“It’s About Ethics in Revolution” by Kameron Hurley
Reviewed by Robyn Reagin
The editors of Terraform prefaced this week’s fiction by saying, in part, “…we are both baffled and depressed by the recent sabotage of the Hugo Awards ballot.” Author Kameron Hurley has won Hugos for Best Fan Writer and as well as Best Related Work for her essay “We Have Always Fought: Challenging the ‘Women, Cattle and Slaves’ Narrative” (well worth googling). Terraform is making a statement by publishing “It’s About Ethics in Revolution.”
Sorva, the protagonist, an employee of the Corporation, has identified as male since watching a female colleague get stripped bare by male employees and doused with beer. Now she has been summoned to headquarters for again submitting ineligible work for the yearly Business Development Award ballot. She appears before the Master Creative Guru and the Director of Business Development, both Caucasian males, while a woman in a maid’s uniform crawls around the office picking up their beer bottles. Sorva argues for a more diverse brand message, of other ways of governing, marrying, and conducting commerce. The Master Creative Guru assures her she can write about whatever she’d like, “There are a half dozen Christian denominations that are CEO-approved. There are over thirty-six incorporated states of the American Conglomerate which you could use as the setting for your work, across 150 years of approved history.”
There is more arguing, some involving a “banned” quote from the 20th century black writer and activist Audre Lorde, then Sorva reveals what else she has been working on—
I love a good speaking truth to power story but this one didn’t work for me. The male characters were too one-dimensional. The author let her agenda overpower her story.