[REVIEW] I Sexually Identify As an Attack Helicopter – Isabel Fall

WARNING: The story’s title is deliberately provocative. Opinion varies from person to person on whether the story itself is transmisia or not. Thus, reviews and think-pieces may be transmisia, too. Read with caution.

Isabel Fall
I Sexually Identify As an Attack Helicopter (short story/novelette, only available in the collection)
Clarkesworld Issue 160 (4th January 2020)
Buy (US Kindle Edition) [click on “Current Issue” – “Monthly Subscription” is the default] Buy (US Paperback) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

I’m not used to reading fiction onscreen (I’m a print-book reader), so my attention was divided.

I’m probably not the target audience, because I’m not into military fiction – speculative or otherwise.

There’s a lot of discussion about this story. It’s harmed some people, but others have really related to it. And others have mixed feelings.

Gender and sexuality are different things. But do they influence each other? Does gender affect sexuality? Does sexuality affect gender? Does transition affect sexuality, or the other way around? Is a helicopter (in the story) a gender or a sexuality, or both, or neither? Without gender or sexuality stereotyping (from self or others) – or bullying/harassment/abuse – would dysphoria still exist?

The military scenes didn’t appeal to me, but the in-between sections about gender and sexuality are interesting. I wouldn’t say I “like” this story, but it’s a spark for personal reflection. (Essays are already published). It may spark discussions, but gender and sexuality are very personal subjects, so it’s uncertain how constructive discussions will be.

We don’t know much (or anything) about the author, so we don’t know the author’s perspective. We don’t know the target audience. (Well, Clarkesworld readers. But best suited to cis, trans, or enby readers?) We don’t know what point the author was making.

3 responses to “[REVIEW] I Sexually Identify As an Attack Helicopter – Isabel Fall

  1. Stories like this, which spark discussion even if you can’t exactly say you “like” or “dislike” the story, always fascinate me. I mean, was that the author’s purpose in writing it, to spark discussion? Thanks for bringing this one to my attention.

    • It came to my attention after the publisher (Clarkesworld Magazine) announced they were taking it off their website at the author’s request. When I checked last night, it was still available to purchase (as part of the collection) on Amazon.

      There are questions about whether the story was written by a right-wing troll, or someone just trying to figure out gender and sexuality stuff. I personally think it might be the latter, but the title definitely had me sceptic about the author’s intentions.

      As a cis woman, and not a fan of military sci-fi, I’m not the target audience. I had a lot of mixed feelings, but it gave me a lot to think about. I’d maybe rate it 3 stars (out of 5), but it’s all just a very strange situation.

      • I’m also a xis woman and not a huge fan of military sci-fi (though I do read it on occasion) so I’m not the target audience either. I hadn’t considered the possibility that this was written by a troll, though. We’ll probably never know…

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