cover image Stories to Sing in the Dark

Stories to Sing in the Dark

Matthew Bright. Lethe, $17 trade paper (284p) ISBN 978-1-59021-704-7

Bright’s haunting debut collection reimagines common speculative tropes through a queer lens. Many of the stories are quiet, with an undertone of sadness, pain, or loss. Some of the best ones center on LGBTQ characters and subvert old stereotypes. In “Director’s Cut,” a character hopes to escape the “bury your gays”–type fate that’s been written for him, refusing to die to atone for his sexuality. “Golden Hair, Red Lips” retells the story of Dorian Gray in an AIDS-ravaged San Francisco. “No Sleep in Bethlehem” is a gothic tale full of ghosts and pain in which a young man returns to his lover’s family home to help him settle the past. Each of these stories is engaging and fraught. Others seem to be comic relief, an attempt to lighten a collection that might read as grim, but they feel out of place. Bright’s work will enchant readers of dark speculative fiction who seek brighter futures for characters who have often been marginalized. (Oct.)