In the Books Section:
Far Out: Recent Queer Science Fiction and Fantasy
Discussed January 2022
Edited by Paula Guran
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- "Destroyed by the Waters" by Rachel Swirsky – A gay couple in a relationship for over 50 years visit what is left of New Orleans (underwater).
- "The Sea Troll's Daughter" by Caitlin R. Kiernan – A variation on Beowulf.
- "And If the Body Were Not the Soul" by A.C. Wise – Ro (non-binary asexual) cannot abide physical contact with other humans and is jarred by an accidental touch by an alien.
- "Imago" by Tristan Alice Nieto – A murder victim is brought temporarily back to life to help catch her killer and finds her memories and identify have been shattered.
- "Paranormal Romance" by Christopher Barzak – Sheila runs a dating service to bring paranormals together.
- "Three Points Masculine" by An Owomoyela – A soldier deals with a man he believes is faking his gender in order to serve in the Women's Volunteer Corps.
- "Das Steingeschöpf" by G.V. Anderson – A young stone restorationist received his first commission to repair a living statue in Bavaria.
- "The Deepwater Bride" by Tamsyn Muir – A "ghastly abyssal intelligence" rises to overwhelm humanity.
- "The Shape of My Name" by Nino Cipri – A time-travel love story.
- "Otherwise" by Nisi Shawl – "A queer poly teen romance" in a world where all adults have succumbed to a drug craze and disappeared.
- "The Night Train" by Lavie Tidhar – A bio-medically modified bodyguard attempts to protect her crime lord boss from assassination aboard a train bound for Laos.
- "Ours Is the Prettiest" by Nalo Hopkinson – A romance in Bordertown (between Elfland and the World).
- "Don't Press Charges and I Won't Sue" by Charlie Jane Anders – A trans woman is seized by an agency that forces detransition via brain transplant.
- "Driving Jenny Home" by Seanan McGuire – A grieving young woman cannot let go of the ghost of her girlfriend.
- "I'm Alive, I Love You, I'll See You in Reno" by Vylar Kaftan – "A story of love, loss, and physics" – a complicated relationship across time and space.
- "In the Eyes of Jack Saul" by Richard Bowes – Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, as seen through the eyes of a member of a Victorian male brothel.
- "Secondhand Bodies" by Neon Yang – A woman pays for an illegal body trade rather than waiting for a new body to be grown.
- "Seasons of Glass and Iron" by Amal El-Mohtar – A mash-up of two fairytales: the girl in the iron shoes and the princess on the glass mountain.
- "Né le!" by Darcie Little Badger – An Apache veterinarian is awakened from stasis mid-way to Mars when 40chihuahuas and a husky need care.
- "The Duke of Riverside" by Ellen Kushner – The story of how scholar Alec met swordsman Richard St. Vier in a Riverside tavern.
- "Cat Pictures Please" by Naomi Kritzer – An AI wants to help humans and enjoys viewing cat pictures.
- "The Lily and the Horn" by Catherynne M. Valente – Feuding houses settle their disputes by engaging in a deadly dinner party.
- "Calved" by Sam J. Miller – An illegal ice-hauler tries to show his estranged son how much he loves him, with disastrous results.
- "The River's Children" by Shweta Narayan – A gender-non-confirming prince marries his dearest friend, a gender-fluid river goddess.
- What's your overall impression of this anthology? Did you like it?
- Guran says: "...for this anthology I decided the stories should feature queer characters important to the plot, usually but not necessarily as the central actors. Stories might feature an LGBTQ+ character or characters or a queer perspective or point of view." Do you think she achieved her goal?
- What did you think about Guran's introductory essay about the history of queer anthologies?
- There's a wide range of interpretations of "Queer" included in this anthology. Which ones did you find most interesting? Most challenging?
- Did you have a favorite story?
- Anthologies are often critiqued on the "inconsistent quality" of the stories they contain. What's your opinion of the quality of the stories in this anthology?
- Several of the authors presented here have also published novels – for example: Caitlin Kiernan, Christopher Barzak, Nisi Shawl, Nalo Hopkinson, Seanan McGuire, Ellen Kushner, and Catherine Valente. If you have read a novel by one of these authors, how would you compare it against the short story in this anthology?
- What you think about including anthologies in our book discussions? Do you enjoy reading a variety of stories with a common theme? Do you find anthologies more difficult to discuss than novels? Should we continue to include anthologies (or collections by a single author) in our book discussion?