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Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction
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Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  295 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Speculative fiction is the literature of questions, of challenges and imagination, and what better to question than the ways in which gender and sexuality have been rigidly defined, partitioned off, put in little boxes? These seventeen stories explore the ways in which identity can go beyond binary from space colonies to small college towns, from angels to androids, and fr ...more
276 pages
Published May 2012 by Lethe Press
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Is expecting a book subtitled "Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction" to provide speculative fiction stories about genderqueer characters too much to ask for? Apparently so, if this collection is any indication. It's not that I didn't enjoy any of the stories. It's that almost none of them lived up to the book's label. (Bisexuality is not the same thing as sexual fluidity. Being transgendered is different from being genderqueer.) This is particularly frustrating because this is a co ...more
Jun 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
For a book called "Beyond Binary," this book was ... really binary. There were two or three stories where the narrator or main character is not assigned a gender but most are either male or female - and often it's not a particularly large component of the story if the character identifies or is identified as trans* in any way.

Beyond that, I wasn't particularly impressed with any of the stories. There were a handful I enjoyed but none that really stood out to me. It was kind of a struggle to kee
Mar 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
My flight back from Readercon was delayed by several hours, so I got to read this anthology cover to cover. I usually prefer to break up the reading of a themed anthology, but there was enough variety in this one to keep me engaged. I particularly liked the Kelley Eskridge story. I would have loved to see even more variety, both in the types of speculative fiction and in the expected breadth inherent in the "beyond binary" label. Still, taken individually, most of these stories are strong; taken ...more
Dec 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: transgender
Brit Mandelo is something of a queer genre celebrity, having served as the senior fiction editor for Strange Horizons Magazine, while also leading the discussions on Queering SFF for Tor Books. It was actually an early piece of her on Tiptree Award Winners that first brought her to my attention, and I’ve been relying on her to expand my bookshelf ever since.

Beyond Binary is a collection of previously published Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction stories that I'd been looking forwa
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: rainbow, short-story
I was so excited when I first read about this book and the early reviews.

But no.

There are a few good pieces in here. "Eye of the Storm" by Kelley Eskridge was both amazing and mind-blowing, and made up for so much of the rest of this book. But at that point, you should probably just pick up her own personal anthology, Dangerous Space. A few of the stories toward the end were good, too, although none super stand-out.

Aside from the one story above, the best thing I can say is that most of these ar
A.C. Wise
Dec 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Beyond Binary is an incredibly strong reprint anthology, showcasing tales of fluid gender and sexuality. Of the stories I'd read elsewhere, the two stand-outs were Kelly Eskridge's Eye of the Storm and Catherynne M. Valente's Palimpsest. I was delighted to see both included, particularly Eskridge's piece, as it has lingered with me since I first read it years ago, and it perfectly encapsulates the theme of the collection. The stories which were new to me that really stood out were Nalo Hopkinson ...more
Jan 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Well, that was overwhelmingly binary.

When an anthology is subtitled "Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction", I'm naturally going to go in assuming a fair number of the stories will be about genderqueer or otherwise nonbinary people, you know? But the vast majority of these stories were either about cisgender queer people (including cisgender queer people whose narratives gave no hint of them being actually sexually fluid) or about binary trans* people. And don't get me wrong, I love
For a book that claims to be "beyond binary" and "genderqueer," the almost complete lack of either in this anthology is astonishing. (Doubly so since it's full of reprints.) Most stories paid lip service at best via some bisexuality (and often fleeting at that), and for a book that promised no surprise reveal of genitals as a punch line, one of the stories in fact does just that.

The best thing about this book is Kelley Eskridge's "Eye of the Storm" which really is just reminding me that I've had
Laura Lam
Was thinking about adding this in my undergraduate module reading list, but I think it's too light on the speculative fiction elements and more sexuality explicit than I want to discuss with a room full of 20 years olds. Not that many actual genderfluid leads either. Like most anthologies, there were stories I enjoyed and some that didn't work for me.
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: asexuality, queer, scifi, trans
Really appreciate the diversity of identities on display in this anthology, as well as the varying degrees of focus the stories place on gender and sexual identity -- some stories are focused largely on identity, others treat identity as a given, only marginally relevant to the story at hand. Glad to see asexuality represented here -- in Sarah Kanning's "Sex with Ghosts" -- interestingly, both Kanning's story and Tobi Hill-Meyer's "Self-Reflection" have to do with a character encountering hersel ...more
Jun 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this back in June but forgot to rate and review. The selections are all good to great, but I got my money's worth from Delia Sherman's "Faery Cony-Catcher" and Richard Larson's "The Ghost Party". Valente's story, "Palimpsest," was nice to see here, too, particularly since her novel of the same name often eclipses the story that was its seed. The Kelly Eskridge story was one I had not come across before, and it was wonderful, as were the Sandra McDonald and Ellen Kushner stories.

Kudos to
Overall, I really liked the anthology. There where stories I didnt like because the plot wasn't of interest to me. A good example was the pirate story. I like the idea of computer hackers as pirates but I couldn't connected with the drinking of rum as a medium to reincarnation and possession. I liked Fisherman by Nalo Hopkinson. It was grounded in a reality of experience that I believe could have existed in a different era. I also really adored Spoiling Veena! Veena knew that Vikrum was truly wh ...more
Aug 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of speculative fiction, fans of "Swordspoint"
Recommended to Valerie by: Amazon Daily blog
Meh. A couple of good stories and quite a few that are so oblique they are almost incoherent (and I'm not interested enough to invest the time to decipher them). Starts stronger than it finishes...and if I hadn't read the title of the anthology or the introductory essay, I wouldn't have guessed the common theme.
Jul 06, 2015 rated it liked it
I was attracted to the title of this one, but I don't feel like it lived up to the hype. Don't get me wrong; there are some good stories here, but I agree with some of the other reviews here. In addition to the good stories are a bunch of ho-hum, nothing to see here stories.
Richard Larson
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I'm in this book, but don't let that stop you. These are urgent, important stories, and I hope they get read by lots and lots of people.
Aug 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
For those who're TLDR - I suggest reading the book, because it's good.

This collection first came to my attention because it’s got “Eye of the Storm – Kelley Eskridge” in it; I love the story so I decided to buy the collection. It turned out, though, to have many more stories I ended up enjoying! I’ve decided to review the collection story by story, since I’m unsure how to discuss theme without spoilers. While I won’t be giving plot specific spoilers, I do mention my emotions/impressions of the s
Iona Sharma
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
I got this on a whim and really liked it. As with all anthologies it's hit and miss; some stories seem a little short on the speculative element (there was at least one where I couldn't make it out at all) and others seem a little short on the stated theme of the anthology. I don't want to make this latter criticism too harshly as an author's notion of what they set out to write might be different from mine, and what reads to me as other elements of the queer umbrella might well be meant as a ge ...more
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
As usual with short story anthologies, it's a pretty mixed bag, but a better bag than usual- I did read everything in the collection!

There's a Richard St. Vier backstory for the Tremontaine/ Riversiders that I was delighted to find. (I should come back with the book for a better breakdown of authors to look for)
Peter Parker
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is enjoying.
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
A rare anthology where most of the stories are pretty strong and quite easy to read through. There were so many variations on the theme and creative ways of interpreting it.
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gender, short-stories
Yeah, the stories had some gender-diverse characters, but a whole lot of them didn't make any sense to me. Many were drawn out, over-complicated short stories that seemed to serve no point.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Over all, the writing throughout the book is decent, but not at all "genderqueer," "sexually fluid," or "speculative." if you're looking for that kind of thing, you won't find it here. further review as follows:

warnings: transphobia, cocsa, lesbophobia, ...

- trans fetishism, a misunderstanding/misrepresentation of trans experiences
- there isn't a single non-binary character, only fetishised binary trans characters
- calling binary trans people genderqueer or non-binary is misgendering them.
- lite
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed most of this collection, only two stories fell a bit short (one due to choppy flow, other due to slow start and use of a "ye olde" dialect that was cumbersome to decipher). Also introduced me to a few new authors to check out!
Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating and much-needed anthology. While I thought some of the stories were less daring than others--or, for whatever reason, less appealing to me personally--the majority were excellent: well-written, thought-provoking, and a pleasure to read. I'd like to talk just a little bit about my favorites, focusing on those that worked exceptionally well both as stories and as considerations of gender and sexuality.

"Sea of Cortez" is barely SFF--there's precognition or prophesy that doesn'
Carol March
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Review for Beyond Binary.

I really enjoyed this collection of stories about people redefining sexual identity and gender. The stories are all speculative fiction, reprinted from a variety of speculative fiction magazines and anthologies. They range from the slightly different to the quite strange, and some are more accessible than others, but all are well written and worth reading. The choices are a good selection of the editor calls “sexually fluid”, one of my current favorite phrases. Several
Nov 08, 2014 rated it liked it
I was soooo excited when I saw this, that I bought it. I never buy books. If they aren't at the library, then I resign myself to never reading them. But I had to have it! Which is probably why I was so very disappointed when half the stories didn't live up to my expectations.

Stories I did very much enjoy included "Eye of the Storm", "Fisherman","Bleaker Collegiate Presents", "Self-Reflection", and "The Metamorphosis Bud". I think I liked these because there was a playful lightness, a joy in disc
Cole Jack
I'm rating this three stars only because a few of the stories, in particular "Eye of the Storm," "Fisherman," and "Bonehouse," are worth reading. That said, I was disappointed by Beyond Binary because it occasionally lacked the genderqueer and sexually fluid components in stories while other stories lacked the genre of speculative fiction unless someone realllly stretched the genre. In other words, the theme of the collection does not come across consistently through the stories selected.

I foun
T.C. Mill
Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recently, I’ve started seeking out fiction, especially speculative fiction, about trans and genderqueer characters. A call out for ideas on Twitter resulted in this book being recommended to me. As several other reviewers have said, Beyond Binary isn’t always as “beyond binary” as it could have been, and I’m puzzled at the inclusion of some of these stories, but it does form a diverse and excellent sampler of LGBT fiction from leading authors in the field. Some names I recognized before going pa ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Add Book to Riverside Series 5 18 May 23, 2013 07:57PM  
  • The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard
  • Bending the Landscape: Fantasy
  • Take Me There
  • Beyond: the Queer Sci-Fi & Fantasy Comic Anthology
  • Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History
  • Boys Like Her: Transfictions
  • GenderQueer: Voices From Beyond the Sexual Binary
  • Halfway Human
  • Dangerous Space
  • Nina Here Nor There: My Journey Beyond Gender
  • Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics
  • Steam-Powered:  Lesbian Steampunk Stories
  • Diana Comet and Other Improbable Stories
  • Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism
  • Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation
  • The Fate of Mice
  • The Other Half of the Sky
  • The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You