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The Reinvented Heart

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What happens when emotions like love and friendship span vast distances — in space, in time, and in the heart? Science fiction often focuses on future technology and science without considering the ways social structures will change as tech changes — or not. What will relationships look like in a complicated future of clones, uploaded intelligences, artificial brains, or bo What happens when emotions like love and friendship span vast distances — in space, in time, and in the heart? Science fiction often focuses on future technology and science without considering the ways social structures will change as tech changes — or not. What will relationships look like in a complicated future of clones, uploaded intelligences, artificial brains, or body augmentation? What stories emerge when we acknowledge possibilities of new genders and ways of thinking about them? The Reinvented Heart presents stories that complicate sex and gender by showing how shifting technology may affect social attitudes and practices, stories that include relationships with communities and social groups, stories that reinvent traditional romance tropes and recast them for the 21st century, and above all, stories that experiment, astonish, and entertain. TABLE OF CONTENTS Foreword by Cat Rambo HEARTS Poem: They: A Grammar Lesson by Jane Yolen Retrospect by Seanan McGuire Lockpick, Locked Heart by AnaMaria Curtis Touch Has a Memory by Lisa Morton Ping-Pong Dysphoria by Madeline Pine In Our Masks, the Shadows by Sam Fleming Ships of Theseus by Felicity Drake With All Souls Still Aboard by Premee Mohamed More than Nine by Beth Cato HANDS Poem: There Is a Hand by Jane Yolen The Shape of the Particle by Naomi Kritzer No Want to Spend by Sophie Giroir Little Deaths and Missed Connections by Maria Dong Sincerely Yours by Lyda Morehouse Photosynthesis, Growth by Devin Miller No Pain but That of Memory by Aimee Ogden Go Where the Heart Takes You by Anita Ensal MINDS Poem: Mars Conquest by Jane Yolen The Star-Crossed Horoscope for Interstellar Travelers by Fran Wilde Canvas of Sins by Mercedes M. Yardley If My Body Is a Temple, Raze It to the Ground by Lauren Ring PerfectMate™ by Xander Odell Etruscan Afterlife by Rosemary Claire Smith Our Savage Heart Calls to Itself (Across the Endless Tides) by Justina Robson Afterword by Jennifer Brozek Biographies


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What happens when emotions like love and friendship span vast distances — in space, in time, and in the heart? Science fiction often focuses on future technology and science without considering the ways social structures will change as tech changes — or not. What will relationships look like in a complicated future of clones, uploaded intelligences, artificial brains, or bo What happens when emotions like love and friendship span vast distances — in space, in time, and in the heart? Science fiction often focuses on future technology and science without considering the ways social structures will change as tech changes — or not. What will relationships look like in a complicated future of clones, uploaded intelligences, artificial brains, or body augmentation? What stories emerge when we acknowledge possibilities of new genders and ways of thinking about them? The Reinvented Heart presents stories that complicate sex and gender by showing how shifting technology may affect social attitudes and practices, stories that include relationships with communities and social groups, stories that reinvent traditional romance tropes and recast them for the 21st century, and above all, stories that experiment, astonish, and entertain. TABLE OF CONTENTS Foreword by Cat Rambo HEARTS Poem: They: A Grammar Lesson by Jane Yolen Retrospect by Seanan McGuire Lockpick, Locked Heart by AnaMaria Curtis Touch Has a Memory by Lisa Morton Ping-Pong Dysphoria by Madeline Pine In Our Masks, the Shadows by Sam Fleming Ships of Theseus by Felicity Drake With All Souls Still Aboard by Premee Mohamed More than Nine by Beth Cato HANDS Poem: There Is a Hand by Jane Yolen The Shape of the Particle by Naomi Kritzer No Want to Spend by Sophie Giroir Little Deaths and Missed Connections by Maria Dong Sincerely Yours by Lyda Morehouse Photosynthesis, Growth by Devin Miller No Pain but That of Memory by Aimee Ogden Go Where the Heart Takes You by Anita Ensal MINDS Poem: Mars Conquest by Jane Yolen The Star-Crossed Horoscope for Interstellar Travelers by Fran Wilde Canvas of Sins by Mercedes M. Yardley If My Body Is a Temple, Raze It to the Ground by Lauren Ring PerfectMate™ by Xander Odell Etruscan Afterlife by Rosemary Claire Smith Our Savage Heart Calls to Itself (Across the Endless Tides) by Justina Robson Afterword by Jennifer Brozek Biographies

46 review for The Reinvented Heart

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    I'm going to list out the individual stories and how I rated them. Overall I thought it was a really great idea for an anthology that mostly stayed on topic with successful results. I'm reading The Reinvented Heart and I wanted to keep track of my thoughts on the anthology. Hearts They: A Grammar Lesson | Jane Yolen Short poem. Retrospect | Seanan McGuire ★★★☆☆ A researcher has terrible biohazard containment while investigating a paleontological fungal spore and ends up with a symbiotic contamination I'm going to list out the individual stories and how I rated them. Overall I thought it was a really great idea for an anthology that mostly stayed on topic with successful results. I'm reading The Reinvented Heart and I wanted to keep track of my thoughts on the anthology. Hearts They: A Grammar Lesson | Jane Yolen Short poem. Retrospect | Seanan McGuire ★★★☆☆ A researcher has terrible biohazard containment while investigating a paleontological fungal spore and ends up with a symbiotic contamination that experiences love with its host. I think this one is a bit of a stretch in terms of the remit of the anthology, but it was ok. Lockpick, Locked Heart | AnaMaria Curtis ★★★☆☆ A company provides a service where you can sell it your ability to feel a particular emotion, after which when you would feel that emotion, instead you see a paywall notification and you feel numb instead. Only, the Earth has been mostly abandoned in a mass exodus and the company is now defunct on Earth leaving many people unable to unlock their emotions. The central idea is believable, both in terms of the horrible business model of the company and the idea of abandoned DRMed properties. Touch has a Memory | Lisa Morton ★★★★☆ AI robots are a thing and so is the ability to register your gender and sexuality. A free robot wants to change their register for themself from an "it" to "agender pansexual" but has been denied and comes to a lawyer to appeal the decision. The lawyer works in the field and warns the robot about violent protesters that will target both the lawyer and the robot because of the case, but chooses to take the case anyway. The lawyer is female heterosexual, but experiences attraction to her client. This is the first story in the anthology that I've really loved. I really liked the discussion between the protagonists that clarifies the difference between sensuality and sexuality and how a robot without genitals or biological arousal can still experience a sexual life. Ping-Pong Dysphoria | Madeline Pine ★★★☆☆ Hia is a cyborg that can house they're consciousness in either a "boy body" or a "girl body" and has access to both. They're clearly genderfluid and will switch bodies after they begin to experience dysphoria in their current housing. The story is Hia dealing with the anger and breakup caused because their current male partner only wants their female body and wants her to become pregnant ("her" used consciously to indicate Hia in their female incarnation). This is very short, but really doesn't get into the biggest questions I have about it: 1. How did Hia get like this in the first place? Is Hia artificial? 2. I can't understand why Hia would even be in a relationship with this person. How did this happen? In Our Masks, the Shadows | Sam Fleming ★★★☆☆ A woman becomes tired of the dating scene in the augmented reality world that everyone now lives in. This has some interesting ideas including the expansion of sociopolitical social media bubbles into the real world, along with some thinking about skins in terms of curating your appearance to the outside world. She's approached by someone without augmented reality and finds that person attractive. I think this one is shallow. The ideas are interesting enough, but the conclusion that the main character chooses by switching to reality is only supported by a series of poor experiences with her augmented reality partners. I think the conclusion that we're meant to draw is that AR is always fake and therefore unsatisfying, whereas anyone who's familiar with the real world dating scene would have just as bad a "hit rate" on successful encounters. Ships of Theseus | Felicity Drake ★★★★★ A woodworker is beginning to experience RSI in her left wrist and is considering a voluntary arm replacement. Tech has advanced to the point that prosthetics are "augments", stronger and better than the original with no loss of feeling. She discusses the idea with a workmate who has two leg augments due to a childhood accident. To demonstrate the feeling of his legs he rigs up a neural connection between them and she revels in the sensation of touch that she feels on his legs. She gets the arm replacement and shares its sensation with her workmate. Soon after she replaces her other arm and the two begin to share the neural connection between them and their augments more and more, creating a very different sort of intimacy. I found this deeply fascinating. The intimacy between the leads isn't sexual (although I assume it would become so over time), and it's a distinctly science-fictional one with fascinating implications. The fantasies of the main character and the discussions of the limitations between them as well as the way that they both lean into a sort of sharing of ownership over their limbs and each other is great to read and think about. It's also a good exploration of the sort of characters that would embrace voluntary augmentation in the face of prejudice from their family and public. Quite brilliant. With All Souls Still Aboard | Premee Mohamed ★★★☆☆ A mother dealing with her young child is approached by a senior military man. He informs her that her husband, the man who died heroically while saving the Earth from an asteroid impact could be the subject of cloning, but only if she consents. She initially says no, but a medical episode where she nearly loses her son changes her mind. The plot isn't any more complicated than that, but the story is fleshed out by emotional impact of the mother both nearly losing her son and revisiting the grief for her husband in a new way, along with the guilt of all the people who won't get the opportunity to live again. From how they talk about it, there's no indication that the clone would have her husband's memories, so for me it's not much more interesting than the question of whether a frozen embryo should be brought to term if its parents have been killed. More Than Nine | Beth Cato ★★★☆☆ Aboard a spaceship a cat whose the forty-second iteration of a cloned original is nearing end of life. The pilot of the ship and her family have kept the line of cloned cats going for generations. When an alien comes aboard and steals the cat the pilot goes to rescue it, only to find it hooked up to technology that lets it talk to her. This is a very silly, but very cute story. Hands There is a Hand | Jane Yolen Short poem. The Shape of the Particle | Naomi Kritzer ★★★☆☆ This is barely SF, with just a nod to it being near future. A Scholar's Hall whose residents have formed into a communal family of around 40 people burns down and the college that hosts it doesn't want to rebuild while the group continues to host people who aren't producing scholarly work. The relevance to the anthology is the formation of the family with a recognition that many of its constituents are there because of their effect on the family, not on its output. For me that was a bit of a stretch, although I don't think there's anything wrong with the story. No Want to Spend | Sophie Giroir ★★★★☆ Ruby is an asexual in a society where sex is commodified and everywhere. I'm sure that lots of ace people would say that's what modern western society already is, but this is overt enough for even allosexual people to find oppressive. It's so oppressive that she's trying to get off-world where she imagines it would be better for her. This is a complex issue and this is only a short story; it's hard to see the resolution as something Ruby couldn't have worked out on her own, but even so, I quite liked it. Little Deaths and Missed Connections | Maria Dong ★★★☆☆ On a space-based penal station. the inmates are pumped full of drugs amid a rigid and regimented work/rest cycle that leaves almost no time for themselves. When one inmate starts receiving love letters from a secret admirer she creates a break in the only relationship that she actually has on board the station. I think the most powerful thing about this story isn't the romantic relationship, but the absolutely horrific situation that the characters find themselves in and consider normal. Sincerely Yours | Lyda Morehouse ★★★★☆ A woman with crippling social anxiety takes a job where she's the sole crew member of a remote outpost orbiting in Saturn's F-ring. After intercepting an odd message from Ceres she ends up in an old-fashioned text mode email exchange relationship with a fellow anime fan. This is a lovely story that respects social anxiety and doesn't treat it as a condition that needs to be overcome. Avril in this story has a very narrow bandwidth where she can engage in a relationship and the story is largely about the boundaries around that relationship. Photosynthesis, Growth | Devin Miller ★★★☆☆ The main character is in a relationship with a photosynth who can literally unfurl the skin from her torso to increase the surface area for photosynthesis, leaving her rib cage and internal organs open and visible. Only the main character is going away to university at a polar location where she can't follow. The story follows the growth of the main character from an essentially codependent relationship to one that's more balanced, without actually breaking the relationship. The SF element isn't actually relevant to the theme; you could write this without any SF elements at all. No Pain But That of Memory | Aimee Ogden ★★★☆☆ On a penal planet two siblings are in opposition both before and after a mind-controlling tyrant arrives. The story here is about the complexities of the relationship between the siblings, one of whom is a powerful psychokinetic and the other who's a mutated monster. Go Where the Heart Takes You | Anita Ensal ★★★★☆ Two women who have formed the heart of a successful plural marriage over decades take a trip from their native Ganymede to a space station in the belt to see the Jamboree, a week-long social festival. There they encounter a unique family and pitch in to sort out some issues. This was delightful. Two people with so much love to share meet some other people who desperately need it. Like a few other stories in this anthology, I think it could largely be done without needing the SF element, but I guess the plural marriage element and extended family is vaguely SF. Minds Mars Conquest | Jane Yolen Short poem. The Star-Crossed Horoscope for Interstellar Travelers | Fran Wilde ★★★☆☆ A tongue-in-cheek horoscope listing for people living in a space-based future, including new starsigns for people born in FTL transit and advice on reading horoscopes. There's a small romantic subplot in the horoscope listing with the compiler reaching out to someone. This was ok, but very slight. Canvas of Sins | Mercedes M. Yardley ★☆☆☆☆ I find the whole concept of sin-eaters to be abhorrent, and this leans into the reasons that I hate it. In this case, the sin-eater is treated as a thing until someone starts to care for her. The whole concept is repulsive and the ending takes it a step further. Does Ivo think Kel is going to be ok with what she did? If My Body is a Temple, Raze It to the Ground | Lauren Ring ★★★☆☆ A look at uploads and the way people in real life now treat people online as if they weren't people. Interesting line of thought here. It feels very prescient assuming uploading is ever viable. Perfectmate™ | Xander Odell ★★★★☆ A woman gets help from an AI to guide her dating profile and they have interesting conversations as the woman is forced to think about what she actually wants. This was a bit similar to the horoscope one, but I really liked it anyway. Etruscan Afterlife | Rosemary Claire Smith ★★★★☆ In a future where uploading is possible a lesbian couple struggle with the decision of whether to upload or not. One of them obsesses over the possibility that they might break up if they upload. This was sweet and covers an interesting line of thought around a fairly old SF idea. Our Savage Heart Calls to Itself (Across the Endless Tides) | Justina Robson ★★★☆☆ A distant future has sentient creatures of many different origins and designs who all think of themselves as human. While interesting, I didn't think it was as compelling as either of the editors thought it was.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Maurynne Maxwell

    I enjoyed all but 2 of the stories; those two were a bit on the downer side for me, so I’m glad the editors kept things on the there-will-be-a-future side. I didn’t mark the book down for that, because not all relationships go well, so it’s gotta be represented. All the stories made me stretch a little, and that’s usually what I prefer, especially in speculative fiction. Well done!

  3. 4 out of 5

    glitrbug

    Good book of short stories, and one longer one, with a great variety of characters.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jill

  5. 4 out of 5

    J. E. Huddlestun

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lira

  7. 5 out of 5

    Peggy

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

  9. 5 out of 5

    David

  10. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  11. 4 out of 5

    Roseanna Pendlebury

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ron Judenberg

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sandy Darst

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Butler

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Ross

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Baldwin

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jed

  19. 4 out of 5

    Megan

  20. 5 out of 5

    Schnaucl

  21. 5 out of 5

    Patti Short

  22. 4 out of 5

    Devin

  23. 5 out of 5

    Heather

  24. 5 out of 5

    ex star

  25. 4 out of 5

    Debra

  26. 4 out of 5

    R.S. Traylor

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Jean

  28. 5 out of 5

    h

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kbuxton

  30. 4 out of 5

    Terri

  31. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  32. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

  33. 5 out of 5

    Celestemcolon

  34. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

  35. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Downey

  36. 5 out of 5

    Julia Elizabeth

  37. 5 out of 5

    InJokeTaken

  38. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Bradshaw

  39. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  40. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  41. 4 out of 5

    Sunny

  42. 5 out of 5

    Susannah

  43. 4 out of 5

    Tori Broadus

  44. 5 out of 5

    Patti Short

  45. 5 out of 5

    Tintaglia

  46. 5 out of 5

    Nathanael

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