingPublished in the 2021 Summer Issue of Clidotrope.
Thea is a war heroine, or so the narratives are about her claim. She has now retired, but once she used her gift to stop the bombing of shells and bombs, saving hundreds of lives, albeit at the cost of her vision. Max, a former girlfriend and journalist who contributed to her legend, and Asma, an army engineer whose gift allows her to use technology to recreate the gifts of others, came to beg Thea to explain how she did what she did in hopes of saving more lives and perhaps even ending the war.
She closes her eyes again, remembering what she did with her gift that day. She could still see the shimmering, golden wall of light, the brilliant explosion of fire that she could not look away from — that she could never look away from again. And she remembers the way Max and the other embossed press reported it. “Thea White, a national hero,” the newspapers declared. But the headlines were equally accurate in the stories that followed. While screaming for heroism and its national war effort and great sacrifice, they have never been able to come close to the truth.
The story is beautifully written and heartbreaking at once, examining the price of war, and the narratives that surround it that convey a picture of heroism while depriving individuals of the truths of grief, guilt and suffering. Thea has already given all her abilities to war, and lost so much, and yet the world wants more of her. From the outside, her refusal seems like selfishness, or cowardice. The popular narrative of her great heroism only heightens her feelings of helplessness and guilt, as if she should be able to stop the war, save more lives and protect those who are important to her, but she cannot.
Contrary to Thea’s suffering, Asma could easily have been a flat figure caught up in idealism and believing in the propaganda fed to her. However, Barley gives us something more nuanced – a character who still holds on to hope, who really wants to help others, and sees Thea’s pain and wants to help her as well. None of them are wrong, and the understanding they build throughout the story adds another layer of wealth. While the subject hurts, dealing with loss, survivor guilt, PTSD and the horrors of war, the darkness is balanced with characters who care about each other and really want to do good in the world.
Easy Coleman He’s a writer and editor, and my recommended starting point for their work is a bit of cheating because I recommend “A study of sagePosted in Satanic plots In February, combined with “Erase your first memory for free” published in Wig Magazine No. 17. As I have already reviewed “Delete your first memory for freeIn my column 2021 Words for Thought b Apex Magazine, I will focus here on “sage research”, touching on why the stories form an excellent couple reading.
“Research on Sage” opens with the main character using the simulation to practice parting with her friend, Sage. But no matter how many times they try, nothing seems to go right – in the end they feel awkward, guilty, apologetic, want to take Sage back and smooth things over. All the while, Sage provides passive-aggressive and cutting-edge comments, distorting the protagonist’s words and making them feel small.
I do not remember the exact words, how she explained that I needed her more than she ever needed me, but each syllable poked and took until I was crushed. I tried to extract the script from dozens of simulations, to respond with something clever and insightful, but the real sage was more sinister than the designers could deduce from her social media profiles or my account of our relationship. I did not see her clearly, not after six years, not even towards the end.
The story blends nicely with “Erase Your First Memory for Free” in that they both showcase Coleman’s talent for stories with a remarkably personal gamble, in which technology is used in an innovative way to solve one person’s problem. There are no apocalypse on the horizon; Humanity is not at stake, and perhaps no one else will even notice the change he made at the end of the story, but for the protagonists of the two stories, the change is very important. It’s a kind of intimate story that is not always seen in science fiction. Stories where heroes use technology to save their community, or even the world at large, are also charming, but it’s nice to see a story where one person’s life changes and that’s enough. Coleman makes small-scale gambling very efficiently, emphasizing that stories whose events affect only one person are still worthy of telling.
MB Rabbit He writes strange literature, and my recommended starting point for their work is “You, tear me up on stagePosted in Fusion Fracture No. 4.
Terry Weldon is a pop icon, forever looking young through a variety of enhancements, and beautiful forever. Every aspect of his life, his image and his career are heavily managed.
Brand consistency is what sells me. Biennial hormone suppression. Reconfiguration of luxury iris. Re-polishing hair, liposuction, selective fluid pills. Avatar carefully curates the meat and digital realm that maintains a broad demographic appeal without appearing to change significantly over the years.
Celebrities already have a bit of attraction, but neither does real life. Terry goes through the motions every night, appearing as if watching someone else. Then one night he gets an invitation to a club on a shaded server. Even when he knows it’s a bad idea, he goes for the simple fact that it’s something different and new, only to find that the club’s expertise is virtual celebrities, including John Lennon, Britney Spears, and himself, who die or dismember themselves on stage in bloody, realistic fashion. In front of a wildly encouraging crowd.
It is a short and powerful story that explores the dark side of celebrities and the idea that their bodies and lives are public property. Nude pictures are leaked, and the celebrity himself is charged. Paparazzi follow them everywhere, and if they dare to complain, they are called ungrateful. They have been paid with fame and recognition and therefore owe the public access to every aspect of their lives. Hare takes this line of thinking to extremes, as Terry’s character is really detached for the audience’s enjoyment, and of course, it’s Terry who does it for himself, because who does he have to blame other than himself? Being famous, he asked for it. He has turned himself into a commodity for the approval of his fans, who will resist when consumed? It is an effective exploration of the ways in which the boundary between public and private, product and producer can blur, and the unhealthy relationships that can develop between fans and content creators.
Oh He writes speculative dark literature, and my recommended starting point for their work is “Before whom the evil tremblesPosted in Anathema Magazine.
This story blends nicely with that of Hare, showing another side of celebrities, and the darkness – both metaphorical and verbal – that can hide behind a public figure. The protagonist is a ballerina, driven non-stop and very successful, but behind the front of her success, her life is miserable. When she was a child, her mother was murdered, and reduced to headlines for “Dead Whore.” Her mother’s profession, murder and the fact that she’s Arab lead the ballerina to bullying as a child and they mean she has to work at least twice as hard for any remaining success.
Even now, those around her perceive her value largely on the basis of her skill as a dancer; She is still being treated with suspicion, being questioned as to whether she belongs when she is staying at a hotel with the rest of the company, perceived as an outsider and possibly a criminal because of the color of her skin. She is not perceived as a human being, but as a dancer or a threat, depending on who catches her, until it is finally revealed that she may still be something more than a human being.
The fur starts to sprout around your neck and face while you stand in the center of the stage, corrupt. In point. The toes that form the basis of your grace – battered, bruised, black under satin slippers. Black with and without bruises.
The story is full of impressive images and beautiful and poetic language. As in Harr’s story, Nhamo’s identity examines public versus private identity, but also the question of a person’s value and the way people are too often valued for what they can do for others, rather than being valued for themselves. The story also looks at ideas of monstrosity and beauty, and what is considered acceptable in society (the monstrous ballerinas and their attitude to the protagonist) and what is not (the supernatural character of the protagonist, and her very existence as a brown woman). .
I will try not to let things get so far before the next column, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy these stories. Happy reading!