This is not the sort of book I generally read–collections of political essays–but I picked it up on a whim while waiting in line at the bookstore and got hooked from a random essay in the middle. It was one of those “right place, right time” kind of books.
Hurley and I have so much in common that I wonder if we’ve ever met, and if so, why are we not best of friends? Some of the things she wrote in this book were words that I had thought about more than once, but never quite put to paper. What I hate about movies, for example: they are all politically pushing the same agenda of white-boy makes good (at the cost of non-whiteboy characters). Or that you have to be kind of crazy, the right sort of crazy, to want to be a writer at all, given how hard it is and how few rewards there are and how likely (nearly certain) it is that you’ll get hate mail, death threats, and other fun times for the crime of being a woman with an opinion.
Mostly this book is about feminism. The battle for feminine equality is not over, and is in fact under assault from every direction. There are a lot of men who liked it better when women were property, and are trying very hard to push society back in that direction. These essays are a call to arms for anyone who writes or creates, because by telling the same old stories (whiteboy makes good, woman gets owned) we reinforce the status quo and make it harder to push towards a better future.
Hurley also discusses the difficulty of living with a chronic illness in a pre-Obama world where not having a job with insurance was literally the difference between life and death for her. She talks about her essay “We Have Always Fought,” which is about the universal and unending presence of women in combat, and how many hackles it raised because it was in direct opposition to the “a woman’s place is in the home” story made so strong in post-war America. She touches on the fight within the sci-fi community to overthrow the revolution of misogynists who gamed the Hugo awards recently. She talks about why the show Mad Men was about misogyny, but the show True Detective was itself misogynistic. She touches on quite a few topics, and they are categorized in sections so you can pick it up from whatever section interests you.
I recommend this book for feminists, sci-fi fans, writers, and most especially for that friend of yours who thinks he’s a feminist because he wants to sleep with lesbians.