Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Men are Trouble, by James Patrick Kelly

One-gender stories are a pretty common trope in SF literature.  There's a fair sprinkling of both genders, possibly with a preponderance of all-female ones but I have not counted.  The last one I recall reading was Ethan of Athos, all male.  In any case, Men Are Trouble is an all-female Earth, made that way by an alien species who must have thought the title of the story was true, though it is never referenced in the tale. 

Kelly in this story is putting humanity in a stressful situation to see what we learn from it. The invasion and removal of men is not that long in the past, there are many women alive who remember men.  Grannies, in this story.  Fay Hardaway is a hard-bitten PI investigating the death of one woman and the disappearance of another, though of course bigger things are on the line.  We see here the tension between people trying to get by in this new circumstance, where aliens basically control the show, and others who just can't get used to it and would rather die.  The pain of finding meaning in these circumstances comes through clearly.

This is a fine read, if you pick it up you will enjoy it immensely.  Four stars from me.

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