Wilde Stories like its namesake is out there, vivid and not afraid of speaking or living the “Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name”.
In this case Gay Speculative Fiction, stories gathered by Editor Steve Berman of these Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction stories. I started reading Mr. Berman’s Anthology of gay things that go bump in the night (or day) with the 2010 edition, and was impressed by its literary intelligence.
Speculative Fiction is very hard to do well, even without the gay part. So finding enough gay writers to make an anthology is probably very difficult to do and Mr. Berman is really very talented at doing it! I’m yearly impressed by his choices.
This year the Anthology (let’s call it that) has some pretty famous writers, Tom Cardamone, Richard Bowes, Lee Thomas, and Mr. Berman himself.
First and foremost of any Anthology is the stories, are they good?
Nothing probably could be as dismal as an Anthology with a bunch of lesser efforts. Quality is the keyword to these things and in Anthologies there seems to be only so many good writers give or take a year. Asking a writer for a short story is like asking a Hibernating Bear to wake up and do the dishes! Not going to happen. Still I’m pretty well pleased when I do see a writer making an effort, and here I think we have found a collection that just might have something for everybody.
Mr. Berman’s own story in the collection.
A fairly simple short story about a young man trapped or rather interned at a youth camp for wayward young adults. Saul escapes the camp and hits the highway but is picked up by a weird brother/sister team. Marley and his sister Dutch. They exhibit some odd behaviour especially on stopping at a gas station where they threaten Saul and kill the person working behind the counter. Phelps, one of the Admin’s at the youth camp stops by the gas station after Saul frees himself from Supernatural Marley and Dutch.
I would have liked to see about twice as many pages here. I like that Mr. Berman wrote this, and would like to see him have a story in each year.
Dunbar and Mason. Dunbar a dreamy sensitive that loves to garden and Mason his very in love lover who buy a home together just outside of New York City. Dunbar finds bones and scary things in the garden while Mason misses the city. As Mason’s angst and horror grow about the weird neighborhood Dunbar barely notices.
Story about one friend’s memory of another and the path less travelled by. Josh the sturdy one and Anthony the mystic.
One of the more memorable stories in the book. Phillip runs into an old friend J.D. who is somewhat of a crack-up buy modern standards. J.D. lets Phillip in on the possibility of reliving or changing the past by way of a practitioner of the Black Arts. An apothecary shop that sells memories… the cost… a little bit of Phillip’s fifth finger. Phillip has a memory of a young man that he…
A man has himself surgically altered to become a wolf. To pay for the operation the Wolf/Man who is gay has to turn tricks for his backers. He finds himself in love with a Linguist, who ends up dead by murder. The rest of the story entails the Linguist and his associates somehow mapping his brain into a computer to communicate with his ‘love’, or the Wolf/Man.
Probably the most effective of all the stories and the most creepy is The House by Lee Thomas. Here he has two gay ‘chubby bear type’ men finding sex in a very short period. The story is rather matter of fact about their budding attachment and very sexual appetites. When suddenly in the story the next door neighbor of one of the men commits suicide.
The catch is this man is a conservative Christian and leaves a Vendetta behind saying that he will create a sort of Armageddon.
The Dead Christian suddenly appears in his home and is ‘stapling’ people to his living room floor in the ‘cross’ fashion. Very spooky and probably not the way it’s supposed to happen.
These are just a few of the stories in the book. I would like to see a bit more Science Fiction in the stories and perhaps make the book longer if possible.
We look forward to Mr. Berman’s next edition of Wilde Stories.