Author Kameron Hurley has been getting a bit of coverage in the sff-world lately on account of her debut novel God’s War and to tie in with this publicity a collection of her short stories has been released. Many of these have been previously published before, but some have never been seen before. I haven’t read God’s War but it sounds vaguely interesting, I mean, it has been described as bug-punk, that’s got to pique your interest, right? So when I saw this I figured that it’d be nice to get a sampler of her work before lining up another book on Mount TBR. The stories in this collection are:
The short stuff
The Women of Our Occupation
If Women Do Fall they Lie
Holding Onto Ghosts
Wonder Maul Doll
Genderbending at the Madhattered
My Oracles at the End of the World
Once, There Were Wolves
Canticle of the Flesh
In Freedom, Dying
Women and Ladies, Blood and Sand
and a lot are available to read on her site
Most of these stories have female protagonists, often in a war setting, on an alien planet. There is plenty of investigation of gender roles and flipping of the power dynamics that we might more usually expected. Of course, all of that only works if you are enjoying the stories themselves, otherwise there is a danger of preachiness and boring-ness. Luckily for the reader however, Brutal women is not preachy in the slightest.
That being said, these aren’t perfect. What is I suppose :)
And I had my usual problem with short stories, I wanted to know more about the people, worlds, and plots. Especially the last story, which is good, because it is set in the same ‘verse as her book. I guess as a marketing ploy Brutal Women is a definite success. The one other thing I’d have liked was if Hurley’s introductionary comments were afterwords. But that’s a personal preference.
I haven’t found other reviews of this collection, so if you’ve written one let me know and I’ll add a link.