Free short science fiction: nonbinary Jewish fiction by nonbinary Jewish author

I am so glad that there is nonbinary Jewish sci-fi out there, and what’s more, it’s free.

“None of you have been helping her maintain her shape,” the planetmind said. “We were promised the community would help her maintain her shape.”

“The–” She could not bring herself to say what she wanted to say. She lashed out instead. “The community, the community is afraid! We don’t know how to deal with this! Cut us some slack!”

“These processes are automatic on our behalf. If your community no longer belongs to us, it is consumed.”

“Three Partitions” by Bogi Takács is not just a short story about nonbinary Orthodox Jews having sci-fi adventures, although that would be valuable, too — the Jewishness and nonbinaryness are actually key to the plot in a really skillful way. Basically, a colony of Orthodox Jewish humans have settled on a planet that itself has sentience, and because of that sentience the only way they won’t be targeted by the planet’s immune system the way our bodies target foreign bodies (like allergens and bacteria) is if the planet recognizes the colonists as part of itself. In order to do that, the planet, or some part of it, must convert and join the congregation–in the form of a nonbinary character who makes herself look human (she uses she/her pronouns in the story.)

However: she’s on shaky ground, because if she’s not accepted, truly, then the planet’s equivalent of white blood cells will reject the colonists like a failed organ donation, destroying them all–and Orthodox Jewish worship is somewhat gendered not to mention the natural timidity some humans would realistically have around extraterrestrials.

To readers unfamiliar with Orthodox Jewish culture and Hebrew words related to specific Jewish concepts–the author (who is both nonbinary and Jewish but not as far as I know extraterrestrial!) made sure to make everything clear in context, so if you process those bits the same way you process the made-up sci-fi bits, you should be fine.

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About Shira

Queer Jewish feminist author
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