Free online fiction (novelette) & ebook (epub) download.Chani sat on the women’s balcony, racing through her prayers at the usual breakneck speed of the Orthodox. She was bored. She knew there was a Chasidic position that prayer should be as fast as possible, to prevent the yetzer hara, the evil inclination from getting a few thoughts in edgewise between the words. ButFree online fiction (novelette) & ebook (epub) download.Chani sat on the women’s balcony, racing through her prayers at the usual breakneck speed of the Orthodox. She was bored. She knew there was a Chasidic position that prayer should be as fast as possible, to prevent the yetzer hara, the evil inclination from getting a few thoughts in edgewise between the words. But she could recite at full speed and still have her mind wander....
|Number of Pages||:||21 Pages|
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Three Partitions Reviews
I am so glad that there is nonbinary Jewish sci-fi out there, and what's more, it's free.“None of you have been helping her maintain her shape,” the planetmind said. “We were promised the community would help her maintain her shape.”“The–” She could not bring herself to say what she wanted to say. She lashed out instead. “The community, the community is afraid! We don’t know how to deal with this! Cut us some slack!”“These processes are automatic on our behalf. If your community no longer belongs to us, it is consumed.”This is not just a short story about nonbinary Orthodox Jews having sci-fi adventures, although that would be valuable, too -- the Jewishness and nonbinaryness are actually key to the plot in a really skillful way. Basically, a colony of Orthodox Jewish humans have settled on a planet that itself has sentience, and because of that sentience the only way they won't be targeted by the planet's immune system the way our bodies target foreign bodies (like allergens and bacteria) is if the planet recognizes the colonists as part of itself. In order to do that, the planet, or some part of it, must convert and join the congregation--in the form of a nonbinary character who makes herself look human (she uses she/her pronouns in the story.)However: she's on shaky ground, because if she's not accepted, truly, then the planet's equivalent of white blood cells will reject the colonists like a failed organ donation, destroying them all--and Orthodox Jewish worship is somewhat gendered not to mention the natural timidity some humans would realistically have around extraterrestrials.To readers unfamiliar with Orthodox Jewish culture and Hebrew words related to specific Jewish concepts--the author (who is both nonbinary and Jewish but not as far as I know extraterrestrial!) made sure to make everything clear in context, so if you process those bits the same way you process the made-up sci-fi bits, you should be fine.
This is the first piece of short fiction I've read by this author, and it left me wanting much more. Centering on a group of Orthodox Jews living on a planet that is living itself, this story explores ideas about community and individuality, the gender binary and fluidity, rejection and acceptance, inclusion and hope. And like all fun science fiction, it does it with exciting concepts like "planet minds," telepathy and shapeshifting aliens. The main conflict is an original and refreshing one, and a very clever way to address questions of gender identity in a simultaneous futuristic and traditional setting. The planet-mind is willing to accept the settling humans and let them live there, consciously, but it has unconscious "immune systems" that will reject them if it senses hostility or rejection in kind. The planet has created a being named Adira, a single, nonbinary (or maybe genderfluid, since she is a shapeshifter and "can be male or female," as the humans note, though she consistently uses she/her pronouns) entity who 'represents' the entire planet in humanoid form. (Maybe it's because I'm currently re-watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but it was very natural for me to grasp all of these concepts. The ocean becomes a drop, the drop becomes an ocean.) For harmony - and Adira's humanoid shape! - to be maintained, the human Jewish Orthodox community must accept her - wholeheartedly, happily, and believe it - or be rejected automatically by the planet's "immune system" like a virus. They run into trouble when they have to account for the gender binary according to religious doctrines - to which the title, "Three Partitions" refers - it's the barriers that separate men, women, and other genders during religious services. (And maybe elsewhere in life.) I wasn't familiar with a lot of these concepts (and looked up the new words, which I suggest readers do if they're new to the language, while reading; it will only add to the experience, and you'll learn things!), but this in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the story, so please don't let this deter you. It's also important to note that this is not really a story about religious intolerance, or denouncing the Jewish Orthodox faith- it seems (to my uneducated mind) to be more about the characters finding ways of interpreting their faith and incorporating it into their changing lives as they discover new wonders and states of being. (New life, and new civilizations...) It's a combination and marriage of faith and science, old and new. Culture and future are not mutually exclusive, and we do not have to abandon one to celebrate the other. One line/concept that sticks out in my mind and I know will stay with me is that "expectation effects reality" - the way the people perceive Adira alter her experience, and theirs as well. This rings so true, and reflects real life: the way people expect us to be and treat us alters how we feel and react back to them. It alters our "state of being." It alters our lives, and theirs in return. The way we are treated, or the way we are perceived alters the way we are. (If we are treated with love and acceptance, we thrive. If we are hated and feared, we wither, and the entire community suffers whether they know it or not.) Expectation effects reality. Even if I don't have the background to completely appreciate all of the concepts, or even all of the language in this small gem of a story, I do highly recommend giving it a read. In an avalanche of lens flares and edginess, it's stories like this that remind me what science-fiction and fantasy are actually for.
NONBINARY JEWISH SCI-FI.AND IT'S FREE TO READ TOO. NICE.
That was a really interesting story. It was well-written as well.
This is what I have wished and dreamed for so many years. A Jewish religious science fiction story. Seeing how long I have waited my expectations may have been a little too high.Pros:-The Judaism in this story felt so real. If a chasidic group decided to settle on a different planet sometime in the future this is exactly how it would be. The kiddush room, the shi’urim, the Rebbe (vs the rabbi).-Everything bit of the Judaism is explained so people who don’t know the chasidic culture can understand but it blends in so seamlessly that even I, who does know the chasidic culture, hardly noticed.-Because the story took place on Shabbat (the day of rest) not much technology was involved but what was also took place in the context of Judaism and felt real.Cons:-It was too hard to understand what was happening. I felt like we needed an explanation of what was happening before the story really started. I got the basic idea (that Adira is tied into the planet and if she dies that planet will kill everyone) but I needed more. What is mawal? Why can Adira shapeshift now? And why did she suddenly get sick?-The plot also seemed to suddenly have a jump between Adira needing to be saved to teaching the community a lesson.-Very objective, but I wish the story had been from Adira’s POV and not Chani’s. I think it might have been easier to understand some aspects of the plot better then.-Why are there no references to tumtum and androginus?
Warning: some body horror. It didn't affect my enjoyment, though.The flashbacks and multiplicity of perspectives were confusing, the first time around---I had to read it twice in a row. On the second read I got it and quite liked it, though I would agree with other reviewers that the world-building is stronger than the plot. (view spoiler)[An Orthodox Jewish community has to figure out how to accept a non-binary person when their survival is at stake. (hide spoiler)]This is surprisingly not-queer for a story about a person who's considered non-binary by her community, but it made sense in the context. (view spoiler)[Of course Chani's unexamined first assumption is going to be "oh, a man and a woman, they can get married now!" (hide spoiler)] It fits with her character and with Orthodox culture. I can see the community, down the road twenty or fifty years, having to reckon with the expanded gender possibilities that are arising in this story---it's just not happening yet. Because change is hard.
This story just didn't click for me (but it may for you). It was well written, I like Jewish fiction, I love seeing non-binary characters, and science fiction is my jam but these elements just didn't combine into something that will stay with me. I would recommend this story to someone looking for diverse SF/F reads or OwnVoices. Diversity highlight- Orthodox Jewish characters/setting, LGBTQ+ character
This was so good! I am unfamiliar with most Jewish traditions so this had a lot of unknown words, but most of them were either explained or I could guess them from context, so I wasn't as lost as I feared. I loved the characters, the story, the ending, and I loved that there was really no boring or unnecessary part - this story kept my attention from beginning to end. I'm glad I got to read it.
I found the amount of jargon made it really hard for me to follow. Admittedly, I'm not certain how much of what I parsed as jargon about extraterrestrials actually was, and how much was Hebrew that I just didn't recognize/understand.
What's this story about? You'd never guess from GR's description but superficially, Three Partitions has much in common with Embassytown.Take away the overbearing postmodernism (here, "metaphorical curtains" doesn't refer to metaphors serving as curtains), throw in Jewish humour and concerns while cutting the story down to the shape of a The Outer Limits episode... and you've got the picture. Or mabye not quite?Another angle then: whereas Embassytown uses stylistic gimmicks that remind us of Frank Herbert, Three Partitions draws on the master's themes to an extent its author may not have realized. Instead of maintaning a pretentious intellectual distance to the genre, it lovingly strives to bridge the gap between New Wave and a culture foreign to that tradition which has its own take on what it means to be human. And instead of fetichising language, it deals with the whole process of understanding.I found both the opening of the story and the worldbuilding much stronger than the plot or the ending.The setting is brilliant but much of the plot deals with fundamentalist mores, not something I'm very interested in honestly. Then again the story is short enough and you may learn something.The ending is more problematic. I likened the story to a The Outer Limits episode earlier. Well, it's like its special effects budget was spent on the first pages. Not only do we miss on the action: relationship stuff was built up and then we're suddenly served with ambiguous resolution. I'm all for letting the reader's imagination work but I still want something to chew on.warning: I got kind of a New Age vibe from the story. People seeking genuine quandaries or dark tales may be disappointed.