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Common Bonds: An Aromantic Speculative Anthology

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Common Bonds is an upcoming anthology of speculative short stories and poetry featuring aromantic characters. At the heart of this collection are the bonds that impact our lives from beginning to end: platonic relationships. Within this anthology, a cursed seamstress finds comfort in the presence of a witch, teams of demon hunters work with their rival to save one of their Common Bonds is an upcoming anthology of speculative short stories and poetry featuring aromantic characters. At the heart of this collection are the bonds that impact our lives from beginning to end: platonic relationships. Within this anthology, a cursed seamstress finds comfort in the presence of a witch, teams of demon hunters work with their rival to save one of their own, a peculiar scholar gets attached to those he was meant to study, and queerplatonic shopkeepers guide their pupil as they explore their relationship needs and desires. Through nineteen stories and poems, Common Bonds explores the ways platonic relationships enrich our lives.


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Common Bonds is an upcoming anthology of speculative short stories and poetry featuring aromantic characters. At the heart of this collection are the bonds that impact our lives from beginning to end: platonic relationships. Within this anthology, a cursed seamstress finds comfort in the presence of a witch, teams of demon hunters work with their rival to save one of their Common Bonds is an upcoming anthology of speculative short stories and poetry featuring aromantic characters. At the heart of this collection are the bonds that impact our lives from beginning to end: platonic relationships. Within this anthology, a cursed seamstress finds comfort in the presence of a witch, teams of demon hunters work with their rival to save one of their own, a peculiar scholar gets attached to those he was meant to study, and queerplatonic shopkeepers guide their pupil as they explore their relationship needs and desires. Through nineteen stories and poems, Common Bonds explores the ways platonic relationships enrich our lives.

30 review for Common Bonds: An Aromantic Speculative Anthology

  1. 5 out of 5

    leo | 飛べ

    Ehm, excuse me why is no one talking about this?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kara Babcock

    Full disclosure: I was a Kickstarter backer for this book. I was very excited for Common Bonds, because I am aromantic, but that’s an identity that isn’t well-represented in mainstream media (and when it is, it’s usually conflated with/paired with asexuality—I am also asexual, but I like the split attraction model because it helps me discuss my experiences with nuance). A great deal of this review will be me talking about the importance of books like this. But first, stories! Honestly, none of th Full disclosure: I was a Kickstarter backer for this book. I was very excited for Common Bonds, because I am aromantic, but that’s an identity that isn’t well-represented in mainstream media (and when it is, it’s usually conflated with/paired with asexuality—I am also asexual, but I like the split attraction model because it helps me discuss my experiences with nuance). A great deal of this review will be me talking about the importance of books like this. But first, stories! Honestly, none of these stories jumped out at me as stand-out entries. This is fine and something I’ve come to expect from anthologies—or rather, from how I experience anthologies. I find short stories challenging at the best of times, and the start of this year has been challenging for me in terms of reading in general. So I’m not surprised that I can’t pick out any one or two stories as the best of this collection. What I can say, however, is that these stories are incredibly varied and diverse in all senses—structure, plot, representation, theme. The editors of this collection did a great job selecting submissions that not only portray a wide range of aromantic experiences but also a wide range of speculative fiction. While I would say most of the stories tend towards fantasy, there is some science fiction—and beyond genre, we also have some poetry! Some of my favourite stories were the shorter, calmer ones that were a small number of scenes—but there are also longer, more adventurous stories here as well. Aromanticism is prominent in many of the stories and less so in others. For example, in “A Full Deck,” by Avi Silver, the antihero protagonist’s aromanticism is pivotal to taking on an incubus. In other stories, like “Shift,” by Mika Standard, the protagonist’s aromanticism is mentioned and important but not central to the story, which is mostly about trying to figure out how to tell your roommate you know she’s a werewolf. That’s the other thing I like about this anthology: the stories are just good in general at modelling excellent use of pronouns, of consent, of respecting boundaries and talking about relationships. This anthology is so much more than a collection of stories and poems about aromanticism. But it is definitely that too. And this is perhaps what surprised me about Common Bonds: despite the individual stories not making much impression on me, overall they … added up, I guess? About two thirds of the way through this collection, I began to feel a kind of weight settle on me, in a good way. It was a weight of recognition, or of feeling recognized. I realized that, while I have read a few books here and there with aro characters, the concentrated dose of aro experiences here was powerful for me. I’ll blog more about this next month when it is Aromantic Awareness Week, but I have been thinking lately about how being aro in a society that privileges romance over friendship stunted my making of adult friends until quite recently. The stories here in Common Bonds made me feel seen and filled me with joy, because they reflect back a life I recognize. These are stories of people with partners despite not desiring romance, of people who live by themselves because that is what they prefer. It made me think about how I have one platonic friendship that is, above others, so important and essential to me, a relationship that others could mistake as romantic because of its intensity but is, to its core, not. I appreciated the stories, like “Cinder,” by Jennifer Lee Rossman, that articulate the heady feelings of meeting your platonic soulmate. This anthology is important because we need to talk about how our society portrays romance as a higher good. I have nothing against romance, either as a concept or as a genre—but friendship, companionship, family (chosen or otherwise), and one’s own individual selfhood—those things are important too. This is a collection of stories and experiences that ask, “What if romance were not the end goal?” I think we should ask that more often. I hope this is not the last anthology of aromantic speculative fiction. Would back again. Originally posted on Kara.Reviews, where you can easily browse all my reviews and subscribe to my newsletter.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ace

    ANTHOLOGY ABOUT PLATONIC BONDS THAT HAS THE WORD AROMANTIC ON THE COVER IS LITERALLY ALL I'VE EVER WANTED. ANTHOLOGY ABOUT PLATONIC BONDS THAT HAS THE WORD AROMANTIC ON THE COVER IS LITERALLY ALL I'VE EVER WANTED.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Artemis

    I was excited to back this on Kickstarter, and excited to read it when I got it! It's a fun and engaging anthology. It leans much more heavily fantasy than sci-fi, and as with any anthology the stories are of variable quality, but they were all clearly heartfelt. Some standout star stories were "Busy Little Bees" by Polenth Blake (my favorite!) and "Spacegirl and the Martian" by Cora Ruskin. I also quite liked "A Full Deck" by Avi Silver and "Not to Die" by Rosiee Thor. Through the collection, it I was excited to back this on Kickstarter, and excited to read it when I got it! It's a fun and engaging anthology. It leans much more heavily fantasy than sci-fi, and as with any anthology the stories are of variable quality, but they were all clearly heartfelt. Some standout star stories were "Busy Little Bees" by Polenth Blake (my favorite!) and "Spacegirl and the Martian" by Cora Ruskin. I also quite liked "A Full Deck" by Avi Silver and "Not to Die" by Rosiee Thor. Through the collection, it was interesting to see how the different authors rose to the prompt of including aromantic characters and centering platonic relationships. Some explicitly used the word "aromantic," and some got into specific discussions about asexuality, allosexuality, and demisexuality paired with it; some used the word and didn't specify any other orientation; some didn't use the word but alluded to not wanting romantic relationships or not feeling romantic attraction, in ways both well-integrated and clumsily forced; some, I was kind of interested to see, didn't actually make it explicit at all, and instead just told a story with no romance in it that centered a platonic relationship. Though there were some in which shoehorning in of the aro aspect could get awkward, but that kind of variety was refreshing and neat to see. There were several typos throughout that I noticed, and I would have liked a credits page listing all the contributors' bios like there is on the website, but overall I'm glad this project happened and glad that I got to read it. I wrote notes on each specific story and poem as I updated, which you can see here. A more in-depth and critically-minded story-by-story review is here.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ceillie Simkiss

    Everything I dreamed of This anthology was everything I wanted from it and more. It felt like the warmest hug and the comfiest blanket. Read it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kerstin

    Rating anthologies is always hard. I liked some of the stories more than others, as I always do, but this was definitely a nice collection of works. Most of the poetry wasn't actually explicitly speculative, but it was heartfelt, so I'm not mad about it, it just made me go "Hmm" when I realised that. Also, just wanted to let you know that I read part of this book on Valentine's Day out of spite lol. Also also, I'm honoured to be internet friends with Laya who did the cover art for this book. Beauti Rating anthologies is always hard. I liked some of the stories more than others, as I always do, but this was definitely a nice collection of works. Most of the poetry wasn't actually explicitly speculative, but it was heartfelt, so I'm not mad about it, it just made me go "Hmm" when I realised that. Also, just wanted to let you know that I read part of this book on Valentine's Day out of spite lol. Also also, I'm honoured to be internet friends with Laya who did the cover art for this book. Beautiful work as always.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jana

    I don't have words to describe how much I loved this. This was incredible I don't have words to describe how much I loved this. This was incredible

  8. 4 out of 5

    Martta

    Really liked it! This has a range of different kinds of love: not just friendship and queer-platonic relationships (which are my first associations with platonic relationships) but also found family, birth family, mentor-mentee relationships and bonds with pets. The different flavours of speculative elements were also pretty diverse: a lot of fantasy, including urban fantasy, high fantasy, and superheroes; some fairy-tale retellings/remixes; and a little bit of what I think of as sci-fi. In gene Really liked it! This has a range of different kinds of love: not just friendship and queer-platonic relationships (which are my first associations with platonic relationships) but also found family, birth family, mentor-mentee relationships and bonds with pets. The different flavours of speculative elements were also pretty diverse: a lot of fantasy, including urban fantasy, high fantasy, and superheroes; some fairy-tale retellings/remixes; and a little bit of what I think of as sci-fi. In general, I personally don't love fairy-tale and superhero stuff and prefer more space opera, but I thought everything in here was enjoyable and very cute. I do appreciate the fact that fairy-tales have this very formulaic "insta-love (at first sight)" convention that's interesting to challenge. Overall very cute, fun, and pleasant to read!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Pippin Hart • The Pigeon

    I CAN'T WAIT! I CAN'T WAIT!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Estel

    I am very glad that I KickStarted this anthology. There are some really good stories in here, and overall I enjoyed it. As an asexual I'm very glad to see more ace representation. The three star rating is because of the unevenness of the stories, but if you'd like to see some ace representation, or a whole anthology that is focused around non-romantic relationships (though there are quite a few queerplatonic relationships), give this a try. I am very glad that I KickStarted this anthology. There are some really good stories in here, and overall I enjoyed it. As an asexual I'm very glad to see more ace representation. The three star rating is because of the unevenness of the stories, but if you'd like to see some ace representation, or a whole anthology that is focused around non-romantic relationships (though there are quite a few queerplatonic relationships), give this a try.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    For a book that I backed because it was supposed to be about platonic relationships I nearly gave up in the first half for the amount of sex and repetitive gender announcements, felt like half of every story was spent waffling about pronouns p, which was a bit pathetic in short stories. The second half rescued the collection with three really stand out stories - Astoria III, Seams of Iron and Busy Little Bees were all excellent

  12. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    This starts with a society that's centered around aromatics (just *chefs kiss*) and continues to have fun gems throughout. I love the broad range of aromanticism shown and how central or not it is to the stories. This starts with a society that's centered around aromatics (just *chefs kiss*) and continues to have fun gems throughout. I love the broad range of aromanticism shown and how central or not it is to the stories.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Silvia

    Wonderfully written stories that most definitely deserve more attention. I was really tired of seeing romance being put everywhere so I bought this book and I was impressed by the quality of the stories and the creativity put behind every single one.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tanvi

    *implodes* Please let this be good

  15. 4 out of 5

    Charles

  16. 4 out of 5

    Adriana

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ash

  18. 5 out of 5

    Azear

  19. 4 out of 5

    Audreyreads333

  20. 4 out of 5

    Meerkatmarcato

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chuka98

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  23. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

  24. 5 out of 5

    Laya

  25. 5 out of 5

    Logan LePage

  26. 4 out of 5

    Julia

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tete

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  29. 5 out of 5

    Theanticharles007

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mohit

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