Isabel Fall’s short story “I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter” in the January Clarkesworld, the subject of intense discussion on Twitter this week, was removed from the magazine’s website today at the author’s request.
Editor Neil Clarke tweeted:
The story remains available to read at the Wayback Machine.
This roundup illustrates the sources of the discussion within the sff community, and points to some of the more frequently cross-referenced conversations.
IS THE STORY TRANSPHOBIC?
D Franklin challenges numerous passages as transphobic. Thread starts here.
D Franklin agrees the story should have been pulled. Thread starts here.
Another critic of the story as transphobic makes a detailed case for that viewpoint here.
Lynn E. O’Connacht communicates that “there’s a pretty big difference between “this story makes me uncomfortable’ and ‘this story caused me harm’”. Thread starts here.
Bogi Takács sheds light on some matters that drive the reception of this story and works by and about other minorities.
First thread starts here.
Second thread starts here.
POSITIVE RESPONSES TO STORY.
Phoebe North supports the story and author in “An Open Letter” at Medium, an autobiographical essay that concludes:
Whatever you decide to do with your story, Isabel, thank you for writing your story. Thank you for making me feel seen and heard. We don’t get a lot of ourselves in fiction. We often only get scraps. This was more than that. A mirror.
Alex Acks says North’s essay “articulates a lot of my own difficult to verbalize feelings” about the story.
Berry Grass believes the story has shortcomings, but aligns more with those who consider it to be thought-provoking. Thread starts here.
Carmen Maria Machado wrote a long, thoughtful thread about provocative stories in the context of art and literature, but while I was editing this together she locked her tweets to all but followers so those are not available to quote.
Malcolm F. Cross criticizes the story as having shortcomings as MilSF, too, but marks out more territory on the art vs. harm map. Thread starts here.
Warren Adams-Ockrassa’s thread seems to say that whatever the writer’s goal was, they should have handled it differently. Starts here.
PULLING THE STORY.
Cat Rambo is sorry the story was pulled. Thread starts here.
One of several eye-opening comments on Rambo’s thread:
ROLE OF AN EDITOR.
Setsu U finds the discussion about the story connects with many questions and concerns they are responsible for as an editor. Thread starts here.
Several people have been circulating screenshots of a statement that’s represented as giving background about the story and author. I have neither found the source of the original post, nor confirmation that it is from a Clarkesworld spokesperson, so I am not posting these but you can find a copy here.
Alexandra Erin on why she won’t read the story. Thread starts here.
Cheryl Morgan says she hasn’t read the story, however, offered advice for holding the discussion. Thread starts here. Some of her points are —
There’s extended discussion at Metafilter. As a whole, I thought I learned more just by searching “Clarkesworld” on Twitter.