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REVIEW: The Cyborg Anthology – Lindsay B-e

The Cyborg Anthology

Genre: Sci-Fi, Poetry

LGBTQ+ Category: Multiple

Reviewer: Scott

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About The Book

Poems written by Cyborgs in the future – this collection melds sci-fi and poetry, human and machine.

The Cyborg Anthology takes place in a future where there was a thriving world of Robots and Cyborgs living peacefully beside Humans, but a disaster destroyed all Robot and most Cyborg life.

The book is organized like a typical anthology of literature, split into sections that include a biography of each poet and a sample of their poetry. It covers early Cyborg poetry, political, celebrity, and pop culture poets, and ends with the next generation of Cyborg poets.

The narrative takes place in the time after a cataclysmic event, and the collection wrestles with this loss. Through the lives of the poets, the book chronicles the history of personhood for technological beings, their struggle for liberation, and demonstrates different ways a person can be Cyborg. The poems and biographies together tell the story of a complex and enthralling world-to-come, exploring topics that are important in the future, and also urgent right now.

The Review

Editor’s Note: This is NOT a queer spec fic book, but does contain some queer characters.

I shouldn’t like this book.

It’s poetry. By cyborgs. That’s crazy, right?

But I found it utterly fascinating.

Our narrator sets it all up with a conceit – that this is a book of poems written by cyborgs a hundred or two years into the future, after a solar flare which destroyed most electronics on the planet and killed many of them off. The author has dutifully collected examples of this poetry that survived as printed works, and presents them as a retrospective of this unique body of work.

Each chapter is about one of the cyborg poets, and gives some background to their lives, their cyborg nature and enhancements, and their poetic style.

The poems presented after these descriptions are at turns nonsensical, eccentric, lewd and crude, lyrical, and laugh-out-loud funny. And as you read them, a metaphor emerges between the oppression of the cyborg and robot class and the treatment of LGBTQ+ and other minorities in our own time.

Everything changes, and everything remains the same.

It’s a fascinating look at a possible future, peopled with teachers and industrial waste handlers and journalists and sentient birthing devices and many more, and LGBTQ+ folks are woven into this tapestry almost without thought – a comforting glimpse at that aspect of this future world.

The poetic forms here are as numerous and varied as the characters themselves, and show that Lindsay B-e has a mastery of the genre. In one of my favorites, the poem turns the whole Star Trek red-shirts-must-die thing on its head, in a most satisfying fashion.

And I’ll share one short one that made me snort milk out of my nostrils. Or it would have, if I’d been drinking any:

English Class

They mysterious
Sticky substances
On the desk bottom
Shortly after,
I’m chewing gun
I don’t have gum

If you love good-sci-fi, this book is well worth your time – it rewards slow, careful exploration. I hope the author writes a more traditional novel in this world one of these days. I’d love to dive in and poke around some more.

Grab a copy of The Cyborg Anthology and put it on your nightstand (or in your kindle on your nightstand) and thumb through it a bit at a time, to really enjoy this strange, amazing, beautiful world the author has concocted.

Go into it with an open mind – you won’t be disappointed.

The Reviewer

Scott is the founder of Queer Sci Fi, and a fantasy and sci fi writer in his own right, with more than 30 published short stories, novellas and novels to his credit, including two trilogies.

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