Reading Subversion (Day 4)

Posted by kayholt on January 18, 2012 in editing, publishing, writing |

The next three stories in the Subversion anthology are all about germination; growth and change from within. Each reveals a different sort of transformation of a different type of group, but all these stories follow one person taking one step in the right direction. They show us that leaders must first revolutionize themselves before they can expect to lead a revolution.

Jean Johnson’s The Hero Industry possesses more whimsy than most of the other stories in the Subversion anthology, but it’s still a good fit. In it, our heroine makes the most of a bad situation for all involved by bluffing and press-releasing her way to the top of an emerging field. All of her success – for herself and her unlikely clients – would be impossible if she was unwilling to negotiate with chaos.

In Flicka, by Cat Rambo, life in the backwoods gets complicated when the arrival of strange neighbors inevitably spurs identity crises among the locals. One young man, exceptional in his own quiet way, wants to bridge the divide between the ‘aliens’ and their reluctant hosts, but trust takes time to build, and hatred undermines all hospitality. To make things right in his world, the gentle man must start with himself and build from there.

Seed, by Shanna Germain, is a many-layered story. Uniquely among the other Subversion stories, it first leads the reader to accept the unacceptable even before the characters must. It examines the delicate relationship between two vastly different cultures, but doesn’t shy from the double-standards within those cultures which make that cross-cultural relationship so attractive. Sometimes rules must be broken for people to embrace each other’s differences, and oftentimes those two acts amount to the same thing.

There are only a few stories left in the Subversion anthology for me to review. Buy it here, and beat me to the finish.

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  • Funny – I don’t think of Jean’s piece as whimsical at all. Cynical, deeply cynical (and fabulously written). When we let PR people control the revolutions we’ve lost any revolution and all revolutions — no matter how just the cause.

    • kayholt says:

      Oh, I’m so glad you commented. This is the fun part!

      I agree with everything you said, but I still assert that the story has whimsy. But, yes, it’s like the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine (CynicismRx) go down rather than genuine lightheartedness.

      No doubt the main character is a hideous opportunist, and in that way an exemplar of the kind of help rebels can expect from someone from within the dominant social order. Then again, they used her, and she had no obligation to be used on their terms. The people we give power don’t always stay under our control. Like in democracy, the people often get more than they ask for, especially from charismatic individuals.

      Consider it a warning for rebels to always be smarter than their foes and their ‘tools.’

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