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Silk & Steel

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There are many ways to be a heroine. Princess and swordswoman, lawyer and motorcyclist, scholar and barbarian: there are many ways to be a heroine. In this anthology, seventeen authors find new ways to pair one weapon-wielding woman and one whose strengths lie in softer skills. “Which is more powerful, the warrior or the gentlewoman?” these stories ask. And the answer is ine There are many ways to be a heroine. Princess and swordswoman, lawyer and motorcyclist, scholar and barbarian: there are many ways to be a heroine. In this anthology, seventeen authors find new ways to pair one weapon-wielding woman and one whose strengths lie in softer skills. “Which is more powerful, the warrior or the gentlewoman?” these stories ask. And the answer is inevitably, “Both, working together!” Herein, you’ll find duels and smugglers, dance battles and danger noodles, and even a new Swordspoint story! From big names and bold new voices, these stories are fun, clever, and always positive about the power of love. Contents: “Margo Lai’s Guide To Dueling Unprepared” by Alison Tam “Princess, Shieldmaiden, Witch and Wolf” by Neon Yang “Elinor Jones vs. the Ruritanian Multiverse” by Freya Marske “Plan Z” by Django Wexler “Little Birds” by Cara Patterson "Positively Medieval" by Kaitlyn Zivanovich “Book and Hammer, Blade and Bone” by Ann LeBlanc “What Finds You in the Deep” by K.A. Doore “The Sweet Tooth of Angwar Bec” by Ellen Kushner “Danger Noodle” by S.K. Terentiev “Chicago Iron” by Chris Wolfgang “In the Salt Crypts of Ghiarelle” by Jennifer Mace “The City Unbreachable” by Yoon Ha Lee “The Commander and the Mirage Master’s Mate” by Elaine McIonyn “The Epic Fifth Wedding Anniversary of Zaynne The Barbarian and Tikka the Accountant ” by Elizabeth Davis “The Parnassian Courante” by Claire Bartlett “The Scholar of the Bamboo Flute” by Aliette de Bodard


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There are many ways to be a heroine. Princess and swordswoman, lawyer and motorcyclist, scholar and barbarian: there are many ways to be a heroine. In this anthology, seventeen authors find new ways to pair one weapon-wielding woman and one whose strengths lie in softer skills. “Which is more powerful, the warrior or the gentlewoman?” these stories ask. And the answer is ine There are many ways to be a heroine. Princess and swordswoman, lawyer and motorcyclist, scholar and barbarian: there are many ways to be a heroine. In this anthology, seventeen authors find new ways to pair one weapon-wielding woman and one whose strengths lie in softer skills. “Which is more powerful, the warrior or the gentlewoman?” these stories ask. And the answer is inevitably, “Both, working together!” Herein, you’ll find duels and smugglers, dance battles and danger noodles, and even a new Swordspoint story! From big names and bold new voices, these stories are fun, clever, and always positive about the power of love. Contents: “Margo Lai’s Guide To Dueling Unprepared” by Alison Tam “Princess, Shieldmaiden, Witch and Wolf” by Neon Yang “Elinor Jones vs. the Ruritanian Multiverse” by Freya Marske “Plan Z” by Django Wexler “Little Birds” by Cara Patterson "Positively Medieval" by Kaitlyn Zivanovich “Book and Hammer, Blade and Bone” by Ann LeBlanc “What Finds You in the Deep” by K.A. Doore “The Sweet Tooth of Angwar Bec” by Ellen Kushner “Danger Noodle” by S.K. Terentiev “Chicago Iron” by Chris Wolfgang “In the Salt Crypts of Ghiarelle” by Jennifer Mace “The City Unbreachable” by Yoon Ha Lee “The Commander and the Mirage Master’s Mate” by Elaine McIonyn “The Epic Fifth Wedding Anniversary of Zaynne The Barbarian and Tikka the Accountant ” by Elizabeth Davis “The Parnassian Courante” by Claire Bartlett “The Scholar of the Bamboo Flute” by Aliette de Bodard

30 review for Silk & Steel

  1. 4 out of 5

    charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)

    (3.5) the ones i liked most were mostly shoved in at the start, so i guess it felt a little like it petered out, but still a solid anthology. * = fave Rep: wlw mcs *margo lai's guide for duelling unprepared by alison tam - 4☆ Rep: Chinese mc, Indonesian mc princess, shieldmaiden, witch, and wolf by neon yang - 3☆ Rep: trans mcs CWs: transphobia elinor jones vs the ruritanian multiverse by freya marske - 3☆ *plan z by django wexler - 4☆ little birds by cara patterson - 3☆ Rep: Turkish cast & setting positive (3.5) the ones i liked most were mostly shoved in at the start, so i guess it felt a little like it petered out, but still a solid anthology. * = fave Rep: wlw mcs *margo lai's guide for duelling unprepared by alison tam - 4☆ Rep: Chinese mc, Indonesian mc princess, shieldmaiden, witch, and wolf by neon yang - 3☆ Rep: trans mcs CWs: transphobia elinor jones vs the ruritanian multiverse by freya marske - 3☆ *plan z by django wexler - 4☆ little birds by cara patterson - 3☆ Rep: Turkish cast & setting positively medieval by kaitlyn zivanovich - 2.5☆ *book and hammer, blade and bone by ann leblanc - 3.5☆ *what finds you in the deep by k.a. doore - 4.5☆ the sweet tooth of angwar bec by ellen kushner - 3☆ danger noodle by s.k. terentiev - 3☆ chicago iron by chris wolfgang - 3☆ in the salt crypts of ghiarelle by jennifer mace - 2☆ *the city unbreachable by yoon ha lee - 4☆ Rep: nonbinary side characters the commander and the mirage master's mate by elaine mcionyn - 2☆ the epic fifth wedding anniversary of zaynne the barbarian and tikka the accountant by elizabeth davis - 1.5☆ the parnassian courante by claire eliza bartlett - 2☆ CWs: lesbophobia *the scholar of the bamboo flute by aliette de bodard - 4☆ Rep: Vietnamese characters

  2. 4 out of 5

    June

    This is a f/f anthology that I've really been looking forward to for months! I'm a little less into fantasy & science fiction than a few months ago, and I've decided not to push myself, so for now I've only read the more light-hearted stories of the anthology, with a straightforward kind of writing. But I might come back later for the others! Positively Medieval, by Kaitlyn Zivanovich, featuring Troll/Human culture clash, a very intimidating but "pacifist" Troll, a dystopia complete with lockdown This is a f/f anthology that I've really been looking forward to for months! I'm a little less into fantasy & science fiction than a few months ago, and I've decided not to push myself, so for now I've only read the more light-hearted stories of the anthology, with a straightforward kind of writing. But I might come back later for the others! Positively Medieval, by Kaitlyn Zivanovich, featuring Troll/Human culture clash, a very intimidating but "pacifist" Troll, a dystopia complete with lockdown and people-rating apps, bike chases, Tolkien references, and body image issues Danger Noodle, by S.K. Terentiev, featuring an epic battle to the sound of Bohemian Rhapsody, relationship anniversaries, an academic who would like to capture the beast alive For Science, and monsters that get charming names (see title) The Commander and the Mirage Master's Mate, by Elaine McIonyn, featuring cool aether- and optics- based magic, disagreements with someone in the hierarchy, and risky teleportations And, in all of them, of course, romance...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sadie Slater

    Silk and Steel, edited by Janine A. Southard, is an anthology of f/f SFF stories with a focus on pairings between swordswomen (or other warriors) and princesses (or other high femme characters). It was funded by a Kickstarter, which I backed because it sounded very much like my sort of thing, and the authors to be featured included Ellen Kushner and Yoon Ha Lee, both of whom I like very much. Like all anthologies, I liked some of the stories much more than others, but of the seventeen stories in Silk and Steel, edited by Janine A. Southard, is an anthology of f/f SFF stories with a focus on pairings between swordswomen (or other warriors) and princesses (or other high femme characters). It was funded by a Kickstarter, which I backed because it sounded very much like my sort of thing, and the authors to be featured included Ellen Kushner and Yoon Ha Lee, both of whom I like very much. Like all anthologies, I liked some of the stories much more than others, but of the seventeen stories in this anthology, there were only two that I really didn't like, and a couple of others that I thought were just OK. I liked Kushner's 'The Sweet Tooth of Angwar Bec', set in her Riverside universe and taking place shortly after The Privilege of the Sword, and Lee's standalone hexarchate story 'The City Unbreachable' very much indeed. Other favourites included Aliette de Bodard's 'The Scholar of the Bamboo Flute', which is apparently a Vietnamese take on Revolutionary Girl Utena - I'm not familiar with Utena but enjoyed the story nonetheless thought it felt like a #MeToo story and a critique of academic preferment, as well as an engaging fantasy romance; Freya Marske's parallel-universe Ruritanian caper; Kaitlyn Zivanovich's 'Positively Medieval', a cyberpunky romance between a pacifist Troll scholar and a motorcycle courier; Alison Tam's 'Margo Lai's Guide To Duelling Unprepared', a wuxia-type story featuring best friends who can't quite admit that they're in love with each other; and Chris Wolfgang's atmospheric 'Chicago Iron', set in Prohibition-era America. I've been struggling to read due to [waves hands] All This; I tried non-fiction to see if that would be easier than trying to commit to a novel, but I really missed fiction, and this absolutely hit the spot, giving me the escape into fantasy I was craving without requiring too much commitment from my frazzled brain.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bentgaidin

    'Silk & Steel' is a really fun anthology, themed around themed around pairs of warrior women and society ladies, and they've got a bunch of fun stories around them discovering each other, falling in love, having adventures, or any combination of the three. Of special note, I particularly enjoyed 'Book and Hammer, Blade and Bone' by Ann LeBlanc (featuring an afterlife library); 'Margo Lai's Guide to Dueling Unprepared' by Alison Tam (just delightful friendship turning into something more); 'Elino 'Silk & Steel' is a really fun anthology, themed around themed around pairs of warrior women and society ladies, and they've got a bunch of fun stories around them discovering each other, falling in love, having adventures, or any combination of the three. Of special note, I particularly enjoyed 'Book and Hammer, Blade and Bone' by Ann LeBlanc (featuring an afterlife library); 'Margo Lai's Guide to Dueling Unprepared' by Alison Tam (just delightful friendship turning into something more); 'Elinor Jones vs. the Ruritanian Multiverse' by Freya Marske (portal fantasy romance with a twist); and 'The Scholar of the Bamboo Flute' by Aliette de Bodard (a Vietnamese take on the Utena story) -- and there's at least twice as many more stories in here to enjoy. If you need some good fun quick reads, I can't recommend this enough.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tamara

    not rating it because i find it very hard to rate a short story collection. loved a lot of the stories and some just weren't my cup of tea but overall it's a very lovely collection of sapphic stories not rating it because i find it very hard to rate a short story collection. loved a lot of the stories and some just weren't my cup of tea but overall it's a very lovely collection of sapphic stories

  6. 4 out of 5

    Greymalkin

    Silk and Steel: A Queer Speculative Adventure Anthology is a very long title for a delightful cotton-candy read! I enjoyed every story, which is rare for anthology, and there are so many that I wish were full novellas or novels (I'd absolutely read more "Danger Noodle" by S.K. Terentiev, "Book and Hammer, Blade and Bone" by Ann LeBlanc, and "The Commander and the Mirage Master's Mate" by Elaine McIonyn). If Elizabeth Davis' "The Epic Fifth Wedding Anniversary of Zaynne the Barbarian and Tikka the Silk and Steel: A Queer Speculative Adventure Anthology is a very long title for a delightful cotton-candy read! I enjoyed every story, which is rare for anthology, and there are so many that I wish were full novellas or novels (I'd absolutely read more "Danger Noodle" by S.K. Terentiev, "Book and Hammer, Blade and Bone" by Ann LeBlanc, and "The Commander and the Mirage Master's Mate" by Elaine McIonyn). If Elizabeth Davis' "The Epic Fifth Wedding Anniversary of Zaynne the Barbarian and Tikka the Accountant" doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will. I kickstarted the campaign because the idea was so awesome, and it has delivered in spades. If you would like a book full of joyful f/f "high femme & swordswoman" romance ranging from high fantasy to chicago bootlegging to food-obsessed librarians to space pirates to mystical music battles, then this is for you.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Isa

    This was a wonderfully fun collection of sapphic stories. The stories range from silly to a few more difficult topics but they are all ultimately happy and hopeful. It is just so satisfying to read stories of princesses/ladies/scholars and knights/guards/warriors who each exhibit different but complimentary strengths. I am very happy to have backed this on Kickstarter. It turned out to be everything I could have hoped for. Some of my favorite stories are “Princess, Shieldmaiden, Witch, and Wolf” This was a wonderfully fun collection of sapphic stories. The stories range from silly to a few more difficult topics but they are all ultimately happy and hopeful. It is just so satisfying to read stories of princesses/ladies/scholars and knights/guards/warriors who each exhibit different but complimentary strengths. I am very happy to have backed this on Kickstarter. It turned out to be everything I could have hoped for. Some of my favorite stories are “Princess, Shieldmaiden, Witch, and Wolf” by Neon Yang, “The City Unbreachable” by Yoon Ha Lee, “The Parnassian Courante” by Claire Bartlett, and “The Scholar of the Bamboo Flute” by Aliette de Bodard.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Krueger

    This landed by surprise in my Kindle, because I had honestly forgotten that I’d preordered this when I missed out on the Kickstarter. Best surprise to myself ever. I went through this a few stories a night, and honestly, the sheer range of subjects is a treat in and of itself. This ranges from far future fantasy to monster hunters to magic navy to full court finery to horror, and they’re all great. But the standout for me is the story that ends the anthology, Aliette de Bodard’s “Scholar of the This landed by surprise in my Kindle, because I had honestly forgotten that I’d preordered this when I missed out on the Kickstarter. Best surprise to myself ever. I went through this a few stories a night, and honestly, the sheer range of subjects is a treat in and of itself. This ranges from far future fantasy to monster hunters to magic navy to full court finery to horror, and they’re all great. But the standout for me is the story that ends the anthology, Aliette de Bodard’s “Scholar of the Bamboo Flute”, which is a Vietnamese take on Revolutionary Girl Utena, and is a jolt of pure joy in how she translates it culturally and how she writes it. Go get it if only for that final story, it’s worth the price of admission alone.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Eliza

    So this was a fun read. I liked all the short stories, though some I thought worked better than others - and I really liked all the cute couples involved! I think my main gripe with this book is that short stories often miss out on explanation of background and things, which makes them slightly confusing at times, and I wish some of these had been full-length novels. That being said, for what it was, it was a fun few days with this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Highlights for worldbuilding, craft, etc: "Book and Hammer, Blade and Bone," Ann LeBlanc; "In the Salt Crypts of Ghiarelle," Jennifer Mace; "The City Unbreachable," Yoon Ha Lee Highlights for sheer gay chemistry: "Positively Medieval," Kaitlin Zivanovich; "The Sweet Tooth of Angwar Bec," Ellen Kushner; "Chicago Iron," Chris Wolfgang Highlight for all of the above: "The Scholar of the Bamboo Flute," Aliette de Bodard Highlights for worldbuilding, craft, etc: "Book and Hammer, Blade and Bone," Ann LeBlanc; "In the Salt Crypts of Ghiarelle," Jennifer Mace; "The City Unbreachable," Yoon Ha Lee Highlights for sheer gay chemistry: "Positively Medieval," Kaitlin Zivanovich; "The Sweet Tooth of Angwar Bec," Ellen Kushner; "Chicago Iron," Chris Wolfgang Highlight for all of the above: "The Scholar of the Bamboo Flute," Aliette de Bodard

  11. 4 out of 5

    Miri

    I expected to love this (I mean) and wasn't disappointed & have also added to my already long list of authors to recommend to my library I expected to love this (I mean) and wasn't disappointed & have also added to my already long list of authors to recommend to my library

  12. 5 out of 5

    Maurynne Maxwell

    I’ve been reading over several days in between novels. Luckily I got money for Christmas and could buy the physical book. Fully stands up to any of the Sword & Sorceress anthologies, and better because all f/f love stories. Find a new author whose other work you’re interested in!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Vee

    Just came back to check the release date on this and the cover has been updated! Please say this is the final cover and that there is going to be a physical version? 🙏🏼🙏🏼

  14. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    Adding this pretty much solely for the fact that it includes a story based on Utena 👀

  15. 5 out of 5

    sillypunk

    very adorable: https://blogendorff.com/category/book... very adorable: https://blogendorff.com/category/book...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    This was a lovely collection to read. I'm glad I contributed to the Kickstarter to make this happen. This was a lovely collection to read. I'm glad I contributed to the Kickstarter to make this happen.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Saamoxi Smith

    I couldn't put this book down. This book is absolutely amazing. I couldn't put this book down. This book is absolutely amazing.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Noble Wildwood

    there wasn't a single story in this anthology I didn't love! there wasn't a single story in this anthology I didn't love!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Esther O. Lee

  20. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Ryan-smith

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

  22. 5 out of 5

    jennet wheatstonelllsl

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dom

  24. 5 out of 5

    shrug city

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  26. 4 out of 5

    Becky

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alan

  28. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  29. 5 out of 5

    Vae

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kahlia

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