The best stuff I read in September:
I loved American Movie by K-Ming Chang for its quick, clear, queer fabulousness. If you just want to try on the perfume at the mall but not buy it, read this.
I’ve been reading about reparations for most of my life. I’ve heard arguments for and against, comparisons to how it’s been pulled off in other countries, and seen it depicted in places like the “Watchmen” series, but I’ve only rarely read fiction set in a universe where reparations have been paid. Read How to Pay Reparations: a Documentary by Tochi Onyebuchi, who has an excellent imagination and an unforgettable voice.
I love a retelling of a misogynist fairy tale, don’t you? Choices by Mari Ness is such a just and brief one. If you’re looking for a publication to support that puts out good short works in science fiction, DSF could sure use your help.
Thought I was the only one who looked at the unfair connection of jobs to insurance as the new measure of what an acceptable partner needs to bring to a marriage. No estate, no inheritance, but a low-deductible plan. I think it’s keeping more people married than we realize. I know a lot of folks who married friends to fix this unfixable problem. The Health Insurance Plot Is the New American Happy Ending by Nitya Rayapati looks this one dead in the diamond.
Bisexual visibility day came and went the way it always does, despite the chaos in which we live. We swam and drowned in heatwave selfies and once again fought the tiresome discourse fight over whether bisexual is the right word, whether it enforces the binary. A. E. Osworth takes it apart in Am I Bisexual? Is That The Word?, a piece that reminds us that all these terms and divisions are insufficient, generalizing, and shoddy containers at best for who we are and what we do.
Hopeful stories make me cry these days. Not for their own sake, and not because I can always convince myself that a better word is possible. Mostly I cry because I remember how clearly I used to be able to see it. I used to believe that progress was unstoppable and things were always getting better. Baboon, Brain, Brick by Louis Evans is one of those stories that makes me cry, but it doesn’t imagine a utopia. It imagines a person who can clearly imagine utopia. And I can’t take that at all. (Full disclosure: Louis is a member of my writing group and a dear friend.)
In books, I am reading The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones really slowly. The narrative voice was hard for me at first, and I bounced a little. But settling back in has been so good, so worth it, and so spooky. Highly recommend it for your pumpkin month reading pleasure.
I also read Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh. I loved her blog and her first book, and I wanted this one real bad. I barely made it last more than a day. Listen, nobody owes their fans an explanation of why they stopped making art, where they went, or what they did with their personal life. Brosh shares a lot of that anyway, generously, in an incredibly moving chapter of this otherwise hilarious book. Her giving us a piece of her story is like all graces: unearned.