cover image We’re Here: The Best Queer Speculative Fiction 2020

We’re Here: The Best Queer Speculative Fiction 2020

Edited by C.L. Clark and series editor Charles Payseur. Neon Hemlock, $18.99 trade paper (264p) ISBN 978-1-952086-27-4

Clark (The Unbroken) and Payseur (The Burning Day) present a diverse, well-crafted anthology of queer speculative fiction, bringing together 16 stories from both established and emerging authors. Highlights include the ambiguous, multilayered “Escaping Dr. Markoff” by Gabriela Santiago, which subverts gothic film tropes to play with gender, sexuality, and race; Naomi Kanaki’s short, bittersweet “Everquest,” in which the protagonist’s video-game avatar takes on a life of her own; “Salt and Iron” by Gem Isherwood, which explores redemption and the legacy of violence as its protagonist attempts to break a curse; and “The Wedding After the Bomb” by Brendan Williams-Childs, in which the nonbinary protagonist treks through a burned-out wasteland on their way to a wedding while contemplating the implications of apocalypse on their fundamental sense of self. There’s a wide range of genres and voices on offer, but all are thematically united by explorations of transformation and movement. This promising start to a new anthology series will appeal to any reader of contemporary short SFF, queer or otherwise, and reinforces Neon Hemlock’s spot at the apex of queer speculative fiction publishing. (Aug.)