Originally in : When It Changed, ed Geoff Ryman.
It’s been a good few weeks since I’d picked up one of the year’s best anthologies to read a story, and have consequently been reading a lot of stories in anthologies/magazines, the majority of which won’t be appearing in a year’s best next year.
Comparing this story with the previous story read/reviewed, Eric Brown’s ‘Dissimulation Procedure’ from Conflicts, highlights why a story gets into a year’s best anthology. Brown’s story didn’t really stretch the imagination – a fairly bog-standard spaceport setting, a young girl fleeing something and a somewhat weary spacer deciding whether to help or not, and some routine action. Jones in contrast gets really stuck in, creating a story which addresses gender identity through characters who change and choose gender (and in one bearded case, choose crossover identities); a story with some back history; a story with some politics; a lot of technology; characters with their own agendas, and characters who change opinions of other characters; some star spanning action; and plenty to boggle your mind.