How can you resist an anthology that includes work by Nalo Hopkinson, Delia Sherman, Catherynne M. Valente, Kelly Eskridge, Sonya Taaffe, and Sandra McDonald, among others? I can’t—and when the theme of the anthology is thought-provoking and original, that makes it even harder.
Beyond Binary posits some SF what-ifs that have been at times neglected within the field, but which SF is uniquely qualified to explore. As the jacket copy reads: “Speculative fiction is the literature of questions, of challenges and imagination, and what better to question than the ways in which gender and sexuality have been rigidly defined, partitioned off, put in little boxes?” The stories in this reprint anthology star “people who proudly define (and redefine) their own genders, sexualities, identities, and so much else in between.”
I asked Beyond Binary’s editor Brit Mandelo, what she thinks makes science fiction and fantasy ideal for exploring issues related to gender and sexual identity, and she pointed to the “astounding range of possibilities speculative fiction offers for asking vital questions, reinterpreting or discarding contemporary mores, and breaking boundaries is what makes it ideal for exploring issues of gender and sexuality.”