As previously, I’m not going to record my own preferences here, just the fact that I’ve read this category.
Being Seen: One Deafblind Woman’s Fight to End Ableism, by Elsa Sjunneson. Second paragraph of third chapter:
Your fingertips have been dulled over decades of use, used to blunt force instead of sensitive consideration of the subtle differences in a texture. You have no idea how to find the world beneath them until you’ve tried.
The Complete Debarkle: Saga of a Culture War, by Camestros Felapton. Second paragraph of third chapter:
Part 1 of our Debarkle saga is estories [sic] about the past. Most of them take place this century but some of the precursors to the events in our saga take place in the Twentieth Century. I can’t hope to do justice to the full breadth of science fiction’s history but I will be looking at selected events from that history that have repercussions to later events. What follows in this chapter is a whistle-stop tour over many decades up to the early 1990s to just briefly touch on some elements of the past that will re-appear later. We’ll touch briefly on the roots of early fandom but mainly highlight some parts of US history that will be important later.
Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950 to 1985, edited by Andrew Nette and Iain McIntyre. Second paragraph of third essay (Radioactive Nightmares: Nuclear War in Science Fiction, by Andrew Nette):
One of the most chilling takes is American academic Mordecai Roshwald’s novel Level 7. An unnamed soldier is assigned to the lowest level of a massive selfsuffcient underground military complex, where he and hundreds of others are expected to reside forever. Known only as X-127, he is a “push-button offensive initiator” of his nation’s arsenal of intercontinental nuclear missiles. The story is told via X-127’s diary: his low spirits at never seeing the sun again, doubts about his job, the physical adjustment to living four thousand feet—over twelve hundred meters—underground. The monotony of level 7 life is interrupted only by the occasional directive from the speakers of an intercom system, their sole means of communicating with the other levels. The several hundred men and women of level 7 develop a strange ersatz version of society, complete with marriage and their own mythology to justify life underground to the children that will come from these unions. Then the order comes to launch the missiles.
“How Twitter can ruin a life”, by Emily St. James. Second paragraph of third section:
It’s incredibly hard to imagine “Attack Helicopter” receiving the degree of blowback it did in a world where Twitter didn’t exist. There were discussions of the story on forums and in comment threads all over the internet, but it is the nature of Twitter that all but ensured this particular argument would rage out of control. Isabel Fall’s story has been held up as an example of “cancel culture run amok,” but like almost all examples of cancel culture run amok, it’s mostly an example of Twitter run amok.
Never Say You Can’t Survive, by Charlie Jane Anders. Second paragraph of third chapter:
I had a severe learning disability in elementary school— I nearly flunked out of first grade, second grade, and third grade. I couldn’t hold a pencil right, no matter how many times people showed me, and when I tried to put words on paper, the outcome was an unreadable jumble. I sat and stared at my blank notebook page, inhaling the scent of stale PB&J crumbs and spilt chocolate milk, while the teacher got more frustrated and the other kids made fun of me.
True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee, by Abraham Riesman. Second paragraph of third chapter:
His schemes for departure from the comic-book trade in the 1940s and ’50s were varied, but they all hit dead ends for one reason or another: tragic luck, infertile business climate, deficit of inspiration, what have you. As a result, he never quit his day job. Timely Comics, or whatever it was called on a given week, continued to churn out four- color narratives, and Stan was back to being in charge of the whole line, despite his still- young age. Fago was relieved of his duties as head editor and would later note that Goodman, whatever his flaws, seemed to trust Stan. “Goodman never interfered with what Stan was doing,” Fago said. “He had faith in Stan. He knew Stan was in control and that his work was good.” Stan had associate editors, but was firmly in charge and trusted his gut instincts while navigating the waters of the adolescent comics industry— waters that would soon become dangerously choppy.