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Transcendent 3: The Year's Best Transgender Speculative Fiction

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The stories in this year's selection are sometimes grim, sometimes cheerful, sometimes quirky—but always full of emotion. Editor Takács has assembled a wide range of non-cis experiences: from an intergalactic art heist to the everyday life of a trans woman through the lens of horror movies; non-binary parenting in the far future, to a unique method of traveling back to the The stories in this year's selection are sometimes grim, sometimes cheerful, sometimes quirky—but always full of emotion. Editor Takács has assembled a wide range of non-cis experiences: from an intergalactic art heist to the everyday life of a trans woman through the lens of horror movies; non-binary parenting in the far future, to a unique method of traveling back to the past. Steampunk, ghosts, even deities, all can be found in these stories that show how transness can relate to and subvert so many themes at the heart of speculative fiction. The introduction also includes a section on year-to-year changes in transgender SFF, and assembled longer-form trans highlights.


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The stories in this year's selection are sometimes grim, sometimes cheerful, sometimes quirky—but always full of emotion. Editor Takács has assembled a wide range of non-cis experiences: from an intergalactic art heist to the everyday life of a trans woman through the lens of horror movies; non-binary parenting in the far future, to a unique method of traveling back to the The stories in this year's selection are sometimes grim, sometimes cheerful, sometimes quirky—but always full of emotion. Editor Takács has assembled a wide range of non-cis experiences: from an intergalactic art heist to the everyday life of a trans woman through the lens of horror movies; non-binary parenting in the far future, to a unique method of traveling back to the past. Steampunk, ghosts, even deities, all can be found in these stories that show how transness can relate to and subvert so many themes at the heart of speculative fiction. The introduction also includes a section on year-to-year changes in transgender SFF, and assembled longer-form trans highlights.

30 review for Transcendent 3: The Year's Best Transgender Speculative Fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    First of all I love this cover! This collection has a wide range of subgenres and tones, from vampires to magical goats. It introduced me to quite a few authors unknown to me. The Charlie Jane Anders story was a punch to the gut.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bogi Takács

    I edited this! :) Available for preorder now!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    I thought "The Worldless" by Indrapramit Das was going to be the perfect last story of the anthology, because it's about leaving a place that holds no hope or future, even when you have little assurance of finding a home on the other side. But then "The Heart's Cartography" by Susan Bigelow came along, a story about choosing to stay where you are, knowing you can build a future. "We survive," the main character learns. What an incredibly powerful line. Kudos to the editor for the juxtaposition o I thought "The Worldless" by Indrapramit Das was going to be the perfect last story of the anthology, because it's about leaving a place that holds no hope or future, even when you have little assurance of finding a home on the other side. But then "The Heart's Cartography" by Susan Bigelow came along, a story about choosing to stay where you are, knowing you can build a future. "We survive," the main character learns. What an incredibly powerful line. Kudos to the editor for the juxtaposition of these stories. Other stories that really stuck with me: "Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time" by KM Szpara where a trans man is nonconsensually bitten by a vampire and then has to choose between death and becoming a vampire himself. Loved the messiness and flailing in this story, how it dealt with choice and consequence, the way vampirification was entirely unromanticized for the main character. Also the grief around both transition and turning, what is lost in the process. And finally "The Mouse" by Larissa Glasser left an impression because sometimes we *don't* survive. But the main character here makes a significant choice as well. Her life, and her death, *matter*.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alice Lemon

    I have to admit that I didn't like some of the short stories in this, but I really loved Shweta Narayan's, R.L. Lemberg's, Ada Hoffmann's, and Susan Jane Bigelow's contributions. I have to admit that I didn't like some of the short stories in this, but I really loved Shweta Narayan's, R.L. Lemberg's, Ada Hoffmann's, and Susan Jane Bigelow's contributions.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stacie C

    Actual rating 4.5 stars.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    These were, almost without exception, very solid-to-excellent stories. There were only a couple that were good but I almost kind of wish I hadn't read since they were more horrific than expected. These were, almost without exception, very solid-to-excellent stories. There were only a couple that were good but I almost kind of wish I hadn't read since they were more horrific than expected.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    I rarely give multi-author anthologies 5 out of 5, but this one earned it. The stories within range from tales where a character just happens to be trans or genderfluid in the context of a wider stories, to tales where the character’s gender is crucial to the plot. Some trans characters are much as we see them in society now, whereas others are members of alien races (or other groups) that would be new to us. The collection includes an up-front section of content notes so you can skip the stories I rarely give multi-author anthologies 5 out of 5, but this one earned it. The stories within range from tales where a character just happens to be trans or genderfluid in the context of a wider stories, to tales where the character’s gender is crucial to the plot. Some trans characters are much as we see them in society now, whereas others are members of alien races (or other groups) that would be new to us. The collection includes an up-front section of content notes so you can skip the stories that might bother you. I’ll just note a handful: violence, explicit sex, slurs, self-harm, panic attacks, menstruation, murder. I don’t think there are any stories in here that disappointed me. Maybe there were one or two that I felt ended too soon, with too much left unsaid or unresolved. But it was a mild feeling, not a “hey, did someone leave out half the story?” reaction. I won’t go through each and every story, but I’ll note a few that stood out to me. The Chameleon’s Gloves by Yoon Ha Lee is one of those stories that isn’t really about the character’s sexuality so much. Rhehan and their partner are working on an art heist when they’re kidnapped and forced to use Rhehan’s haptic chameleon abilities for the benefit of the people who threw them out. This story is tense, tight, and neat. Ryley Knowles’s Death You Deserve introduces us to Addy, who has an obsession with fearing that she’ll die a horror-movie-style death. This is a surprisingly powerful tale. Small Changes over Long Periods of Time, by K.M. Szpara contains a non-consensual vampire attack, and then the difficulties of a trans character having to also transition to being a vampire. It’s creative and interesting. Shweta Narayan’s World of the Three is a fantastical tale of mechanical creatures and their interactions with humans. This is one of the stories where the trans nature of the character is a bit unusual, since mechanicals can have their heartsprings moved into new bodies, which might not be the same gender as the previous. S. Qiouyi Lu’s A Complex Filament of Light follows Alicia, who’s doing research in Antarctica. They have to come to terms with a suicide in their family, and I shed a few tears over this one. One of my favorites in here is Susan Jane Bigelow’s The Heart’s Cartography. As soon as Sally moves into Jade’s neighborhood, Jade figures out Sally’s a time traveler. Sally’s able to give Jade, a trans girl, a bit of a glimpse into what the future may hold for people like her. This is an excellent anthology, with some powerful stories. Original review posted on my blog: http://www.errantdreams.com/2019/06/r...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Artur Nowrot

    I don’t really keep up with what’s going on in SFF or trans literature (or intersections thereof), so I appreciate the work done by Lethe Press and editor Bogi Takács even more. It feels great to be able to dive into a selection of highlights from the field. “Transcendent 3” casts the net fairly widely in terms of genre and amount of trans content. Science fiction, fantasy, and horror are represented fairly evenly and while I gravitated more towards the stories that placed a particular focus on v I don’t really keep up with what’s going on in SFF or trans literature (or intersections thereof), so I appreciate the work done by Lethe Press and editor Bogi Takács even more. It feels great to be able to dive into a selection of highlights from the field. “Transcendent 3” casts the net fairly widely in terms of genre and amount of trans content. Science fiction, fantasy, and horror are represented fairly evenly and while I gravitated more towards the stories that placed a particular focus on various experiences related to being transgender, I also quite enjoyed the opportunity that trans men and women and non-binary characters had to just be themselves (and *them*selves) while having various other adventures and struggles. This diversity of approaches makes even seemingly stale or problematic tropes, such as having the non-human characters be non-binary feel interesting. I really liked the gender fluidity of the mechanical main character of “World of Three” and the shapeshifting powers of the protagonist in “Minor Heresies”. If there was one thing that bothered me in particular about a few of the stories it’s how they felt the need to explicitly state what they were about. I don’t mean that in the Message Fiction sense that reactionaries often talk about, but rather in the sense that some of the authors felt the need to really spell out the Themes of their stories. This caused me to bounce off of some of the stories I otherwise quite liked (like the aforementioned “Minor Heresies”). This is a small quibble, though. Overall, “Transcendent 3” was a pleasant refreshment after my recent reading slump. While there were some stories that felt a little same-y (it might also have been me not really gelling with sci-fi), the collection overall was varied enough in terms of themes, settings, and styles not to feel monotonous. I’ll definitely dive into previous installments in the series and I cannot wait for “Transcendent 4”. Personal highlights include (in order of appearance): “Death You Deserve” by Ryley Knowles “Small Changes over Long Periods of Time” by K.M. Szpara “Heat Death of Western Human Arrogance” by M. Téllez “The Heavy Things” by Julian K. Jarboe “Don’t Press Charges and I Won’t Sue” by Charlie Jane Anders

  9. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    A wonderful compilation with a wide range of characters, topics, and tones. From the deeply haunting to the humorous, the stories are compelling.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tristan

    Transcendent 3 was a well produced and exciting anthology. I was very glad to see the presence of an anthology of transgender science fiction and fantasy and hope that this represents a broader change in the representation of trans people in the world of speculative fiction. In terms of flow, I thought it moved nicely from story to story, although I read it slowly enough that I was much more concerned with the individual stories than I was with the arc of the book as a whole. I really appreciate Transcendent 3 was a well produced and exciting anthology. I was very glad to see the presence of an anthology of transgender science fiction and fantasy and hope that this represents a broader change in the representation of trans people in the world of speculative fiction. In terms of flow, I thought it moved nicely from story to story, although I read it slowly enough that I was much more concerned with the individual stories than I was with the arc of the book as a whole. I really appreciated that the introduction had content warnings and the wide range of experiences represented in the collection. In terms of style, the collection was full of beautifully executed texts. Each of these authors (even of the stories I didn't like) are clearly very well-practiced and the craft comes through. My particular favorites were "Praying to the god of Small Chances", "A Spell to Signal Home," "A Splendid Goat Adventure", "Hello, World!". "Minor Heresies", and "The Heart's Cartography". There was a nice balance between sci-fi and fantasy and the stories come from a variety of magazines and other first publications. Beautiful and thought-provoking stories by and large, highly recommended if you're interested in the exciting work in speculative fiction by and about transgender people (or just exciting work in speculative fiction that has to do with gender in any way).

  11. 4 out of 5

    Smehur

    This was hit and miss. Some of the stories (Death You Deserve, Heat Death of Western Human Arrogance, Feed, Hello World, The Heavy Things and The Heart's Cartographer) were an absolute pleasure to read. Most others were unremarkable. I wish trans-men were better represented, only one or two stories feature such characters, the rest are mostly trans-women or non-binary. Overall, I liked the collection enough to consider getting the past and future installments too, but not enough to look up indiv This was hit and miss. Some of the stories (Death You Deserve, Heat Death of Western Human Arrogance, Feed, Hello World, The Heavy Things and The Heart's Cartographer) were an absolute pleasure to read. Most others were unremarkable. I wish trans-men were better represented, only one or two stories feature such characters, the rest are mostly trans-women or non-binary. Overall, I liked the collection enough to consider getting the past and future installments too, but not enough to look up individual authors.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kaarna

    Tässä oli upeita tarinoita! Sellaisia, joista sai uusia näkökulmia, ja sellaisia, joissa jokin oma juttu oli ekaa kertaa kirjoitettuna. Oon niin iloinen tästä kirjasta. Monet näistä jäi elämään mun mieleen.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa Ricci-Thode

    Too many of these stories were way too dark and/or depressing. The last one was the only one I really loved.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Eli Poteet

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    Fiction T7722 2018

  16. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lashawna Merrida

  18. 5 out of 5

    Erin

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lacey

  20. 4 out of 5

    Adriana

  21. 5 out of 5

    Erica

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ada Hoffmann

  23. 5 out of 5

    OTIS

  24. 5 out of 5

    A.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

  26. 4 out of 5

    Delaney Heisterkamp

  27. 4 out of 5

    Martina

  28. 4 out of 5

    Piper

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ms. C

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lura

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