Review of Kit Harding, “Gentle Ways to Kill a Dragon”, Luna Station Quarterly 47 (2021): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.
One of the reasons why I like reading modern SFF is the way it interrogates the sexist and patriarchal structures that are embedded in so much of the fiction I grew up on. You read enough of it, and you tend to think the way they depict their worlds are is the only way the world can be. But what’s brilliant about stories like Harding’s is the way they don’t just subvert problematic tropes, but also point out that the tropes are problematic. It’s empowering to read Ella explicitly go through the thought process from “I should be complimented that the dragon hunter thinks I’m pretty enough to be his ‘reward'” all the way to “fuck that, Imma kill that dragon myself”. Want a great story that teaches the importance of consent? This is it.