REVIEW: “Bits & Pieces” by Tina Shelton

Review of Tina Shelton, “Bits & Pieces,” Luna Station Quarterly 22 (2015): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Content note: Systemic misogyny; racial stereotypes.

Heelee is a member of the Chiaxxa Bia, the one all-woman warrior caste that devotes its life to the defense of the people against smugglers and other raiders. Despite a life bend on killing and destruction, she one day saves the life of an innocent baby, and in return is exiled by the Chiaxxa Bia. In the end, a man comes in and rescues her, and takes her away to a new life.

I was a bit disappointed in this story, mostly because it reinforced the trope of a “strong woman character” being one who fights, who kicks and bites, who is feared. There is a place for women like that, but if that’s the only notion of “strong woman” that a story contains, I always come away a bit sad. It also felt weighed down by all the worldbuilding, which had to be established before the story itself could even begin. It just didn’t work for me.