Fit for Consumption: Stories Both Queer and Horrifying

Steve Berman. Lethe, $15 trade paper (194p) ISBN 978-1-59021-225-7
These 13 stories from Berman (Vintage) are equal parts tantalizing and terrifying, centering queer male protagonists plagued by horrors both quotidian and otherworldly. Parasites invade postapocalyptic refugees and teenage campers in “The Balm of Sperrgebiet Is the Krokodil” and “Unwelcome Boys,” respectively, while subtler horror creeps in at the edges of “The Letter That Doomed Nosferatu” and “Passion, Like a Voice—That Buds.” Berman takes the works of classic authors into new realms of possibilities in “Poetaster” and “The Unsolved ‘Case of the Club Tarrare’ ” and manages to capture many experiences of the queer community, from unique peer dynamics in “In Summer Broken,” to growing old without finding a partner in “D Is for Delicious.” Readers will be gratified that even among these macabre tales there are some happy endings for the LGBTQ protagonists. These tales offer a vast variety of narrators—modern-day teens, ill shut-ins, and multiple men from generations past—but Berman’s dense, poetic style is suited to some voices and time periods better than others. Still, readers seeking to explore the dark underbellies of the queer community will fall for these lush tales and forgive them their sometimes too-intricate trappings. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/16/2021
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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