Review copy provided by Tor Books. Full disclosure: Kameron and I are not besties but are the “have a long chatty lunch at a con” level of cordial. Do I always remember this kind of disclosure? I should. This field, ack.
If you follow Kameron Hurley’s blog, most of this book will be familiar to you. I say “most” because, in addition to the pieces written specifically for this collection, even the most adamant follower of a blog scarcely memorizes every post. There will always be the day when you were at your grandmother’s, the link you didn’t catch, the time when you totally meant to come back to that later…but never did. Also, blogs–even the best-curated–get choked down a bit with ephemera. There will always be a post that, in retrospect, turns out not to have been among the best. A post that needs an update, and you read it five minutes after it went up and missed the update.
These, then, are the selected favorites of Hurley’s blog posts, edited to be their best selves. They are the form she wants to stand by, the form she wants to discuss in the long-term. This is not her only argument, but this time around, this is her argument. This is her fight.
Some of the essays that were written for this collection are at least as important as the blog posts that went viral. They make it fuller, more rounded argument. They have perspective. One, in particular, “When the Rebel Becomes Queen: Changing Broken Systems from the Inside,” takes on one of the hardest topics for people in our culture in my generation and the one before it: admitting to power. Because, as Hurley points out, the difference doesn’t always feel immensely powerful on the inside. It doesn’t come with a sceptre or an army or a giant bank account. But that doesn’t mean that the power differential isn’t real and important in how you treat people, and I’m very pleased to see someone like Hurley–who is not a multimillionaire, who is not a household name in households other than mine–explicitly recognizing that and grappling with its implications in a book like this.
So the new content is well worth having, and if you want to, you can take a minute to find out what you think of that old. But I do think that if you’re having the kind of conversation that genre tends to be, putting this kind of essay online so that it’s widely accessible, and also publishing it in this kind of format so that it’s more polished and permanent, has a lot of value. I’ve been glad to see authors like Jo Walton and Cory Doctorow do it in recent years, and Hurley’s is a valuable voice in that thread of discussion.
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