Short story: “The Women of Our Occupation”

“The Women of Our Occupation,” by Kameron Hurley

Appeared here in Strange Horizons, July 31st, 2006; featured in episode 462 of Escape Pod, September 19th, 2014

2,793 words

A thoughtful and painful take on some big questions.

I think I detect an echo of Animal Farm at the end. The people in power are different, but oppression is the same no matter what form it takes.


On the value of devastating criticism

“My teacher[,] the great Ann Patchett, […] delivered, to my lasting gratitude, the most devastating criticism I’ve ever received in my life: something like, ‘If this is the kind of thing you want to write, then this is about as good as it’s going to get.'”

—J. Robert Lennon (x)

On freezing action in fiction

“It’s great to freeze action, you know. You can’t do it if you’re just sitting on the couch, because you’ll lose your reader every time. So Tobias Wolff does it by way of, you know, this bullet, and Steven Polansky does it by way of being stuck between second and third. So it gives you the narrative momentum to be able to digress because you know that you can keep your reader, you know, on the hook, essentially. And you can stretch that time as long as you want, as long as you just kind of keep the touchstones of what’s going on in the present, you know, situation.”

—David Gilbert, talking to Deborah Treisman on the November 2014 New Yorker Fiction Podcast