Today is release day for Do Not Go Quietly: An Anthology of Victory in Defiance from Apex Book Company! Go grab your copy, right after you read this interview with E. Catherine Tobler, who is responsible for one of the stories in the anthology.
Elise, thanks for joining us!
Thank you for having me!
This anthology contains a lot of heavy genre hitters — John Hornor Jacobs, Brooke Bolander, Fran Wilde, Dee Warrick, Sarah Pinsker, Meg Elison, and more. How the heck did you get involved?
I heard about the anthology when Apex was running the Kickstarter, and decided to back it like a normal human-shaped being. And then when they had their submission window, I decided to get off my ass and write a story and submit it. Of course, I wrote something really weird and didn’t think the story stood a chance.
Your story, “Kill the Darlings (Silicone Sister Remix)” is…quite a thing. What can you tell us about it?
The story started with the idea of borders and people trying to cross them — notably, the southern border of the US, and the conflicts we’ve had there of late. I thought “a body could lie down right there and make a great wall.” Once I’d turned bodies into two-thousand mile walls, it felt like all bets were off, that I could do anything in that kind of a universe.
The main character, Nany Mars, is, well, a vagina?
Yes. Another aspect of this world is that a lot of the women have been turned into what men think of them. If men think you are only good for sex, perhaps you become a vagina. If men think you are fragile, perhaps you are made of glass. Women are only good for cooking — so perhaps a woman becomes an oven.
This character literally has an oven in her belly, to feed people on demand.
Make me a sandwich, right?
Whew. And the body at the border?
In this story, it is the body of a woman (of course), grown huge and cavernous, to “secure” the border, which, spoiler alert, doesn’t work.
What other kinds of women do we meet in this story? It’s a little bit The Handmaid’s Tale meets Alien because damn, that body horror.
We meet a crew of women who are invested in saving other women — from being used as men and the world at large would use them. Women who are determined to reclaim their bodies. Trans women. What becomes of trans women in this kind of world?
The Handmaid’s Tale was absolutely an influence, but so was The Haunting of Hill House, which maybe sounds weird, but the bodies here are like haunted houses, because they look like one thing, while being something vastly different inside for the person living there. Everyone is a House of Leaves, maybe.
And Alien is also a great comparison, having your body become something you never wanted or intended, based on another’s wishes… Yeah.
Given recent bills banning abortion…
Yeah. I’ve always written about body autonomy, but perhaps now it feels more relevant, though it always has been. Your body is yours, and no one should have the ability to take that away, or govern what you do with it.
Elise, thanks for joining us today.
Thanks for having me, me!
Readers, go buy this book, because these are the stories our world needs right now. Hardcover, paperback, ebook, whatever format is your jam, Apex has you covered!
From the Apex site:
From small acts of defiance to protests that shut down cities, Do Not Go Quietly is an anthology of science fiction and fantasy short stories about those who resist. Within this anthology, we will chronicle the fight for what is just and right, and what that means: from leading revolutions to the simple act of saying “No.”
Resistance can be a small act of everyday defiance. And other times, resistance means massive movements that topple governments and become iconic historical moments. Either way, there is power in these acts, and the contributors in Do Not Go Quietly will harness that power to shake our readers to the core. We are subordinates to a power base that is actively working to solidify its grip on the world. Now is the time to stand up and raise your voice and tell the world that enough is enough!