In the distant future, somewhere in the galaxy, a world has evolved where each person has multiple bodies, cybernetics has abolished privacy, and individual and family success are reliant upon instantaneous evaluations of how well each member conforms to the rigid social system.
Young Fift is an only child of the Staid gender, struggling to maintain zir position in the system while developing a friendship with the acclaimed bioengineer Shria—a controversial and intriguing friendship, since Shria is Vail-gendered.
Soon Fift and Shria unintentionally wind up at the center of a scandalous art spectacle which turns into a multilayered Unraveling of society. Fift is torn between zir attraction to Shria and the safety of zir family, between staying true to zir feelings and social compliance . . . when zir personal crises suddenly take on global significance. What’s a young Staid to do when the whole world is watching?
About the Author
Benjamin Rosenbaum has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, BSFA, Sturgeon, and World Fantasy Awards. He is the author of the short story collection The Ant King and Other Stories and the Jewish historical fantasy tabletop roleplaying game “Dream Apart.” Originally from Arlington, VA, he lives near Basel, Switzerland with his wife and children.
An immersive future history, The Unraveling is a fantastic adventure that is also a story about the love that binds us to each other—and to the galaxy itself. Rosenbaum’s writing is wonderfully complex and whimsical, but most of all it is humane. No matter how alien his characters and worlds, they feel like kin.” —Annalee Newitz, Hugo and Lambda Award-Winning Author of Autonomous
“This beautifully written debut is a thorough, well-realized picture of a world with a radically different concept of gender and the body that nonetheless has its own forms of oppression. Rosenbaum's novel is essential reading for anyone interested not only in speculative fiction that plays with gender norms, but also in quality SF in general. Highly recommended.” —Booklist ★
“With this ambitious first novel . . . Rosenbaum’s story offers a complex meditation on fame, taboo, gender, and social control. Dense, inventive worldbuilding . . . tempered by the competent plotting and deeply human emotional core. Readers of secondary-world science fiction and science fantasy will find this to be as mind-bending as it is satisfying.” —Publishers Weekly
"I hope a ton of people read this book, think about it, and talk about it, as this is the book that could launch a hundred think pieces and a thousand imitators . . . I truly feel like The Unraveling is a reinvention of new directions stories can go when playing with science fiction’s favorite questions: What If? Why Not?" —Little Red Reviewer
"A wildly inventive, funny, and ultimately quite heartfelt novel, The Unraveling is a chaotic romp of gender deconstruction packaged up in a groovy science-fictional coming-of-age tale." —Chicago Review of Books
Praise for The Ant King and Other Stories: "Give him some prizes, like, perhaps, "best first collection" for this book." —Booklist (Starred review, Top 10 SF Books of the Year)
"Featuring outlandish and striking imagery throughout . . . this collection is a surrealistic wonderland." —Publishers Weekly
"Urbane without being arch, sweet without being maudlin, mysterious without being cryptic."—Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
"Lively, bizarre, and funny as well as dark, sinister, and sensual." —Boston Phoenix
"Contains invisible cities and playful deconstructions of the form. In "Biographical Notes to 'A Discourse on the Nature of Causality, With Air-Planes,' by Benjamin Rosenbaum"—yes, his name is part of the title—the author imagines a world whose technologies and philosophies differ wildly from ours. The result is a commentary on the state of the art that is itself the state of the art." —Los Angeles Times (Favorite Books of 2008)