The Unraveling (Hardcover)

The Unraveling By Benjamin Rosenbaum Cover Image

The Unraveling (Hardcover)

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“A wildly inventive, funny, and ultimately quite heartfelt novel, The Unraveling is a chaotic romp of gender deconstruction packaged up in a groovy science-fictional coming-of-age tale.” —Chicago Review of Books

Otherwise Award Honor List | Longlist, British Science Fiction Award | Locus Recommended Reading List for 2021 

So much can be controlled in the future…but not a person’s heart.

In the far-off future, Fift is a Staid-gendered youth just trying to figure out life in the bustling but rigid social system of Fullbelly. And, as if mastering zir three bodies and satisfying zir twelve parents weren’t enough to handle, Fift’s taboo relationship with Vail-gendered Shria is a controversy waiting to happen.  

When Fift and Shria wind up at the center of a scandal that sparks a multilayered Unraveling of society, Fift is torn between the safety of zir family and zir attraction to Shria, between social compliance and staying true to zir feelings . . . all while zir personal crises suddenly take on global significance. What’s a young Staid to do when the whole world is watching?

Benjamin Rosenbaum brings warmth and humor to this thoughtful coming-of-age story, asking who utopias are meant for—and what can change when everyone has a voice. In a world vastly different from our own, The Unraveling is bright with possibility, joining the ranks of innovative science fiction that challenges gender, society, and culture with an expansive and creative vision of what the future can be.
Benjamin Rosenbaum has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, BSFA, Sturgeon, and World Fantasy Awards. He is the author of the short story collection The Ant King and Other Stories and the Jewish historical fantasy tabletop role-playing game "Dream Apart", and the Jewish historical fantasy interactive fiction game The Ghost and the Golem, forthcoming from Choice of Games. He also co-hosts the podcast Mohanraj and Rosenbaum Are Humans. Originally from Arlington, VA, he lives near Basel, Switzerland, with his wife and children. He can be found online at
Product Details ISBN: 9781645660019
ISBN-10: 164566001X
Publisher: Erewhon Books
Publication Date: June 8th, 2021
Pages: 416
Language: English
★ “This beautifully written debut is a thorough, well-realized picture of a world with a radically different concept of gender and the body that nonetheless has its own forms of oppression. Rosenbaum's novel is essential reading for anyone interested not only in speculative fiction that plays with gender norms, but also in quality SF in general. Highly recommended.” —Booklist, starred review

“[A] complex meditation on fame, taboo, gender, and social control . . . as mind-bending as it is satisfying.”—Publishers Weekly

“A wildly inventive, funny, and ultimately quite heartfelt novel, The Unraveling is a chaotic romp of gender deconstruction packaged up in a groovy science-fictional coming-of-age tale.” —Chicago Review of Books

“A stunning far-future tale of what families might look like in a world where networking technology allows people to live in several bodies at the same time.” Science Friday

“An immersive future history, The Unraveling is a fantastic adventure that is also a story about the love that binds us to each other—and to the galaxy itself. Rosenbaum’s writing is wonderfully complex and whimsical, but most of all it is humane. No matter how alien his characters and worlds, they feel like kin.” —Annalee Newitz, author of Autonomous

“If you’ve followed Rosenbaum’s work to date—glittering, cerebral,hilarious short fiction—then it will not surprise you to learn thatthis is a book that is as weird and wild as shoes on a snake.”—Cory Doctorow, author of Walkaway

“I hope a ton of people read this book, think about it, and talk about it, as this is the book that could launch a hundred think pieces and a thousand imitators . . . I truly feel like The Unraveling is a reinvention of new directions stories can go when playing with science fiction’s favorite questions: What If? Why Not?” —Little Red Reviewer

“The wonders of this novel are best revealed by reading it. . . . I was surprised again and again.” —Rich Horton, editor of Locus