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Biketopia: Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction Stories in Extreme Futures

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In a world with an uncertain future, do you imagine for the best or for the worst case scenario? Twelve writers tackle extreme utopias and dystopias--and the grey areas in between--in Biketopia, the fourth volume of the Bikes in Space series of feminist science fiction stories about bicycling. Some find love and fierce resistance in the end times; others imagine an ecologi In a world with an uncertain future, do you imagine for the best or for the worst case scenario? Twelve writers tackle extreme utopias and dystopias--and the grey areas in between--in Biketopia, the fourth volume of the Bikes in Space series of feminist science fiction stories about bicycling. Some find love and fierce resistance in the end times; others imagine an ecological future of saving technology, with solarpunk ecotopian visions, at times paired with crushing social control. Whatever your own future or present reality, these stories will motivate and inspire you to envision something different... and maybe even better. The fourth volume of the Bikes in Space series of feminist science fiction stories about bicycling. Some find love and fierce resistance in the end times; others imagine an ecological future of saving technology, with solarpunk ecotopian visions, at times paired with crushing social control. Whatever your own future or present reality, these stories will motivate and inspire you to envision something different... and maybe even better.


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In a world with an uncertain future, do you imagine for the best or for the worst case scenario? Twelve writers tackle extreme utopias and dystopias--and the grey areas in between--in Biketopia, the fourth volume of the Bikes in Space series of feminist science fiction stories about bicycling. Some find love and fierce resistance in the end times; others imagine an ecologi In a world with an uncertain future, do you imagine for the best or for the worst case scenario? Twelve writers tackle extreme utopias and dystopias--and the grey areas in between--in Biketopia, the fourth volume of the Bikes in Space series of feminist science fiction stories about bicycling. Some find love and fierce resistance in the end times; others imagine an ecological future of saving technology, with solarpunk ecotopian visions, at times paired with crushing social control. Whatever your own future or present reality, these stories will motivate and inspire you to envision something different... and maybe even better. The fourth volume of the Bikes in Space series of feminist science fiction stories about bicycling. Some find love and fierce resistance in the end times; others imagine an ecological future of saving technology, with solarpunk ecotopian visions, at times paired with crushing social control. Whatever your own future or present reality, these stories will motivate and inspire you to envision something different... and maybe even better.

30 review for Biketopia: Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction Stories in Extreme Futures

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    I found ‘Biketopia’ in the pop-up bookshop at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. When I saw it I had the delightful, unaccustomed sensation of being pandered to. Dystopias, feminism, and bicycles are three of my favourite things. Indeed, I am often disappointed by the lack of cycling in postapocalyptic novels - it’s definitely how I plan to get around when civilisation falls over. Clearly I could not resist this charming little book, which lived up to its promise. The stories are set a b I found ‘Biketopia’ in the pop-up bookshop at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. When I saw it I had the delightful, unaccustomed sensation of being pandered to. Dystopias, feminism, and bicycles are three of my favourite things. Indeed, I am often disappointed by the lack of cycling in postapocalyptic novels - it’s definitely how I plan to get around when civilisation falls over. Clearly I could not resist this charming little book, which lived up to its promise. The stories are set a broad and interesting selection of worlds, in which women work together, resist tyranny, and ride bikes. My favourites were ‘Signal Lost’, a very plausible vision of over-intrusive health monitoring, ‘Shelter’, a misogynist dystopia that recalls The Handmaid's Tale, and ‘Portlandtown’, in which men have died out and woman live in micronations. Other stories featured zombies, pandemics, and a neat ten page Hunger-Games-as-bike-race pastiche. ‘Fast Learner’ seemed like the weakest of the bunch, although that’s a matter of taste rather than it being poorly written. All the stories have an interesting central conceit and together they were a real treat. I liked the choice to end on a light note, with the rehabilitation of feral bikes and a sprinkling of book and TV reviews. What a great idea for a story collection.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Geoff

    I have to admit that I got this book from the library mostly because of the off beat nature of the anthology - utopian and dystopian bicycle stories! Third in the "bikes in space" series! published (of course) in Portland! - but I ended up enjoying it. The good stories (particularly one about the insidious controlling nature of coporate-connected fitness tracking applied to pregnancy) were wonderful and the less good stories were at least fun. Bicycles consistently were used as a metaphor for pe I have to admit that I got this book from the library mostly because of the off beat nature of the anthology - utopian and dystopian bicycle stories! Third in the "bikes in space" series! published (of course) in Portland! - but I ended up enjoying it. The good stories (particularly one about the insidious controlling nature of coporate-connected fitness tracking applied to pregnancy) were wonderful and the less good stories were at least fun. Bicycles consistently were used as a metaphor for personal freedom, allowing characters to get to where they need to be under their own power. hopeful thought, that.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Eleanor Blair

    Short stories are great when you don't feel you have enough attention span for a whole novel - and as soon as I saw this compilation existed I had to buy it. Science Fiction, Feminism, Bicycles: it's almost like it was made just for me. Some of the stories resonated with me, others less so, some felt a bit dated but others completely fresh and new. And I particularly liked the closing tale of bikes fished from Amsterdam's canals. The reviews at the end were the most mediocre part of the book: bu Short stories are great when you don't feel you have enough attention span for a whole novel - and as soon as I saw this compilation existed I had to buy it. Science Fiction, Feminism, Bicycles: it's almost like it was made just for me. Some of the stories resonated with me, others less so, some felt a bit dated but others completely fresh and new. And I particularly liked the closing tale of bikes fished from Amsterdam's canals. The reviews at the end were the most mediocre part of the book: but find that this is in fact only one of s series of volumes has me thinking of looking out the others too. Thank you Elly Blue

  4. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Mixed bag of short stories. Some stories were especially good, one in particular would make for a decent Black Mirror episode [“Lost Signal”], but others didn’t catch me. Edition I read could use some editing [missing words, spelling errors]. Fun little collection though!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rae

    A solid anthology of great variety. I especially enjoyed ‘Fast Learner’ by Kris Rose, in which the wife of an abusive bass player finds a novel way to survive a plague, and ‘Signal Lost’ by Gretchin Lair, which explores the unwanted (and asymmetric) effects of even opt-in surveillance. Really, though, this was a book full of treats. I hope to read the other collections in the series.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Favorites in this collection were Signal Lost, Shelter, Questions With the First, and Maaike's Aquatic Center for Bicycles Raised by Fishes. Favorites in this collection were Signal Lost, Shelter, Questions With the First, and Maaike's Aquatic Center for Bicycles Raised by Fishes.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Danika at The Lesbrary

    This was fun! I don't feel like any of the stories are really going to stick with me, but it's a cool premise and an amazing cover, and I did enjoy reading it. This was fun! I don't feel like any of the stories are really going to stick with me, but it's a cool premise and an amazing cover, and I did enjoy reading it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Ford

    Where do I even begin with this one? Honestly, though. I haven't reviewed a short story collection on here before, and I'm not sure where to start.  How about some backstory? Biketopia: Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction Stories in Extreme Futures seems, at first glance, an incredibly niche genre to be writing for. In some ways, that's true. Who else would think of dealing solely with bicycles in dystopian futures?  I won this book from a GoodReads contest (the first one I entered, actually!), and wa Where do I even begin with this one? Honestly, though. I haven't reviewed a short story collection on here before, and I'm not sure where to start.  How about some backstory? Biketopia: Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction Stories in Extreme Futures seems, at first glance, an incredibly niche genre to be writing for. In some ways, that's true. Who else would think of dealing solely with bicycles in dystopian futures?  I won this book from a GoodReads contest (the first one I entered, actually!), and was super excited to get it in the mail. The book came packaged with a short comic about the history of the publisher, Microcosm Press, and how it's flourished over the years, despite big publishers attempting to shut down indie publishers. I thought it was a very neat comic, and also a very neat way to distribute the press's catalogue of items.  Upon researching Biketopia further,  found that it was started on Kickstarter! I'm glad they met their crowdfunding goals. This is also the third short story collection about bicycles in space that the publisher has published, so kudos to them for finding enough people that enjoy bicycles this much! Now on to the actual review. This volume is very small, and regulates an average of eight pages per short story. Some are shorter, and some are much longer, but the average number of pages seems to be about eight. There are eleven short stories in this book. As with most short story collections, some are great, some are meh, and one are two are just...bad. I am not going to call out specific stories for what they are, because I believe a collection like this needs to be experienced in its entirety. I will say the book suffers from being rushed. A lot of the stories have the potential to be really great, but they're strangled by the page or word limits that were imposed on them. Many of these could have been full-length novels by themselves. Eight pages (or even twelve pages) is not enough room for the majority of people to set up a dystopian society, explain the rules of the society, and explain why people are rebelling against it. I mean, The Hunger Games took three books to do so. The Uglies series has four (really long) books involved in overthrowing the seeming utopia.  I will say I've never read a collection of short stories centered around bicycles. I'll also that for at least two of these stories, the bicycles seemed to be an afterthought. "Oh, wait, I've gotta put a bicycle in here somewhere!" Luckily, that's not the case for the majority of them.  I think my favorite story in this book is the last story, "Maaike's Aquatic Center for Bicycles Raised by Fishes." It's got a unique premise behind it, and the way it's written makes me wish it was longer. It's one of the shorter stories in the book at around four pages or so.  The most surprising thing to me is that reviews of other books as well as television shows at the end of the collection (all of which contain bicycles, of course). It doesn't feel like an afterthought, which is nice.  If you're looking to purchase this book, go to Microcosm's page. I'm all about supporting small, indie presses. I'm probably going to end up buying several other books from Microcosm, because they seemed really interesting in the catalogue I received with my book shipment.  In short, I'd give this collection a 3.5/5 stars. If you're really into dystopian fiction, and/or if you're a lover of bicycles, then this is the short story collection for you. I don't know how much the word "feminist" in the title plays in, because while there is some empowerment throughout a few of the stories, at some points it seems to be just shoved in randomly as well. If you're into the genre, don't pass it up. Otherwise, I'd say rent this one from the library. Series: Bikes in Space Paperback: 128 pages Publisher: Elly Blue Publishing (August 8, 2017) ISBN-13: 978-1621062066 As always, keep reading.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cas

    (True average was 3.6, but the reading experience overall was more of a 4 anyway) Picked this up at AWP after juggling between multiple Elly Blue speculative bike-themed anthologies, and ultimately going with a cover buy. I like yellow! It ended up being a good choice, and I’m going to be looking out for many of these authors, as well as for more Microcosm anthologies and publications. (Many of these stories are very short, so I’ll try to keep descriptions vague.) “Riding in Place” by Sarena Uliba (True average was 3.6, but the reading experience overall was more of a 4 anyway) Picked this up at AWP after juggling between multiple Elly Blue speculative bike-themed anthologies, and ultimately going with a cover buy. I like yellow! It ended up being a good choice, and I’m going to be looking out for many of these authors, as well as for more Microcosm anthologies and publications. (Many of these stories are very short, so I’ll try to keep descriptions vague.) “Riding in Place” by Sarena Ulibarri (3/5) Collette has been drafted to the asteroid mines, and is counting down the days to return to earth when she meets an AI worker on the stationary bikes. Interesting, if conventional. I was more interested in the briefly-discussed Sisters of the Sun cult than the actual emotional-robot storyline. “Taming the Beast” by Robert Bose (2.5/5) In 2046, Ishani is given a government-sanctioned smart bicycle to replace his antiquated car. I could not deal with the idea that, in 20 years, we would all be saying “fark” instead of fuck. I like the bike gang though. “Meet-cute” by Maddy Spencer A comic strip! No dialogue, truly just a meet-cute. Liked the art, not going to try to rate it. “Signal Lost” by Gretchen Lair (4.5/5) The story opens with Tara receiving a push notification that she’s pregnant, and just gets weirder from there. I get overwhelmed thinking about data privacy at least weekly, and this was a really interesting take on it— as well as on the expectations and pressures of perfection put on mothers. “Portlandtown” by Elly Blue (2.5/5) There’s a matriarchy and entirely too many characters. “Fast Learner” by Kris Rose (4.5/5) This one follows Missy learning some difficult truths about her marriage as a mysterious plague overcomes the human race. The resolution of this was so ridiculous and delightful. “Day 3658” by Dylan Siegler (3.5/5) Zacky, Ashley, and Mandy are on the run from both the zombie apocalypse and dangerous military run “sanctuaries”. Omelas-esque, but much more fun. “Shelter” by Cynthia Marts (5/5) Donna is at risk of losing everything after her brother and guardian’s death in an extremely restrictive dystopia, and finds some solace in a support group. God, I love this one. “Questions With the First” by Jim Warrenfeltz (4/5) This is a transcript of an interview with the leader (or “first among equals”) of the People’s Republic of Real America. Really interesting, and also made me indirectly excited for the upcoming Hunger Games prequel. “The Future of Flirtation” by Leigh Ward-Smith (2.5/5) Mika meets a mysterious stranger at the diner where she works. It’s weird! Also, not enough about bikes. “Maaike’s Aquatic Center for Bicycles Raised by Fishes” (4/5) It’s all in the title. Cute! The book concludes with book and television reviews that all relate back to bicycles somehow. Sure, I guess.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Amy Lyden

    When my friend gave this to me for the holiday I was estatic! I couldn’t have dreamed of a more appropriate book gift - bicycles, feminism, and dystopian/utopian! And in short stories - a personal favorite. The collection was enjoyable - I didn’t know that I was missing bicycles in my alternative futures. I particularly enjoyed “Signal Lost” which explores the impact of biosensors on pregnancy and insurance, and had an interesting dynamic in the relationship presented. It also seemed very simila When my friend gave this to me for the holiday I was estatic! I couldn’t have dreamed of a more appropriate book gift - bicycles, feminism, and dystopian/utopian! And in short stories - a personal favorite. The collection was enjoyable - I didn’t know that I was missing bicycles in my alternative futures. I particularly enjoyed “Signal Lost” which explores the impact of biosensors on pregnancy and insurance, and had an interesting dynamic in the relationship presented. It also seemed very similar to present day, making it even more realistic/frightening. The writing was a bit amateur and a couple of the stories were misses in terms of concept or were too short and lacked resolution. I felt like for a few of them, the intro could have been a bit longer to draw you into the world, as I had to reread the first few paragraphs several times to understand the world building. The book and television reviews at the end were also a nice touch. I’ll be following up to check out a few of them. All in all, a quick, fun and well-suited read. Glad I read and would recommend to like minded individuals.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Margeaux

    Some of the short stories were good and it would have been interesting to see where the characters would have gone if there was a longer format for the authors to work with. However, there was an equal number of stories that didn't feel like they needed to be told. These are meant to be a collection of feminist stories and I think that most of them accomplished that, but a few seemed to already have a clear story and the author threw in a woman or other reference to make it fit. I think that hav Some of the short stories were good and it would have been interesting to see where the characters would have gone if there was a longer format for the authors to work with. However, there was an equal number of stories that didn't feel like they needed to be told. These are meant to be a collection of feminist stories and I think that most of them accomplished that, but a few seemed to already have a clear story and the author threw in a woman or other reference to make it fit. I think that having each of these stories involve feminism, bicycles, and a future utopia/dystopia was a lot of boxes to check in a small format. A few also had pour world-building or too much future jargon that pulled me out of the story.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Saunders

    What's not to love about Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction? This collection of short stories is creative and entertaining. Some of the stories left me wanting more. In particular - "Questions with the First" left me not really knowing what was going on or why. It created an interesting atmosphere, but left me hanging. But overall the stories were interesting and stoked my imagination. My two favorite stories of this collection were "Signal Lost" - which felt like a frighteningly possible scenario What's not to love about Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction? This collection of short stories is creative and entertaining. Some of the stories left me wanting more. In particular - "Questions with the First" left me not really knowing what was going on or why. It created an interesting atmosphere, but left me hanging. But overall the stories were interesting and stoked my imagination. My two favorite stories of this collection were "Signal Lost" - which felt like a frighteningly possible scenario in the not to distant future, and "Maaike's Aquatic Center for Bicycles Raised by Fishes" was just sweet and delightful. Both epitomize to me the value of this series. I'm a huge fan of the Bikes in Space series. Totally worth the read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Beulah

    Bikes + Sci-Fi + Feminism = my sweet spot and this fun, thoughtful anthology delivers exactly what it promises. Which was a pleasant surprise as I usually skip over at least a few stories in an anthology, and any "theme" is usually ignored by half the contributors. Biketopia is everything I could have asked for. They've got bikes in space, sentient bikes, aquatic bikes, bikes as dystopian currency, bikes as futuristic status symbols. A lot of the stories address the idea of bikes as a way to eman Bikes + Sci-Fi + Feminism = my sweet spot and this fun, thoughtful anthology delivers exactly what it promises. Which was a pleasant surprise as I usually skip over at least a few stories in an anthology, and any "theme" is usually ignored by half the contributors. Biketopia is everything I could have asked for. They've got bikes in space, sentient bikes, aquatic bikes, bikes as dystopian currency, bikes as futuristic status symbols. A lot of the stories address the idea of bikes as a way to emancipate women, particularly in societies where women's freedoms are restricted. And there's even a series of book reviews at the end, all of which have made it onto my tbr list.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Allie

    This book had me from the cover! Also, anything with the subtitle “feminist bicycle sci-fi stories” is going to intrigue me, and luckily this did not disappoint. These were fun, quick stories, all with some biking element and all thought provoking in terms of caring for the environment and being cautious of where we are heading as a society. I really enjoyed this, and it will stay with me for a while.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    Biketopia is another anthology put together and edited by Elly Blue - this time, the stories feature dystopian futures, and also feminist protagonists and, of course, bicycles. It's fun, interesting, and very varied. I very much enjoyed nearly all of the stories, and would definitely recommend this series to anyone who enjoys female-led sci-fi and fantasy. Biketopia is another anthology put together and edited by Elly Blue - this time, the stories feature dystopian futures, and also feminist protagonists and, of course, bicycles. It's fun, interesting, and very varied. I very much enjoyed nearly all of the stories, and would definitely recommend this series to anyone who enjoys female-led sci-fi and fantasy.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Love the concept, but the execution was disappointing. The writing by men in this was uniformly weak and I’m honestly baffled as to why any male authors would be included in a feminist anthology of this type. Seems like a missed opportunity to hear from more women with a passion for science fiction and/or bicycles.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Candace

    Some of the stories were great and some of them were under developed. I often find that many short stories are just under developed longer stories. However, this book hit my soft spot of bikes and science fiction.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kt

    A couple of the stories I liked. Most were “meh.” One sounded like something I might have written when I was in college, which isn’t really a compliment. But a decent little book to read little bits of before dropping off to sleep.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Niffer

    I enjoyed most of the stories in this collection. There were a few stories I didn't care for where the plot was a little weak, but overall the ones I enjoyed more than made up for the others. I will have to search out other books in this series. I enjoyed most of the stories in this collection. There were a few stories I didn't care for where the plot was a little weak, but overall the ones I enjoyed more than made up for the others. I will have to search out other books in this series.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    Love it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    An enjoyable collection--other than my finding most works dystopian (so, farther away from utopian or hopeful).

  22. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Olsen

    liked Riding in Place - let the AI experience human life and Shelter - where women are treated as second class like fundamentalist societies It was ok

  23. 5 out of 5

    Antislice

    An interesting variety of dystopias - some were quite dark. The quality of writing was a bit uneven but I enjoyed the theme enough to keep going.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Krayfish1

    It is what it says in the title. Mostly dystopian hellscapes, so be ready for that.

  25. 4 out of 5

    SHARI

    Highly recommend this book!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Meg Savage

    Exactly what I expected. Read for the Open Books Challenge: anthology. The story about the soda pop robot made me laugh out loud, and I enjoyed the reviews at the end. But that’s it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Myrna

    Really well done.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Charolette

    Elly Blue has created a great novel, and developed a storyline that was incredibly intriguing.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Rix

    An interesting and enjoyable collection of short stories set in different, intriguing, near-future worlds, with the bicycle playing an integral part in each story.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dylan Baldwin-Delaney

    Feminist bicycle sci fi sounds like a Portlandia skit (especially since the editor's story is called Portlandtown), but for the most part Biketopia was pretty good. "Signal Lost" by Gretchen Lair and "Shelter" by Cynthia Marts were quite well done and set in a sadly believable future, and I'm a sucker for punk rock settings, so I liked "Fast Learner" by Kris Rose a lot (despite it's anti-bassist leanings). The other stories wavered, but this quick read was worth it for the aforementioned stories Feminist bicycle sci fi sounds like a Portlandia skit (especially since the editor's story is called Portlandtown), but for the most part Biketopia was pretty good. "Signal Lost" by Gretchen Lair and "Shelter" by Cynthia Marts were quite well done and set in a sadly believable future, and I'm a sucker for punk rock settings, so I liked "Fast Learner" by Kris Rose a lot (despite it's anti-bassist leanings). The other stories wavered, but this quick read was worth it for the aforementioned stories alone.

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