Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Review: Wilde Stories 2010 edited by Steve Berman (Lethe Press)


I love anthologies!

I've loved reading them for as long as I can remember.  They're almost always a quick, enjoyable read and I often find an author I've never heard of, whose writing so impressed me that I immediately set out to read their other work.  Even better, if I'm lucky enough to come across a themed anthology, I'm able to lose myself in the different variations that the writers come up with, which when read together, make for a many faceted, beautiful picture.

WILDE STORIES is just such an anthology.  The "theme" here is stories featuring gay protagonists and Steve Berman has done an admirable job of collecting the best in gay specualtive fiction from the last year, "..tales of men haunted sometimes by ghosts and sometimes by handsome wolves on two legs-by outsider artists or strange neighbors."  This third edition of WILDE STORIES has several excellent stories that most readers may not have ever found if it wasn't for Mr. Berman gathering them here in one volume.  Here are my best of the best:

Laird Barron's "Strappado" opens the collection, a chilling piece about a pair of lovers and their participation in a deadly "guerilla" art exhibit.  Ben Francisco gives us the magic realism of "Tio Gilberto And The Twenty Seven Ghosts", one of my favorites in this volume.  It's the story of a young gay man who goes to live with his uncle who himself is haunted by ghosts of his past; simply beautiful!  Another favorite of mine is "Ne Que V'on Desir" by Tanith Lee (writing as Judas Garbah), a sensual wolf tale that takes place on a train in the winter..."Some Of Them Fell" by Joel Lane is a coming of age story about a pair of young boys and what happens to them in the woods and their reunion years later.  Jameson Currier's "Death In Amsterdam" is a thriller/horror story that does a great job of ratcheting up the suspence as it builds to its climax and is an excellent story but seems to me more mainstream than speculative.  And bringing the collection to a dramatic close is "The Far Shore" by Elizabeth Hand.   As always, Hand takes myth and fairy tale and twists them into something new, here a story of a man who becomes part of a fairy tale himself...

WILDE STORIES 2010 is a pleasure to read and I definitely recommend it to any reader, be they gay or straight, who is looking for good, memorable speculative fiction and would enjoy walking down the paths these amazing writers will lead them.

You can get your copy of WILDE STORIES  2010 here http://www.lethepressbooks.com/

Steve Berman, editor

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