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The Dancers' War: 10/28/09
Like Twin Starsis a collection of three science fiction short stories that center on bisexual characters and the interplay between sexuality and society.
The first story, "The Dancers' War" by N. K. Jemisin is set in a matriarchal tribal society. Before men can be married they must prove their worth to potential brides by a public show of prowess. The young man who must prove himself today is going against an outsider, a member of an enemy tribe.
To prove themselves, they must dance just as male birds often dance to win a mate. The moves they perform have names based around the forest in which they live. The dance is intense and demanding. It's also invigorating, creating a sexual tension between the two would be grooms.
While there are probably private moments between couples in Jemisin's society, displays of sexuality can also be public, and certainly are for the course of this story. The sexual act is described in the same terms and moves as the dance and the goal is the same: winning the right to marry well. But there are other reasons too which are explained at the end of the story.
I thoroughly enjoyed "The Dancers' War" and I am looking forward to completing the second and third stories in the collection. When I have finished reviewing the other two, I will post my final thoughts on the book as a whole.