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Won - PKD 2004, Nominated - Locus SciFi 2005, Nominated - Tiptree 2004
"Life" is a richly textured fictional biography of the brilliant Anna Senoz, a scientist who makes a momentous discovery about the X and Y chromosomes. Anna's discovery provokes widespread sexual rage and impacts cruelly on her career, her marriage, and her child. Ultimately, Anna faces a challenge that the practice of science alone cannot meet.
saw this as a straight line progression. He had seen her talent, he had nurtured her, she had gone off to have her babies (as women must). Now she was back, and he was grooming her for stardom: the discovery he had seen in germ plasm, in that first Transferred Y paper, come to fruition. They were struggling in a backwater, and secrecy was imperative, true. Otherwise, everything was as it should be. All Anna’s cruel defeats and long sacrifices, Nirmal’s past injustices, simply didn’t exist. And
they’d trained her to tell the difference between unconventional and dangerous. She’d been raised to mind her manners, pick up after herself, think for others, share the chores—and take no shit about other classes of restriction. He knew the feeling. He had a deep sense that they’d arrived here, in this south coast Brit university, on matching trajectories. Was that good or bad for him? It is opposites that attract. What lived behind that demure reserve? Maybe she was a lesbian. “Are you a
whispered. “But no. Your mind is elsewhere.” He lifted a copy of Anna’s Transferred Y paper and slapped it down on his desk as if he hoped to break all its bones. “If it cannot be distorted into the service of your much more interesting private preoccupations, your work in this lab does not engage you at all. I trusted you implicitly! It was extremely, extremely unpleasant for me to discover, in public, that you had chosen to present a peculiar hobbyhorse of your own—” Anna was dumbfounded. It
weekend off. More birds passed over: big geese flying in formation, their wings making an exhilarating noise. They both looked up, faces briefly transfigured. “Why’d you come back from Morocco for, anyway?” “I got a job offer, working on the net: decided to take it up.” “Groveling to the bosses after all, eh? So now you’re going to make your fortune.” “Nah. The only things on the net that make money are gossip, genealogy, and porn: the good old meat and potatoes.” Ramone smiled bitterly. “I
home unexpectedly and walk in here now…? Eyes half closed, he reached for his trusty kleenex from the bedside cabinet. And thought better of it. It would be a superb wank. However, he did not plan to get hooked on fantasies of a kind in which Anna, in life, would not willingly play her part. That way lies the abyss. If Spence was doomed to be an idle expat househusband he’d like to explore the role. He mused on spending the day naked, except for a slender golden cord around his waist and