Shadow Man (Paragons of Queer Speculative Fiction Book 1) and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more


or
Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available

 
Start reading Shadow Man (Paragons of Queer Speculative Fiction Book 1) on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Shadow Man (Paragons of Queer Speculative Fiction) [Paperback]

Melissa Scott
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 15.00
Price: 14.60 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
You Save: 0.40 (3%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it tomorrow, 14 July? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 6.41  
Hardcover --  
Paperback 14.60  

Book Description

25 Sep 2009 Paragons of Queer Speculative Fiction
In the far future, human culture has developed five distinctive genders due to the effects of a drug easing sickness from faster-than-light travel. But on the planet Hara, where society is increasingly instability, caught between hard-liner traditions and the realities of life, only male and female genders are legal, and the "odd-bodied" population are forced to pass as one or the other. Warreven Stiller, a lawyer and an intersexed person, is an advocate for those who have violated Haran taboos. When Hara regains contact with the Concord worlds, Warreven finds a larger role in breaking the long-standing role society has forced on "him," but the search for personal identity becomes a battleground of political intrigue and cultural clash. Winner of a Lambda Literary Award for Gay/Lesbian Science Fiction, Shadow Man remains one of the more important modern, speculative novels ever published in the field of gender- and sexual identity.

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Spend 30 and get Norton 360 21.0 - 3 Computers, 1 Year 2014 for 24.99. Here's how (terms and conditions apply)

Product details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Lethe Press (25 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590212428
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590212424
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 22.5 x 15 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,789,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Customer Reviews

3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Genders, One Humanity 19 Feb 2004
Format:Hardcover
At 18, Warreven was presented with an offer most men would have gladly accepted: Marriage to the only child of the Most Important Man on the planet Hara. The problem was, Warreven wasn't "most men." In fact, he wasn't a man at all, but a herm or, as Haran slang went, a "halving." And Temelathe's only child, Tendelathe, was a man.
For the Most Important Man, Warreven's sex was a non-issue: Warreven would simply classify himself as a woman and become Tendelathe's wife. This was a common arrangement, as herms did not live their lives as herms, but as men or women. It was up to them to choose. Warren would not choose, however; while he would willingly have married his long-time friend, he refused to be forced into declaring himself female. He was comfortable living as a man and that's how he wanted it to stay. He refused the offer. The decision ultimately changed his life.
The story point is one of the keystones in Melissa Scott's 1995 novel Shadow Man, a book which explores human gender and what life might be like if things were not as "simple" as we (perhaps wrongly) view them today.
The planet Hara, where Warreven, the Most Important Man and his son live is one of countless human colonies founded at a point in the future when humans have mastered faster-than-light (FTL) travel and have spread across the galaxy. As the story opens, Hara is in the process of slowly but surely being re-connected with the colonial network, after a few hundred years' separation.
The reason Hara was cut off is the same reason it's now so different from other human colonies. FTL travel, as boundary-breaking as it was, was in large part made possible by the development of specialized drugs, which prevented the side effects of the travel, keeping humans healthy and sane.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow to get going, but an intriguing read 20 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Shadow Man is about culture clash, gender relations and politics, set against a back drop of a socially conservative planet. It takes a while (about 25% of the book) to get into the meat of the plot, but once the political actions and ramifications kick off, Shadow Man is really absorbing.

Due to side effects of space travel, humanity of the future has 5 genders - male, female, mem, fem and herm. However on the backwater planet of Hara, custom and the law insists that there are only two genders - man and woman - and everyone must legally be classed as one of these, and dress accordingly. Moreover, Haran custom disapproves of 'same sex' relationships, even when the participants are only the same gender in the legal sense, not in the actual physical sense. This means a planet filled with unhappy people, forced into roles and strictures that don't quite match how they feel about themselves, and a burgeoning civil rights movement is clashing with traditional values as well as with those who want to retain the staus quo for personal or political reasons. Simultaneously, the place is full of off-worlders, who happily admit to the existence of all five genders, but who have sexual hang-ups of their own, and for whom Hara is a sex-tourism destination. Despite this subject matter, the sex is all tastefully PG or alluded to but not described.

The use of invented personal pronouns such as '%er' and '3er' to describe the mem, fem and herm genders is nicely done, but I did find myself wondering how on earth you are supposed to pronounce something like '3er' and there are no clues until rather late in the story.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Genders, One Humanity 19 Feb 2004
By Wendy C. Darling - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
At 18, Warreven was presented with an offer most men would have gladly accepted: Marriage to the only child of the Most Important Man on the planet Hara. The problem was, Warreven wasn't "most men." In fact, he wasn't a man at all, but a herm or, as Haran slang went, a "halving." And Temelathe's only child, Tendelathe, was a man.
For the Most Important Man, Warreven's sex was a non-issue: Warreven would simply classify himself as a woman and become Tendelathe's wife. This was a common arrangement, as herms did not live their lives as herms, but as men or women. It was up to them to choose. Warren would not choose, however; while he would willingly have married his long-time friend, he refused to be forced into declaring himself female. He was comfortable living as a man and that's how he wanted it to stay. He refused the offer. The decision ultimately changed his life.
The story point is one of the keystones in Melissa Scott's 1995 novel Shadow Man, a book which explores human gender and what life might be like if things were not as "simple" as we (perhaps wrongly) view them today.
The planet Hara, where Warreven, the Most Important Man and his son live is one of countless human colonies founded at a point in the future when humans have mastered faster-than-light (FTL) travel and have spread across the galaxy. As the story opens, Hara is in the process of slowly but surely being re-connected with the colonial network, after a few hundred years' separation.
The reason Hara was cut off is the same reason it's now so different from other human colonies. FTL travel, as boundary-breaking as it was, was in large part made possible by the development of specialized drugs, which prevented the side effects of the travel, keeping humans healthy and sane. However, these drugs themselves had a major side effect, one which no one had expected or even noticed under it was too late: The drugs affected human DNA and caused a large upswing (as high as 25%) in intersex births. There were no longer men and women, but men, women... and several other sexes. This discovery was so shocking and devastating to the human space colonization movement that all FTL travel was put on hold. Chaos erupted, arguments ensued, and it was during this time that the group making its way to the planet known as Hara were cut off.
People on hara developed the same genetic"abnormalities" as the rest of those who had taken FTL drugs. Not only their children, but their children's children, and on down the line, were born into one of five gender categories: woman, fem, herm, men, or man. The crucial difference on Hara, as opposed to within the human colonization effort and humanity as a whole (the "Concord"), was that the people on Hara chose to deny that this change had occurred. Almost all Concord humans had finally embraced the sexual differences and all the new sexual orientations and identities that came with it. They "moved on " with the change and re-started FTL travel. Harans were different. Fiercely traditional, they clung to concepts of men and women, and those who did not fit those categories were, officially, made to fit.
Despite the decision he made at 18, Warreven has made a good life for himself. He's got a job as something like an attorney, part of a three-person team. One of his partners is a man, the other a herm, like himself, only more politically outspoken (having fought a court battle to have legal status as "herm," not one sex or the other). Their firm often handles cases involving the "odd-bodied," those Harans who do not conform to Haran sexual standards. Warren is a skilled negotiator, and thanks to his continuing friendship with the Most Important Man (who still talks wistfully of his would-have-been "daughter-in-law"), he has a comfortable life. In his off time, Warreven's life isn't quite the savory life of a lawyer, however. He enjoys going to "wrangwys" bars, where fems, herms and mems mix amongst themselves, along with men and women who come to experiment in ways which are, officially, either forbidden or strongly frowned upon. In these bars, "wrangwys" become "trade"; Warreven has been "trade" himself.
In Shadow Man, we see Warreven's life change from something mostly stable and secure, where he is happy to remain within the status quo, to one in which his entire life is turned upside down and Hara is on the verge of a minor revolution. The story takes off when one day Warreven meets an offworlder named Tatian. The offworlder has come on an assignment from one of the big pharmaceutical companies trading with Hara, and at first he's strictly business. But after he meets Warreven and is introduced to Haran's rather different social set-up, he can't seem to get himself untangled from a budding revolution among society's oppressed. He finds himself encouraging Warreven and eventually assisting him. It's hard for him to believe the "odd-bodied" have allowed themselves to be oppressed at all, and even harder for him as he watches Warreven struggle with his role in the new revolution, especially when things get out of control, with attacks on bars, beatings, and riot police.
One of the things Scott does in Shadow Man is set up an allegory for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights movement, and one of the things that makes the book work is that this allegory isn't done in a heavy-handed way, but one that makes you understand the nature of social movements and those caught in the crossfire. Warreven doesn't want to be a revolutionary. He doesn't want to be a hero. He doesn't really want to be a herm -- not the way humans on Concord are herms. He doesn't know what any of that is about. However, the way events unfold, he has no choice, morally, but to press on and become a revolutionary, become a hero, and eventually, to become a herm. Change has to start somewhere and it just so happens that it starts with him.
Shadow Man is a wonderful, thought-provoking book which, although somewhat dissatisfying in the fact that it doesn't tie up the book's conflicts in a neat bow, makes you wonder about the nature of being human and being part of society, whether accepted or not.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting issues rather than exciting action 29 April 1998
By aks@deshaw.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I found the sexual/ social issues in this book very interesting. Nowadays there is very little SF I can handle- it all seems to be cookie-cutter adventure series. Shadow Man sets itself apart by looking at something I haven't seen before, namely the social issues facing humans who have been split into five sexes rather than two. My interest was also held by the society described in the book, which is an unusual mix of technology and a more primitive lifestyle.

I admit that the plot wasn't the most exciting- it was basically a vehicle for the book's social issues. However, I found the issues discussed in the book more than enough to keep me reading to the end.

I have since read two more by the same author, Trouble And Her Friends and Night Sky Mine, which are more traditional cyberpunk adventures. While they're OK (and are unusual in that their heroines and heroes are mostly gay), they don't center around the same kind of ideas that made me think while reading Shadow Man. It's definitely the most interesting of the three.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a pamphlet 13 Aug 2005
By Furio - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
(I'm not a native speaker, please overlook my style)

This book truly represents a coming of age but not for the main characters, for the readers.

Ms Scott creates an extended but simple metaphor: in a universe where there are five officially acknowledged and accepted biological sexes and a mathematitian knows how many combinatorial possibilities the law and custom of one single planet deny the biological reality in the name of an undefendible, aggressive, obtuse tradition.

It is easy to recognize our own little Earth and reality (despite intelligent crabs that are as affectionate as lapdogs, purr like kittens and spin useful silk) under this thin disguise; in the struggle of Warreven to be officially, legally recognized as a person despite his/her/who knows sex, one recognize the everyday problems of people who happen to be unlike the majority.

As a political pamphlet, an apologue, this book is a masterpiece and should be read as textbook in any secondary school; as a novel it is less so.

Ms Scott strives to mimic real life and she does it, perfectly, but the result is sometimes quite dull, just as our own petty lives can often be (think about commuting to get to work or boring evenings among collegues and you shall know what I mean).

The characters and situations are fully drawn and believable, and in the end the good does not win over evil, exactly as in our own lives.

Despite an appendix with a glossary, some fictional concepts, such as "trade" or the details of gender behaviour remain utterly unclear. Ms Scott has probably tried to avoid extensive boring explanations but confronted with such an exotic creation the reader must necessarily fill in the voids.

One may wonder, is this still SF? In a sense it is. Do not read this novel if you just want an easy SF pastime. Do it if you welcome food for thought and are in the right mood for it.

A note: sex is necessarily mentioned in such a book, but it is never graphic or vulgar: teens can read it freely provided they have the right attitude toward demanding books.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ok but not as good as her older stuff 18 April 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Back in the 80s, Melissa Scott's first few books were so good (exciting and thought-provoking with worlds and sciemces no one else had ever thought of) that since then I've rushed to buy her stuff -- in HARDCOVER ! -- whenever a new book comes out. But the past 4 books have been, well, nice but slow. And the worlds and ideas were, well, nice but seen them before from other authors' stuff.

So hey Melissa, for old times sake I'm a fan still. But from now on, I'll wait for the paperback to come out.

BTW: If you haven't read Melissa's "The Kindly Ones" DO!!!!!!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 20 Jan 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
The other reviewers have done a nice job on the good and bad of Ms. Scott's writing. All I can say is that, as a trans woman, this is one of perhaps two or three books which describes _my_ world, and the issues and concerns which define it. If you're trans, or know someone who is, or simply want a good framing...and you like and think in the tropes of speculative fiction...I cannot recommend this too highly. You may or may not agree with a few of the specifics of her worldbuilding, and it isn't a complete and literal extrapolation. But...read it.
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category


Feedback