cover image Manhunt


Gretchen Felker-Martin. Tor Nightfire, $17.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-79464-2

Felker-Martin’s daring debut imagines a world in which a plague turns men into violent cannibals and those left alive must do whatever they can do survive, including—in the case of trans women like Beth and Fran—harvesting men’s genitals to keep the disease at bay themselves. The two meet up with Robbie, a gunslinging trans man bearing his own trauma, and together the three seek safety, facing waves of feral men, heavily armed TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) hell-bent on bringing about the extinction of trans women, and the labyrinthine dynamics of their own relationships as they process their brutal histories. Felker-Martin’s horror chops are top-notch, with gut-churning prose zoomed in on the strangeness of human bodies and on the characters’ squeamish relationships with the physical realm, and her exploration of mental illness, trauma, and dysphoria excellently complement the grimy atmosphere. The plot, however, doesn’t quite coalesce, with much of the narrative feeling like a series of vignettes lashed together, and it can be frustrating to process all the small-scale emotional beats without the clear vision of where the story might be heading. Still, this swings for the fences admirably. Fans of Poppy Z. Brite and Clive Barker should give this, well, ballsy postapocalyptic tale a shot. (Feb.)