Good summer reads
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I'd recommend Melissa Scott's and Lisa Barnett's Pointsmen series. Matriarchal culture, interesting gay male protagonist, fun fantasy culture and a mystery thrown in for good measure.
It's more "fun experiment as an undercover drag king" than "soul-searching memoir of a gender nonconformist," but Vincent does get into how the experience reinforced or changed her (fairly staid) conception of gender roles, and writes some pretty compelling diatribes on what it means to be a man in our society and what's wrong with that picture. What kept me reading, though, wasn't her theories on gender, but her punchy wit and apparent knack for inserting herself into the 'secret lives' of somewhat exclusive groups (What really goes on in a monastery? What keeps shady salesmen going door to door?)
Check out the insightful reviews on the Work page for more.
If you want to pursue highly-crafted genre novels, you might want to try Geoff Ryman's Air. That one has a third-world woman heroine in a near future setting.
2: I agree. It's the portraits of the people Vincent meets that make the book.
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