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The James Tiptree Award Anthology 3: Subversive Stories about Sex and Gender    edited by Karen Joy Fowler order for
James Tiptree Award Anthology 3
by Karen Joy Fowler
Order:  USA  Can
Tachyon, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Rheta Van Winkle

I had so much fun escaping into the short stories in this collection of SF. Subversive stories about sex and gender they may be, but they are also imaginative flights into other worlds that are very different from our own, and they are peopled by characters with whom we instantly sympathize. We may wonder what exactly is going on, but we want the outcome to be positive for our heroine. I loved a whole book of stories with heroines!

When I discovered SF as a young girl, I was enthralled by the magic of stories about other worlds with strange societies and alien beings who were sometimes even more intelligent than humans. There were also dangerous aliens and other planets in other star systems, but for a long time there were heroes, but no heroines. It's been a joy to watch the changes over the years.

This book starts with a couple of stories that are somewhat dark, but the bride in the third story doesn't seem to have quite as serious a problem, and she seems to work things out okay. Then comes Ursula LeGuin's Mountain Ways, with one of the most amazing systems of marriage that one could imagine. LeGuin has written about a lot of different societies and marriages in her books, but the problems for the characters in this story were indeed complex. There was a key at the beginning of this delightful story to help you keep track of how the marriage was supposed to work, and I found myself referring to it more than once.

As I read this book it seemed as though the stories just got better and better. So many new ideas and different ways of looking at life refresh the mind. The last story, Knapsack Poems, provided a perfect ending to the collection. I'm still trying to comprehend the idea of a person with several individuals making up one whole.

My only complaint, if you can call it that, is that I never quite figured out the actual winner of the Tiptree Award. It may be all of the stories or none of them in this book. These stories may all be just finalists. At any rate, it doesn't really seem to matter. I had a good time reading them.

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