This month’s Antler Review is hella political. So strap in, folks!
First up: Tim Pratt had an awesome story about lost love and making deals in the underworld. Apex magazine snagged this reprint and I’m glad they did, or I’d never have seen it. I cannot get enough stories of love constant beyond death, or the Orpheus-style journey to beyond the gates to reclaim the beloved. This version is sweet and different and so, so real. It lingers on the tongue like real vanilla.
But Meg, you exclaim. This isn’t political at all! Oh but it is. Everything is. Here’s why this is: I had a plan at the beginning of 2018 to avoid promoting the work of any allocishet white dudes, purely because I had examined my own past recommendation rates and found them sickeningly tilted in that very direction. I made it until March. Here’s why I broke:
Tim Pratt is a good guy. He’s a great writer. We lost the Philip K. Dick Award together this year. He read a story at Norwescon from his Patreon that I still cannot get out of my head, where it’s echoing like a pipe organ. His story about the Queens of Hell is only slightly less good. So I am fucking up my own pledge. This year’s numbers will be better, but they will not be pure. Such is life. (ETA: Tim was nice enough to point out that he is, in fact, one of us sneaky LGBTQ folk. This does not absolve me, but it does make me quite happy to have him with the organization.)
Speaking of losing the PKD, I read Kameron Hurley’s essay on what a writing career is really like when I woke up the next day. I haven’t lived all of this yet, but all of it is true. There is no better way it has ever been said. This essay was exactly what I needed, and I think other writers may need it, too. I hope it finds you when you need it most.
Let me follow that up with this excellent piece of in-depth reporting about the networks that teach people to perform abortions, in case they become illegal once again. Writer Lizzie Presser reminds us that the result of restrictive abortion policies is simply more dead women, and points the way to folks who want to keep that from happening. This is a fascinating read, and you may find yourself surprised by how simple the procedure really is.
Speaking of the second sex, have you read the Girl Stuff version of Ready Player One? You must have.
And now that you’ve read something funny and it’s softened you up a little, why not let Laurie Penny explain misogyny to you for a little while, from her vantage point of staring right down its barrel? I still have so much rage leftover from the 2016 election that I can barely stand the idea of seeing a woman run for president again. I cannot move on from the feeling of betrayal that people can stand anything but a woman who knows herself to be powerful. This article doesn’t fix anything, but at least I feel less crazy when someone else says it out loud. At least I know I’m not the only one seeing this.
Finally, the mess that is FOSTA/SESTA. If you’re not sure what’s happening with Backpage, Craigslist personals, Pounced, or the future of your porn, Teen Vogue has got your back. If you’re not clear on the fact that sex work is work, and that sex workers deserve the same protections and and rights as all other laborers, look hard at why you think that. Because, as consent advocate Kitty Stryker points out, sex workers are a canary in the coal mine of the rights of all Americans. Letting this go means the erosion of our privacy, our queer spaces, and our identity as a free nation.