Thursday, October 08, 2009

"Oh Happy Day" by Geoff Ryman, from _Interzone: The First Anthology_

I got Interzone: The First Anthology at the library. I almost didn't pick it up....I'd just read a fun adventure novel and I had an intuition that this book was likely to be heavy.

This collection of stories from the magazine Interzone was published in 1985, and edited by John Clute, among others, whose scifi novel Appleseed I enjoyed in June 2008, but somehow forgot to blog about.

Today I finished reading the first story in it. It was heavy. But I'm glad I didn't skip it. "Oh Happy Day" paints a grisly picture of life in a death camp whose inmates are gay men made to unload and ransack the bodies of other men after they are killed. A revolution of women has taken over the country and is shipping off all men deemed violent...and they aren't being too discriminating about it, either.

I'll say no more in detail about the story, save that it goes to a place worth visiting.

The story is frighteningly realistic, and worth pondering. It's not that I think a revolution of women is particularly likely. It's that a story like this makes you think about the mistakes we make when we try to make things better; about the excesses of revolution and idelogical fervor; and about the danger of labelling someone as other.

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