On reading: Nevertheless She Persisted from Tor.com

Title: Nevertheless She Persisted: Flash Fiction Project

Author: Charlie Jane Anders, Brooke Bolander, Amal El-Mohtar, Maria Dahvana Headley, Kameron Hurley, Seanan McGuire, Nisi Shawl,  Jo Walton,  Catherynne M. Valente, Carrie Vaughn and Alyssa Wong

From the back: Tor.com’s science fiction and fantasy flash fiction collection originally published in 2017 inspired by the now-iconic statement, now available in e-book format. 

She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted. 

Three short lines, fired over social media in response to questions of why Senator Elizabeth Warren was silenced on the floor of the United States Senate, for daring to read aloud the words of Coretta Scott King. As this message was transmitted across the globe, it has become a galvanizing cry for people of all genders in recognition of the struggles that women have faced throughout history. 

Three short lines, which read as if they are the opening passage to an epic and ageless tale. 

We have assembled this flash fiction collection featuring several of the best writers in SF/F today, including Seanan McGuire, Charlie Jane Anders, Maria Dahvana Headley, Jo Walton, Amal El-Mohtar, Catherynne M. Valente, Brooke Bolander, Alyssa Wong, Kameron Hurley, Nisi Shawl and Carrie Vaughn. Together these authors share unique visions of women inventing, playing, loving, surviving, and – of course – dreaming of themselves beyond their circumstances. 

The gist: Nevertheless She Persisted is a brilliant collection of doses of defiance. I was familiar with some, but not all of the authors, and as a whole they delivered fantastic shots of flash fiction. Each story takes a different tack on the prompt phrase “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” Some stories are tinged with sadness, others anger, and here and there a splash of humour. The collection as a whole is a fine example of flash fiction at its best, with particular shout-outs to Alyssa Wong’s God Product, Seanan McGuire’s Persephone, Charlie Jane Anders’ Margo and Rosalind and Amal El-Mohtar’s Anabis – story nuggets that have settled and nested in my mind.

With each story working from the same inspiration, but offering a unique voice and angle on the topic, the book is a genuine treat, each story as much a surprise as the next. Nevertheless She Persisted is a collection worth pondering over long after you reach the final pages.

Favourite line: “She had no time for their shit.”

Read if: You want tiny doses of smart, fantastically written defiant fiction.

Read with: Just a little time, slotted into coffee breaks, to simmer for longer once the words are ensconced in your brain.

Get it: Nevertheless She Persisted: Flash Fiction Project from Tor.com

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