In the wake of recent discussions, I thought this newly published story by Vylar Kaftan might be an interesting read. I’m not all the way to the end yet, so I can’t say what conclusions I’d draw from the text, but I’m interested in yours.
Here’s an excerpt:
The car makes a sharp left. I can tell we’re on a road again because the ride is smoother. My head cracks against the spare tire, and I black out briefly. I twist my neck a little, and arch my back so it isn’t pressed against the floor. My back is wet with injuries, and the trunk smells of tires and blood. He drives for only five minutes before the sirens start.
Patiently, I wait for the questions I know will be asked.
A deep voice, muffled by the trunk walls: “Sir, may I see your license?” A long pause, then, “What’s in your trunk?”
“A professional masochist,” he responds. I’m impressed with his calmness and confidence. Most of my clients would have lied. I suppose he expected the cop to search him anyway.
A short pause, then the trunk flies open. I blink at the red and blue lights in my eyes. There’s a dark, burly figure in front of me. “Ma’am?” he asks.
Before he can go on, I recite, “Professional masochist, license 148-XZ, expiration date 7-8-38, name Ada Maureen Protierre, backed up by HMX Micro Industries, category 13B.” I must be a sight, bloody in a stranger’s trunk, rattling off my legal information.
And while we’re at it, the same issue of Helix Magazine features a story by Ann Leckie which explores the creation and experience of gender, sexuality, and love, in a setting based on ancient Persia. An excerpt from hers:
“My friend,” said Atehatsqe, and put a hand on his shoulder, briefly.
“I know your reason for doing this, but…”
“This marriage.” The way Varoshtej said marriage made it clear that he was no more in favor of it than I was.
“Do you have any arguments I haven’t heard before?” It was clear that both of them thought I couldn’t understand Theretan. I hung my head under the folds of silk and listened.
“That is not the daughter of Ysas. You’ve castrated him and put him in a dress but that hasn’t changed what he is. Do you think he’ll submit to the insult?”
“It’s different with women. Yrej is a man, with a man’s pride.” He was arguing my side, but I felt a sickening shame. “By all means provide for him,” Varoshtej continued. “Gratify your lust if you like, he’s good looking enough. But don’t put this eunuch beside you on the throne.”