I don’t think Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader of the U.S. Senate, intended to encourage dissent when he sanctioned Senator Elizabeth Warren with the words, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” He probably thought shutting Warren up would end the matter; instead, he gave women across the United States — and maybe the rest of the world — a rallying cry.
Mindy Klasky was one of the women who got angry when she heard those words. As she writes in the introduction to the Book View Cafe anthology, Nevertheless, She Persisted, [https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nevertheless-She-Persisted-Book-Anthology-ebook/dp/B073WLFKGH/] “Within twenty-four hours of hearing Senator McConnell’s outrageous explanation, I reached out to my fellow members of Book View Café. … I asked if anyone wanted to contribute a story to a new anthology, built around the theme of persistence.”
Nineteen members of Book View Cafe, which is an international cooperative publisher run by writers, responded. It seems that the concept of persistent women hit a chord with many of us. Members volunteered to do copy editing and formatting for both ebook and print editions. Mindy made the decisions on stories, did the substantive editing, and sheparded the book through the publishing process.
The anthology, which was first proposed on February 9, 2017, came out August 8. One of the many advantages of a writer-owned co-op publisher is that it’s possible to move quickly when someone wants to bring out a special project.
Book View Cafe has put out a number of anthologies, including the three-volume Shadow Conspiracy [http://bookviewcafe.com/bookstore/book/the-shadow-conspiracy/] series of steampunk stories based on the idea that Mary Shelley wasn’t writing fiction when she penned Frankenstein. The process — an editor or editors for the project, with other members helping with the production work — has been the same for all the anthologies and is similar to the process we use for publishing our members’ novels, collections, and stories.
Book View Cafe started out on an email list of women science fiction and fantasy writers when one member said she wanted to get into ebook publishing and a bunch of others chimed in to say “me, too.” Most of the initial members had a backlist of fiction to which they held e-rights, as well as some new material that needed a home. Later, a few men joined. And although most of our members are spread across the U.S., we have a presence in Europe and Australia as well.
While the idea for Nevertheless, She Persisted was born in political anger, most of the stories in this book are not directly political. Instead, they are stories of women from the beginning of time to the current day to the far future who hang in for the long game. And win.
Some stories center on characters out of our myths. Lilith makes an appearance in Irene Radford’s story, “Den of Iniquity.” Penelope is the one persisting in Marie Brennan’s “Daughter of Necessity.” Others deal with women of the present, such as the knitter in Brenda Clough’s “Making Love.” Vonda N. McIntyre imagines women of a far, far future of living ships and lengthy lives in “Little Faces.”
The authors aren’t all women, or even all from the U.S. The idea that women are capable of persisting is much more universal than that — another reason why the actions of the Senate majority leader were so ill-considered.
There are some who say fiction writers shouldn’t be political. Since politics is the way we come together as a society – as a world – to figure out how to live and resolve conflicts, I think it’s everyone’s duty to be involved in some way. As the stories in this volume indicate, a piece doesn’t have to be directly about a particular political action to have a political effect.
Nevertheless, She Persisted debuted August 8 at Book View Café [http://bookviewcafe.com/bookstore/]. It is available on Amazon UK [https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nevertheless-She-Persisted-Book-Anthology-ebook/dp/B073WLFKGH/] and other online booksellers. The authors and stories are:
- “Daughter of Necessity” by Marie Brennan
- “Sisters” by Leah Cutter
- “Unmasking the Ancient Light” by Deborah J. Ross
- “Alea Iacta Est” by Marissa Doyle
- “How Best to Serve” from A Call to Arms by P.G. Nagle
- “After Eden” by Gillian Polack
- “Reset” by Sara Stamey
- “A Very, Wary Christmas” by Katharine Eliska Kimbriel
- “Making Love” by Brenda Clough
- “Den of Iniquity” by Irene Radford
- “Digger Lady” by Amy Sterling Casil
- “Tumbling Blocks” by Mindy Klasky
- “The Purge” by Jennifer Stevenson
- “If It Ain’t Broke” by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
- “Chatauqua” by Nancy Jane Moore
- “Bearing Shadows” by Dave Smeds
- “In Search of Laria” by Doranna Durgin
- “Tax Season” by Judith Tarr
- “Little Faces” by Vonda N. McIntyre
Nancy Jane Moore is the author of the science fiction novel The Weave, published by Aqueduct Press. Her other books include Conscientious Inconsistencies from PS Publishing, Changeling from Aqueduct, and Walking Contradiction and Other Futures from Book View Café. She is a founding member of Book View Café. In 2002 she made it to Milford and she’s been trying to get back ever since. A native Texan who spent many years in Washington, D.C., she now lives in Oakland, California.