Pushing the envelope

I'm on a panel tomorrow early afternoon called "Pushing the Envelope," about how to get more cutting-edge/groundbreaking stuff about sexuality, gender, orientation, etc in sf. (See the program schedule for more details; search on that page for "pushing the envelope".)

And as I usually try to do for panels I'm on, I'm putting together a resource list/booklist ahead of time, to hand out to the audience and to post online, in hopes of avoiding making it yet another generate-a-booklist panel.

But I left too much of this task to the last minute, and the resource list is kinda short on recent groundbreaking stuff.

So: if you happen to see this entry in the next few hours (I'm gonna print and photocopy the list this evening), and you happen to have any suggestions for stuff that should be on the list, post a comment or drop me an email.

However, please note that this is not intended to be a comprehensive list. I want it to be a list of starting points and representative examples, not a complete canonical guide. So if you want to send me suggestions, please do the following:

  • Send me titles and authors (and, ideally, one-sentence descriptions) of no more than two works.
  • The works should have been published in the past ten years, ideally in the past five.
  • They should be speculative fiction of some sort.
  • They should do something really groundbreaking and new and envelope-pushing with sexuality, gender, orientation, or related issues. Again, I'm not looking for a complete list of all works that have anything to do with this stuff, nor am I even looking for generally pretty good works in these areas; I'm looking very specifically for amazing eye-opening works that take you places you've never gone before.
  • This is time-sensitive, so general comments like "See the Tiptree shortlists for the last 15 years" aren't likely to be useful. (Also, note that there's plenty of Tiptree-winning fiction that doesn't fit the "really groundbreaking and new" criterion.)

I'm always interested in this stuff, so if you don't see this 'til later, feel free to post anyway. But it'll be of most use to me in the next ten hours or so. Sorry for the short notice.

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One Response to “Pushing the envelope”

  1. Anonymous

    I don’t know whether either of these is “really groundbreaking”, but, like your panel audience, I cannot resist helping to generate a booklist.

    _Distress_, Greg Egan. A metaphysical thriller; the male main character forms a relationship with a character who is physically and neurally asexual by choice. It made *me* think, anyways. Also apparently published 1995 so not suitable for this list; I thought it was a few years after that.

    _Set This House In Order_, Matt Ruff. The male main character is one personality of a multiple “household” sharing a body. A SPOILER for one plot twist follows:

    The thing I thought groundbreaking was that the body is, relatively far into the story, revealed to be female, which is relevant for various possible romantic connections, but entirely irrelevant (and angst-free) for the protagonist. Published 2003.


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