On International Women’s Day, several of the best writers in SF/F today reveal new stories inspired by the phrase “Nevertheless, she persisted”, raising their voice in response to a phrase originally meant to silence.
The stories publish on Tor.com all throughout the day of March 8th. They are collected here.
The Jump Rope Rhyme
“She was warned
She was given an explanation
Nevertheless, she persisted.
She persisted once. She persisted twice. She persisted three times….”
On planets all over the universe
Kids jump their ropes to this counting verse
Some think it’s Leia or Éowyn:
Women fight monsters and really win.
But you google one day in that distant time
To find the roots of the ancient rhyme
And the AIs link you to the history
So you read about the fight to keep us free.
You vaguely remember all those ancient things:
Caesar, and Hitler, and tyrant kings,
And the guillotine, and the Fifth of May
Anne Frank and Tubman and—it’s time to play!
So you run and skip and make fourteen
Thinking about the words that mean
She was warned, and explained at, and patronized
But persisted still, against their lies,
For you, the future, she in the past
Persisted, to make things good at last.
Then your best friend skips and goes out on ten,
Complains the gravity’s low again.
And your brother’s in, so you turn the rope
Persisting, in bad times, with only hope,
For you, in space, for the dream we share
Of a better future everywhere.
And on he skips till the rope gets twisted
At nineteen skips, and she still persisted.
Jo Walton is a science fiction and fantasy writer. She’s published a collection of Tor.com pieces, three poetry collections and thirteen novels, including the Hugo and Nebula winning Among Others. Her most recent book is Necessity. She reads a lot, and blogs about it here from time to time. She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal where the food and books are more varied.