Lesbian Short Fiction #1
Reviewed by Carl Cipra
Edited by Jinx Beers
Rating: none given
One of the pleasures of attending Worldcon in Anaheim this year was
that it gave me a chance to meet up with all those West Coast friends whom
I haven't seen in a long time. It was while I was in the dealers' room
schmoozing with a couple of long-time acquaintances - artist Alicia Austin
and her life partner/manager Jinx Beers - that I discovered that the premiere
issue of Lesbian Short Fiction had been published.
A request for submissions for this publication had been advertised in
the June/July '95 issue of Science Fiction Chronicle; and I duly
reported on that fact in the Sept. '95 issue of this newsletter. That being
the case, I decided to pick up a copy and see how it all turned out. I
figured I might enjoy some of the stories and that I might be able to provide
some sort of polite response on the rest - but that's just not the way
things turned out. You see, only some of the stories are merely
"good" - others are very good! (This despite the fact that, as an
exclusively gay male reader, I'm afraid some of the lesbian erotica stories
are lost on me.)
Lesbian Short Fiction is projected as a quarterly publication.
Jinx Beers is the editor, with Katherine V. Forrest as an advisor. (And
it features cover and interior line-drawing illustrations by Alicia Austin.)
It will anthologize short fiction about lesbians - not necessarily
just short fiction by lesbians. The "genre" of the fiction is totally
open - the first issue, for instance, includes mystery, gothic, romance,
fantasy, humor, erotica, and vignettes of lesbian life.
Issue #1 contains 21 pieces of short fiction, from first-time authors
as well as from authors who have already had stories and/or novels published.
Only four of these stories are from the F&SF genre: "Sister Wolf" (a
tale of magical reality by Lisa Marie Neff); "A Victorian Ending" (a vampire
tale by Shirley Williamson); "The Lore of the Ages" (high fantasy about
a girl and a dragon, by genre artist George Barr); and "Salt" (a fascinating
Biblical fantasy based on the Genesis 19 story of Lot's wife, by Donna
Allegra). Jinx says she's got more F&SF slated for upcoming issues.
I think the most powerful stories in this issue, however, are the vignettes
of contemporary lesbian life. Four of them come immediately to mind: "Talking
to Dorothy" (by Joan M. Drury) is a poignant story about losing a life
partner. "Film Fatale" is a new short murder mystery featuring Elizabeth
Pincus' lesbian San Francisco private eye, Nell Fury. (I've already been
over to Lammas to hunt up the four previous "Nell Fury" novels.) Margot
Addison's "Talking to My Angel" effectively highlights the frustrations
of military "closets." And "Sy" (by Lee Lynch) is a thought-provoking tale
about how internalized societal pressures have kept an older woman in the
closet until the moment of her death. These four stories alone make this
issue a "must read."
As I said earlier, Lesbian Short Fiction is projected as a quarterly
publication; and Jinx says the 2nd and 3rd issues are already in production.
The cover price for an issue is $9.95; but you can subscribe for 4 issues
for $36. To subscribe, make checks payable to "Jinx Beers, Editor" and
send them to: LSF, 6507 Franrivers Ave., West Hills, CA 91307. (Jinx says
they're also interested in getting feedback from readers.) I know that
Lammas has copies of Issue #1.
I highly recommend Lesbian Short Fiction; and I look forward
to reading future issues. Besides, as a member of Lambda Sci-Fi, how can
I not love a publication that features the letters "LSF" prominently
on the cover?