I thought I’d given up reading Tor books if, for no other reason, that all the ones I’ve taken a look at seem to have been written for other audiences, written by people who would hate my guts if they knew me, or both.
Part of what gave me that particular expectation was the blog post of hers describing her novel and, quite frankly, her fears of violent men. I can only believe that the book’s protagonist Charley Tennyson is her alter-ego, at least in terms of the depth of her anxiety over “mass shootings.”
However, Tennyson never gives in to the “anti-male” sentiment that many of the other characters embrace and even manages to find love with a man.
Oh, there were flaws to be sure. This is set in a dystopian near future, but the technology is all so perfect and for the most part free. Money is only mentioned once when discussing the activation fees for what is essentially a personal force bubble. Other than that, living in luxurious “havens,” riding around in iCars which carry over your personal settings from your home, and having wrist Surges (think a way amped up smartphone with holographic filming and projecting capacities), seem to be cost free.
Eleven-year-old Keel watched his thirteen-year-old sister Alina from behind as she trudged down the alleyway. "C'mon. Don't wanna b late," she signaled.
The thin, waif-like boy, walking through January’s half-frozen muddy puddles in dirty, sandaled feet, dressed in over-sized khaki shorts with hems down to his shins, and a ratty green sweater made from an old Army blanket, heard her synthesized voice and simultaneously saw the text on his head’s up.
"Geek off. We've got time," was his caustic reply. He had slowed so he could look at Gemmi’s tagging, he was pretty sure it was her work, freshly painted on the old bricks. He was oblivious to the cold breeze from behind, blowing his matted, tortilla-colored hair with violet tips (all that was left of last November’s dye job) into his eyes.
"This is more important than your hotties for Gemmi." She impatiently grabbed his wrist, causing him to regard his sib for the first time that morning. She covered the holes in her thin, coffee-stained white tank top with a black leather vest, the one she ripped off from the dying multiplex in the burbs last month. There were just as many holes in her black yoga pants (she liked retro), and if he’d listen to her actual voice instead of what came through the interface, he’d have heard the faint, metallic click as numerous piercings colliding in her mouth when she spoke.
“Well, damn. It’s too late now.” Dale Hunter watched the last rays of the sun disappear behind the western peaks and he was still nowhere near the Safe Zone. He might survive the night, but he had to bank on none of them picking up his scent, and it absolutely meant he couldn’t build a fire against the cold.
The sixty-three year old range walker had been tracking the Adversaries down in the wilderness outside the Safe Zone for over forty years, a full century after the first of them appeared. He’d only been caught out in the open twice before in all that time, once because he was young and had misjudging distance and timing, and the other because bad footing on a slope with loose rocks resulted in a twisted ankle. That first time, he’d gotten lucky, and when he was struggling to make it home that second time, something else happened entirely.
Tonight, he had been careless, and in his zeal to find one of the Adversary nests rumored to be hidden in one of the canyons below Pine Bluff, he’d gotten lost just long enough to delay his return. He never did find that nest.
“Good evening, Dale. It’s been a long time.” Just as before, her voice was like touching velvet and silk, or the warmth he felt after his first swallow of fine bourbon on a winter’s night. He figured it must have been close to midnight when she found him huddled under a pile of pine needles at the base of a tree trunk trying to stay awake.
A little while ago (as I write this), I came across something on A.M. Freeman’s blog called When The Satire Site Can’t Recognize Satire. It was written in response to an article at Cracked.com called 5 Ridiculously Implausible Things The Alt-Right Is Afraid Of (Yes, I ripped off the title). Apparently, the missive’s author S. Peter Davis read the Superversive Press anthology Forbidden Thoughts, first published in January 2017 (to which Ms. Freeman contributed a story), edited by Jason Rennie, and with a foreword by the highly controversial Milo Yiannopoulos, and didn’t like it very much (Oh, keep in mind, I’ve read some of Mr. Yiannopoulos’s work and frankly, I don’t have much use for it).
Reading his review, and assuming his rendition of the stories contained within the anthology are accurate, yes, the themes and content are wildly exaggerated outside the realm of probability, but that was exactly the point. As Freeman pointed out, they were written as satire, blowing modern controversial topics way, way out of proportion to prove a point. The same was done in another Superversive anthology I read and reviewed called To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity. Yes, they’re all written from a very conservative and sometimes religious perspective, but the concern here, and probably the reason for the existence of Superversive Press, is that SF/F is increasingly becoming biased (or so is the belief) toward the left and perhaps the progressive far left (alt-left?), such that the rest of us don’t have a voice in the genre.