These Fragile Graces, This Fugitive Heart

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request. Sign In or Register Now
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

1
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add kindle@netgalley.com as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
2
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 12 Mar 2024 | Archive Date Not set

Talking about this book? Use #TheseFragileGracesThisFugitiveHeart #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Description

Publishers Weekly Pick: Spring 2024 Top-10 SF Fantasy & Horror

In a queer, noir technothriller of fractured identity and corporate intrigue, a trans woman faces her fear of losing her community as her past chases after her. This bold, thought provoking debut science-fiction novella from a Lambda Award finalist is an exciting and unpredictable look at the fluid nature of our former and present selves.

Within a twisted conspiracy thriller is a compelling slice-of-queer-life, uninterested in simple representation.
—Emma Törzs, author of
Ink Blood Sister Scribe

Security expert Dora left her anarchist commune over safety concerns. But when her ex-girlfriend Kay is killed, everyone at the commune is suddenly a potential suspect. In the remains of Kansas City, which the government has all but abandoned, Dora knows there will be no justice unless she solves the murder herself.

But Kay’s death is only one of several shocking incidents. A strange new drug is circulating, people are disappearing, and a war between two nefarious corporations is looming. As Dora untangles a terrible conspiracy, she must also come face-to-face with assailants from her pre-transition past.

Publishers Weekly Pick: Spring 2024 Top-10 SF Fantasy & Horror

In a queer, noir technothriller of fractured identity and corporate intrigue, a trans woman faces her fear of losing her community as her...


A Note From the Publisher

Izzy Wasserstein is a queer, trans woman who teaches writing and literature. Wasserstein was born and raised in Kansas, and she received her MFA in Cre￾ative Writing from the University of New Mexico. She is the author of dozens of short stories, two poetry collections, and the short-story collection All the Hometowns You Can’t Stay Away From (Neon Hemlock Press, 2022). Wasser￾stein loves books, comics, horror movies, and slowly running long distances. She shares a home in Southern California with her spouse, Nora E. Derrington, and their animal companions. These Fragile Graces, This Fugitive Heart is her debut novella.

Izzy Wasserstein is a queer, trans woman who teaches writing and literature. Wasserstein was born and raised in Kansas, and she received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Mexico...


Advance Praise

[STARRED REVIEW] DEBUT “A trans woman confronts her past along with the person she might have been in this queer, noir technothriller set in a near-future, dystopian Kansas City. Dora’s ex-girlfriend is dead, and her old commune expects her to return and solve the crime. But it’s not merely a murder, and it’s not a result of any of the standard motives, nor is the perpetrator any of the usual suspects. Instead, Dora finds a scientist operating an illegal cloning facility, trying to create easily programmable, disposable lab rats and super soldiers while also creating additional versions of Dora the way he wants her to be: obedient, worshipful, and unequivocally male. Dora has to literally plumb the depths of her city, her past relationships, and her present psyche in order to eliminate a threat she never imagined. The murder case is the best kind of technothriller, getting deeper into the guts of the tech and the skulls in the corporate skullduggery while putting the reader into the heart and soul of an investigator who can’t stop trying to save the day for everybody else. VERDICT Recommended for SF readers who love a good mystery, can’t resist a queer romance, and adore seeing a corporate conspiracy unraveled and undone.” —Library Journal

“Wasserstein makes clever use of genre tropes, including clones, snappy noir-style dialogue, and the damaged, insomniac detective archetype. With a complex and enjoyably flawed trans protagonist and a portrayal of queer life that goes deeper than casual representation, this marks Wasserstein as a voice to watch out for in LGBTQ science fiction.” —Publishers Weekly

Within a twisted conspiracy thriller is a compelling slice-of-queer-life, uninterested in simple representation. An irresistible afterword will leave readers eager for more from Wasserstein. This book is perfect for anyone interested in community politics, body politics, the craft of writing, or a page-turning thriller.” —Kirkus

“This fast-paced novella blends a pitch-perfect noir voice with all the excitement and grit of an action movie, but at its core, it is ultimately a tale of community, identity, and connection. Izzy Wasserstein is a true and tender storyteller with a head for twisty plots and a heart for complex love.” —Emma Törzs, author of Ink Blood Sister Scribe

“Just like all of Izzy Wasserstein’s work, this story is complex, well-written, heartfelt.” —Natalia Theodoridou, World Fantasy Award winner and Nebula finalist

“At one level, These Fragile Places, This Fugitive Heart works just fine as an efficient and fast-moving thriller in a gritty urban setting, but just as efficient is the manner in which Wasserstein layers in issues of trans acceptance.” —Locus

“From anarchist decision making to the difficulties of self-definition to clone sex, this small book has it all.” —Bogi Takács, editor of Transcendent

“With an anarchist’s eye for flipping all the old tropes, Wasserstein makes her propulsive, stylish cyberpunk murder mystery sing on every page.” —Karen Osborne, author of Architects of Memory

“Izzy Wasserstein is a gifted writer, and this is a wonderful debut.” —Josh Rountree, author of The Legend of Charlie Fish

“If you like queer dystopian thrillers, don't miss These Fragile Places, This Fugitive Heart.” —Reviews that Burn

“This is a murder mystery, yes; but mostly it is a story about how we can live together and love one another without using force or doing violence to those we love in the name of creating a better world. —Interzone


[STARRED REVIEW] DEBUT “A trans woman confronts her past along with the person she might have been in this queer, noir technothriller set in a near-future, dystopian Kansas City. Dora’s ex-girlfriend...


Marketing Plan

• Pre-publication endorsements from leading media and review outlets
• Author tour with appearances at trade and genre conventions to include the World Science
Fiction Convention, ALA, and Comic-Con
• Cover reveal on Tor.com; Instagram and blog tours; author/publisher social media
• Print and digital ARC distribution via Goodreads, NetGalley, and Edelweiss+
• Planned book giveaways on Goodreads, Storygraph, and other outlets

• Pre-publication endorsements from leading media and review outlets
• Author tour with appearances at trade and genre conventions to include the World Science
Fiction Convention, ALA, and Comic-Con
•...


Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781616964122
PRICE $15.95 (USD)
PAGES 176

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 23 members


Featured Reviews

In a queer, noir technothriller of fractured identity and corporate intrigue, a trans woman faces her fear of losing her community as her past chases after her.

Fantastic! Great world-building, great characters, great plot twists. Highly recommended!

Was this review helpful?

This is a near-future novel featuring trans-positive and LGBTQ characters, framed around a murder mystery involving cloning. Wasserstein shows a lot of promise as a novelist; I enjoyed this one.

Was this review helpful?

I was blown away by how much I loved this book. While I thought I would like the novella based on the synopsis, I wasn't expecting this to be a favorite book of mine.

These Fragile Graces, This Fugitive Heart features a trans protagonist in a cyber-noir setting and centers on a murder mystery that grows into a larger corporation-based thriller. However, These Fragile Graces is much more than just a mystery. Its razor-sharp prose prompts readers to consider its queer characters and the queer experience, sometimes asking uncomfortable questions. Why do only certain characters get to be complex? Why can't queer and trans characters also be complicated? Why don't we afford them the same grace we afford cis, heterosexual men? These are tough questions, but Wasserstein handles them beautifully. She uses the framing of a noir-murder mystery, to let her characters be wondrously flawed.

This novella reminded me how much I love messy, complicated characters in science fiction. I firmly believe the best science fiction occurs in grimy, gritty worlds, and those worlds rarely hold pristine people. Wasserstein's characters are amazingly crafted and the perfect blend of complicated and capable. Dora, the protagonist of the book, is a trans woman living in a worn-down corner of an almost post-cyberpunk city. At the novella's opening, Dora receives a visit from an old friend and learns of a murder in her former commune. The remainder of the story centers on this mystery, while also tackling traditional cyberpunk themes of cloning, drugs, and big corporations.

I loved Dora as a main character, but the secondary characters also shined. Blue, with all their complicated and confusing feelings, was one of the most compelling characters I've read in a long time. Although the commune dwellers were mostly minor characters, I also enjoyed getting to know them.

Final Thoughts: I loved everything about this novella. The characters are complex, and the mystery is sharp. The world is bleak, yet the commune shines as a bright spot. I loved Blue (and who they become). I loved Dora. Read this novella.

Rating: An enormous 5/5 stars.

Review will be posted on Back Shelf Books on March 1, 2024, on the link below.

Was this review helpful?

I rarely read dystopian fiction—it generally feels enough like non-fiction to make the reading experience rather uncomfortable and often downright heart-breaking. I am, however, quite glad that I found These Fragile Graces, This Fugitive Heart. It is dystopian, but it's also a mystery (a genre I love to read) with a cast that covers pretty much the entire gender spectrum.

The novel is set in Kansas City several decades into the future. Class rifts have widened. The haves have even more. The have-nots scrabble along in the best ways they can using methods ranging from larceny to anarchist collective living. Dora (Theodora, once Theodore) used to be a part of a particular collective, but left it burning bridges behind her. So when Dora finds out that her ex, one of the founders of the collective, has been killed and then finds herself being attacked by a series of assassins who just happen to be clones of her pre-transition self.

This is mind-bending stuff. The technologies of the time are far enough from, yet close enough to, our own to feel both familiar and completely foreign. The hunt for the truth requires moving across a number of dangerous cultural landscapes and making risky decisions about who to trust.

If you enjoy mysteries or sci-fi that move beyond the usual cis-dominated cast, you'll love These Fragile Graces, This Fugitive Heart. If you enjoy both, you're in for a real treat—with whipped cream and a cherry on top.

I received a free electronic review copy of this title from the publisher; the opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

Review publishes on 2/25/24.

THESE FRAGILE GRACES, THIS FUGITIVE HEART is a queer thriller about a trans woman who returns to her former anarchist compound and ends up investigating her ex's murder. It intimacy, autonomy, and connection, as well as the timeless question of "if you fuck your own clone, is it incest or masturbation?"

THESE FRAGILE GRACES strange and vibrant, set in a dystopia with governmental and corporate neglect inversely proportional to the wealth of the residents, when any remain at all. The worldbuilding is drawn in broad strokes, only explaining as much as is relevant to Dora's thoughts at any one moment. What is explained is about the result, not the path to get there, as much of the collapse happened before her lifetime.

Even as the mystery part of the story takes a bit of a backseat to Dora's identity crisis when confronted with her clones, it never loses the tense thread which began with her ex-girlfriend's murder and sudden return to a place she left under stressful circumstances.

If you like queer dystopian thrillers, don't miss THESE FRAGILE GRACES, THIS FUGITIVE HEART.

Was this review helpful?

This novella is both a recognisable addition to a classic traditional, and a beautiful voice of its own. FUGITIVE HEART reads like the best cyberpunk and neo-noir, with the added punch of corporate ambition twisted in a deeply personal case for the protagonist, Dora. Highly recommended.

Was this review helpful?

Playing Citizen Sleeper got me in the mood to finally get around to my ARC copy of This Fugitive Heart which was short enough to never lose my attention but long enough to have a fully-fledged story. Set in a cyberpunk future, Dora, a trans woman, is called back to the commune she once left after the accidental death of her ex by overdose. In true thriller fashion, her wasn't accidental and this kickstart a series of events that leads to the author questioning the intersection of cloning and transness. I won't say too much because I'm already spoiling some things but given that the afterword is dedidated to the author's thoughts on the topic, I think it's worth mentioning in the review.

With a novella, it's hard to review it without spoiling the plot, or saying it's good/bad/boring. I believe that This Fugitive Heart is really worth reading for anyone interested in cyberpunk and its intersection with transness.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: