Anyone ever read fanfic in which a lead character, one with whom we’re supposed to sympathize, has an abortion? I sort of want it to be mpreg, but I’ll take anything. After watching Prometheus (way to make an anti-science movie with spaceships!) and after Joss let me down with the Buffy comic, I just want to see someone—even if it’s a fantasy pregnant guy—act on the fact that a large number of unintended pregnancies end in abortion even if the fetus isn’t an alien that will kill you on the way out.
Spider Robinson, User Friendly: Warning: dude has rape issues and not much empathy with the ladies. After a couple of stories, in my horrified fascination I started to keep track, omitting essays and “raps.” First two stories: both have rape as plot point with bonus in one of them where the male protagonist achieves sexual success through confidence obtained by his violent retribution against the woman who surreptitiously recorded their sexual encounter (she's the rapist, see?). Next: rape threat as plot point. Next: no women involved, but offscreen rape of another character helps drive male protagonist’s damage. Next: planet where women must always agree to sex with anyone, including their fathers, as plot point which ends up being hi-larious reproductive coercion of man by woman per feminist conspiracy. Next: childless unfulfilled woman punished for being too good at her job/not good enough to be a mom, but no rape. Next: female protagonist, no rape (though she does it all for love). Next: rape for fun reference, no female characters. Next: no onscreen female characters, no rape, though you’ve got to love "You can't find out whether slapping a hysteric will calm him down by asking him: you have to try it and see what happens." Science: you’re doing it wrong. (Not unrelatedly: the movie Hysteria was in fact pretty funny even though it flirted with my embarrassment squick a number of times.) Next: female POV character authorizes her doppelganger to fuck her husband, then realizes it was rape, but it’s okay because he really loves her. Next: posthumans, no rape. Total: 7/11. Ugh.
Jim Butcher, Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files: Further adventures of Harry (and a couple of outsider POVs) scattered throughout both Butcher’s career and Harry’s. The writing is Butcher’s standard noirish, which means it’s pretty funny if you aren’t in that mindset: “The corpse of Sarah’s innocence lay on the floor along with her last meal ….” Though I did like the revitalization of the metaphor in “Caine and company departed in sullen silence, glaring daggers at me—well, glaring letter openers, anyway; Caine didn’t seem real sharp.”
Paolo Bacigalupi, The Windup Girl: Post-environmental apocalypse Thailand has survived by largely closing its borders to the gene-modified, sterile seeds of the megacorporations and relying on its own resources, but politics and plague threaten to disrupt its fragile equilibrium. With POV characters a Chinese refugee, a Japanese genetically engineered windup girl kept in sex slavery, a white Western calorie-man, and two key members of the Thai environmental ministry, Bacigalupi manages to show off a wide array of human suffering and infliction of suffering. Basically, people will keep ruining the world even as they’re also trying to save it in their conflicting and self-serving ways.