Speculative fiction takes us to the moon and beyond, but where would women go if they had the wheel? These 28 authors have an idea, and the destinations are spectacular. From post-apocalyptic Earth to alien landscapes, these short stories explore imaginary worlds through the lens of feminism, revealing what could be for better and for worse. These provocative ideas give us a new way to look at our society…and at women.
Title: Daughters of Icarus | Editor Josie Brown | Publisher: Pink Narcissus Press | Pub. Date: 19 March 2013 | Pages: 375 |ISBN-13: 978-1939056009 | Genre: Science Fiction/ Fantasy| Language: English | Source: Self-purchased | Starred Review |
Daughters of Icarus Review
We all have different definitions of feminist literature. Feminism is a single word that encompasses a wide variety of ideals. It stands for equality and sisterhood. It means females supporting females and men cheering us on. For some, we see the “f” word and assume it’s going to be male bashing, while others see it as an opportunity for debate. It’s just as polarizing as it is inclusive.
When I discovered this anthology, I was curious how feminist would be defined. The introduction does a great job of setting the tone by simply asking writers to tell a story based on the question, “How will you shape the world?” (60). The stories aren’t “a promise that women will create a perfect world, but that they will create a fuller one” (60).
Women and men authors responded with a wide variety of stories that touched many definitions of the word feminism. There are no passive stories in this anthology. In fact, I’d argue that’s it’s only downfall. The stories were so well-written, so intense, so all encompassing that they drained me. It took weeks for me to finish this collection because I often needed to take a breath. The stories ask questions and challenge your view points. The action never stops. The reading experience was similar to listening to a rock album with no ballads. The emotion and tension was always high.
I know it’s a bit cliche to say this, but this anthology truly has something for everyone. Clones, mermaids, strippers, plants coming to life, goddesses, mutants, rebels and corrupt governments are just a handful of fun plot points you’ll come across. On a deeper level, the stories explore sexuality, gender fluidity, social norms, women’s roles in family and society, religious ideals, and motherhood.
A few stories stuck out to me.
“Practice Baby” by Heather Fowler sets up a future where people can practice parenting by adopting a realistic robotic baby. Laura, who is already pregnant, decides this would be a good way to prepare for motherhood, but Practice Baby comes with a few catches. It doesn’t live past six months, and if you don’t take care of it properly, your name goes on their website. Laura’s connection to Practice Baby grows, and she doesn’t want to be branded a bad mother, so when her baby comes, she continues to love Practice Baby. It’s an interesting story about motherhood and the connection between parent and child.
“The Sky God’s Daughter” by Jason Andrew is a fantasy short story about Atrahasis, the daughter of the Sky God, who wants to please her father by creating a new world. She ends up loving her world and wants to protect it from evil, but she must make a decision. She can descend to her world to fight the forces threatening the people, but if she does, she can never return home. If she doesn’t go, her world will most likely die. This is a beautiful story about love and protecting that which we’ve created.
I enjoyed all these stories, and I think fans of science fiction and fantasy will love them as well. I hope you’ll check it out!
You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads (buying direct from retailers is a good way to support indie authors); however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.