Saturday, December 27, 2008

Aaron's Story Recommendation of the Week :: Kimberley Ann Duray Is Not Afraid by Leah Bobet

Strange Horizons logoThe story recommendation of the week is "Kimberley Ann Duray Is Not Afraid" by Leah Bobet, a short story published on-line at Strange Horizons on September 29, 2008.

In the debate over what rights to afford the LGBT community, one issue that often comes up is to what extent people choose their sexual preferences. To some folks, it is easier to justify discrimination against gays if being gay was a matter of choice, and not something one was born with like skin color. (Why anyone should wish to justify discrimination against gays I am unable to explain.)

But what if skin color were a matter of choice as well? In "Kimberley Ann Duray Is Not Afraid," the technology exists to transform people physically so as to change their apparent racial identity. The eponymous protagonist works at the Bruce Clinic, which performs this controversial procedure. Until now, she has been "pro-choice," believing that making skin color alterable enables society to put racial conflict behind it. But she is beginning to doubt her own views, and as someone in an interracial marriage, the issue troubles her deeply.

Bobet portrays this internal conflict with subtlety. "Kimberley Ann Duray Is Not Afraid" does not dance around the underlying questions, however. It addresses race issues head-on, and does so in a thought-provoking way. It effectively shows that embracing diversity means something more than being color blind.

Canadian author Leah Bobet has published some three dozen short stories and nearly as many poems. She has appeared many times at Strange Horizons, and has also sold stories to such top-notch print publications as Realms of Fantasy, Interzone, and Clockwork Phoenix. Let us keep an eye out for more of her work.

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