QUILTBAG+ Speculative Classics: Sea, Swallow Me and Other Stories by Craig Laurance Gidney

Craig Laurance Gidney has been writing queer Black speculative fiction for about two decades now, with two adult short story collections out (Sea, Swallow Me from 2008, and the 2014 Skin Deep Magic) and a young adult novel (Bereft, 2013). He writes primarily dark fantasy, weird fiction and horror, with a finely-crafted literary touch. I have previously read and enjoyed Skin Deep Magic and Bereft, and his most recent work: his chapbook The Nectar of Nightmares was given an ebook release last month. For this installment of the QUILTBAG+ Speculative Classics reviews series, I was happy to go back to his first collection, which was new to me.

A 2008 book also brings us nearer to the present than the titles we’ve previously covered, and almost to the cutoff of 2010. This choice has its own challenges, especially since many of the stories feature contemporary settings. ...

QUILTBAG+ Speculative Classics: The Fortunate Fall by Raphael Carter

In the last installment of the QUILTBAG+ Speculative Classics series, we discussed The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez, recently rereleased in a 25th anniversary edition. This week, we will tackle a book that hasn’t yet gotten a rerelease, and despite accolades and a steady trickle of reviewers rediscovering it over time, is still conspicuously missing from bookstore shelves: Raphael Carter’s The Fortunate Fall.

Raphael Carter was one of the earliest bloggers, maintaining the Honeyguide Web Log from 1998 to 2002, but despite this, it can be remarkably difficult to find personal information about zir. (Carter doesn’t have a current public online presence, but in the early 2000s, zie was using zie / zir / zirs / zirself pronouns.)

Carter is intersex and and transgender, and has a history of activism related to both. Zir satirical essay “The Murk Manual: How to Understand Medical Writing on Intersex” can still be ...

QUILTBAG+ Speculative Classics: The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez

Welcome to our new series, which will focus on reviewing QUILTBAG+ classics of speculative fiction—you can read the full introduction here. Today, we will begin by taking a look at a vampire novel with a time span ranging from slavery in the American South to the science fictional future: The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez.

The Gilda Stories is a Black / Indigenous lesbian vampire novel from 1991; it has recently seen its twenty-fifth anniversary reissue, in an expanded form. Gilda, the vampire heroine of the novel, also appears in a number of standalone short stories—I first came across a Gilda story when it was reprinted in one of the Heiresses of Russ lesbian SFF year’s best anthologies. (Specifically, the 2013 volume edited by Tenea D. Johnson and Steve Berman.)

Gilda is a fascinating character: she uses her superhuman strength and quasi-magical powers to support humans and fight ...

QUILTBAG+ Speculative Classics: Un-suppressing Minority Writing

In this series of columns, I will review classics of QUILTBAG+ speculative fiction—often out of print, little-known and seldom discussed. Even novels which were acclaimed in their day are frequently ignored now, creating the false impression that all QUILTBAG+ SFF is very recent.

For those who may be unfamiliar with the term, QUILTBAG+ is a handy acronym of Queer, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Trans, Bisexual, Asexual / Aromantic / Agender, Gay and a plus sign indicating further expansion. I find that it is easier to spell and remember than other variants of the acronym like LBGTQIA+.

Before we move on to specific books, I want to discuss exactly what I’m going to be covering and why, as I feel that every decision of inclusion or exclusion has a set of underlying assumptions and aims. Being explicit about my underlying assumptions will ideally prove helpful for everyone, and it might also be ...