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No Man of Woman Born: 08/25/18

No Man of Woman Born

No Man of Woman Born by Ana Mardoll is a collection of fantasy short stories featuring transgender / gender queer protagonists. The story uses neo-pronouns as well as his and her depending on the character in question to show that there's no one right way to express gender or to be transgender.

Some of these heroes are heroes because their gender doesn't fit a prophecy. Some are heroes because they've been. The choice of pronouns is never explained and isn't the point. None of these stories are about coming out and that is so refreshing.

My favorite of this selection of seven stories is the titular one. There's a prophesy that the king can only be harmed by "no man of woman born." Now if you know Shakespeare, you know the traditional narrow interpretation of how to get around this statement, a man born via c-section can kill the king.

But what about all the people who aren't men? Women? Non-binary? Demi-girls, etc? Now this isn't about one person who fits into any of these other interpretations of the prophesy. Instead, it's about the crowds of people who do, who are fiercely debating all these various ways harm can come to the king.

This particular reminds me of the seder where there's a debate on how to interpret the scripture. It's a long passage of semantics and that's what Mardoll's characters do here. They debate gender and they debate killing the king but he remains alive by the end of the story.

Four stars

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