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Welcome to the inaugural posting of the Non-Binary Book Club! This is a review (with the mildest of spoilers) of Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice (2013), which won the 2014 Hugo and Nebula Awards–and our hearts.

What’s the Non-Binary Book Club?

Long version here.

Our focus is on books (and media) about characters with non-binary sexualities, gender identities, or gender expressions. That is, characters who are bi/pansexual/queer-identified, or whose gender expression or identity is not strongly fixed to the gender binary (may include agender, transgender, gender-nonconforming, gendervariant, genderfluid, intersex [as identity], non-binary, genderqueer, et al). We tend to read speculative fiction novels (as opposed to non-fiction, including autobiographies), but graphic novels, comics, and short stories may be on our list.

Leckie_AncillaryJustice_TP-220x325Overview: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.

Breq is both more than she seems and less than she was. Years ago, she was Justice of Toren–a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of corpse soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.

An act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with only one fragile human body. And only one purpose–to revenge herself on Anaander Mianaai, many-bodied, near-immortal Lord of the Radch.

Major themes: the intersections of gender, colonialism, religion, language, race/ethnicity, music

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You're damn right this page has issues.

You’re damn right this page has issues.

I HAD SUCH HOPE FOR YOU, MARNIE.

To be clear: I have not read the book, and I assume the movie is faithful to the original plot points.

Review contains so many gifs and some spoilers–the plot twist is embedded in a link, but there are a lot of pictures.

Miyazaki protégé Yonebayashi adds Studio Ghibli magic to Joan G. Robinson’s classic ghost story of a shy teenage tomboy who befriends a young blonde girl who may not be of this world. Subtitled, Ages 8+.

Here was my thought process throughout the movie:

HOORAY A NEW GHIBLI FILM

oh my GOD ARE THEY TINY QUEER BABIES

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"Off to flip a table at the PM!"  Hiromi Nakasaki holding an umbrella poses for a photograph in Tokyo. Now, Nakasaki visits Tokyo every month to promote herself as a freelance business consultant. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

“Off to flip a table at the PM!”
Hiromi Nakasaki holding an umbrella poses for a photograph in Tokyo. Now, Nakasaki visits Tokyo every month to promote herself as a freelance business consultant. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Not too many links this time, but some longer commentary on gender and eldercare, marriage rights, and trans rights in Japan.

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Leckie_AncillaryJustice_TP-220x325It’s no secret that I’m enamored of the “cross-dressing and sword-fighting” genre, but I had a moment a few months ago when I got so fed up with a novel of that description that I almost threw it out the bus window.

You know the story: guy 1 (a straight cis man) meets guy 2 (a cis-identified woman in disguise as a man for Reasons); there’s an attraction; guy 1 has queer panic about his homoromantic inclinations; and then guy 2 reveals himself to have been the princess, sister of some lord, or heir all along! Boom, heterogamous marriage may commence! Heterosexuality is defended!

Some spoilers for The House of Four Winds below; basic plot for Ancillary Justice.

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I may have missed the UW campus cherry blossoms, but I had a chance last month to see the cherry blossoms in Vancouver, BC, and they were gorgeous. These, of course, are not the only places in the city to see them, but Granville Island, Devonian Harbor Park, and Stanley Park were all easily accessible from the place I was staying downtown.

In Ishikawa, we used to say that the overcast weather actually made the flowers seem more vivid. I certainly treasured them more after the constant snow and wintry mix, when the landscape was no longer a white-out and the first colors (other than the camellias) emerged.*

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In this gender reader: 10 years and no movement on the separate surnames bill in Japan, the feminist power of Sailor Moon nostalgia, feminization and slurs in Korean queer terminology, wrist-grabbing isn’t sexy, Teddy girls, and more!

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Let’s all take a mental health break and look at some camellias.

Camellias Seattle | The Lobster Dance 8

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