The way Nancy Joie Wilkie executed the overarching theme of Seven Sides of Self is one of the strongest I’ve read. Short story collections don’t always have a sense of cohesiveness, but everything about this one, from how it generally fits together into a greater work, all the way down to the tiny threads that connect the stories to each other, was just superb.
“Of the Green and Of the Gold” stood out most for me. I loved the use of color and an alien society to explore coded transphobia (and briefly, homophobia). I felt like it stripped away everything superfluous, so that all we are left with is a clear sense of how we should treat one another.
“Perhaps mankind will learn something about itself by studying Aurillia. Maybe looking in this extraterrestrial mirror will show the stupidity of the artificial boundaries mankind has erected throughout the fiber of its societies.”
Seven Sides of Self is social sci-fi and gentle fantasy. These stories are allegories that everyone can relate to in their own way. It’s the kind of book you can read over and over again, always having a new experience.