Read The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard by Tom Léger Free Online
Book Title: The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard|
The author of the book: Tom Léger
Edition: Topside Press
Date of issue: October 16th 2012
ISBN 13: 9780983242208
Loaded: 2241 times
Reader ratings: 4.4
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 15.33 MB
City - Country: No data
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In all honesty and transparency, I'm giving this 3 stars instead of 2 or 1 solely because it is what it is and I'm glad that something of its kind does exist. But 3 stars is generous just considering the quality of the writing here. And of course quality will vary among stories in any anthology, but way too many of these stories are just bad bad irredeemably are-you-kidding-me who-would-publish-this-shit bad. Some were just plain poorly written, like -- sentence-level poorly written. Some just didn't have memorable characters. A few too many centered around trans dude protagonists who were being '''wronged''' in some way by their girlfriends. At least one was a shitty Kathy Acker rip-off. One story probably had the absolute most boring narrative arch possible, in which a kid who works at a coffee shop is misgendered by stock character after stock character until finally at the story's end one customer stands up for him and says -- climax! -- "His name is Sam." Which, you know, I'm not saying that being misgendered doesn't suck, just that "this sucks" does not also inherently extend into meaning "this sucky thing will make for a compelling story." There was another story in which the climactic moment is a dude mouthing off to his doctor about his use of the phrase "biologically male." Which again, shitty! But does not! an interesting! story make!
There was only one story that was really great in every way, Casey Plett's "Other Women." It was complex and full of characters that felt real and was funny but not hokey and at the same time managed to be one of the only stories to deal with sexual assault. Which is weird, because sexual assault and rape are actual real fucked up things that happen to trans people? And this anthology is full of stories about dudes who are bored with their service jobs and stories about goofy cartoonish trans superheroes and stories about dead/undead lovers or time travel that don't make literal OR metaphorical sense. But really, I'm okay with having wasted my time reading every awful story I did because at least I got Plett's story out of it! Maybe don't read this anthology and just buy her book instead. To be fair, there were a handful of other stories that I did enjoy, even if I wasn't floored by them. Notably, Susan Jane Bigelow, Red Durkin, and Imogen Binnie's stories. I wanted to like Ryka Aoki's story but it fell real flat for me at the end.
I know that good writing by trans authors exists in the this terrible world, so I'm chalking the failings of this anthology up to the editors. I'm going to guess that they didn't do great outreach for this project. Which is also evident in how little race or class is even mentioned in any of these stories. I do appreciate that they wanted to publish writers who are less established and have never published before but good grief I knooooooow there are unpublished writers out there who are writing good stories. I know it! My one hope is just that now that Topside Press is a little more established they could do a second collection that might attract better writing. And actually my one other hope is that a couple of trans women edit it because I am NOT here for Tom and Riley.
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