Queer*Welten 03/2020

Queer*Welten is a queer-feminist fantasy and scifi magazine, edited by Judith Vogt, Kathrin Dodenhoeft and Lena Richter. Issue 3 contains two short stories, a comic, an essay and a mix of several short pieces in different forms about heroes.
Finished on: 12.7.2021
[Here are my reviews of the other issues.]

The third issue of Queer*Welten collects yet again different perspectives and voices within SFF that both talk about and show how different SFF could be if it wasn’t just a white cis dude club. I really like how they always manage to include so many different facets of the issues they talk about – this issue is no different in that regard, but a lot different from what SFF often offers.

The magazine cover showing a drag queen astronaut with blue skin.

Präventive Devastation [Preventive Devastation] (Anne Neuschwandner)

Sara finds herself locked in by a wall that surrounds her on all sides and communicates with her, as the world around her goes up in flames.

Präventive Devastation is a well-written, entertaining story. The idea behind this short story isn’t particularly new, but I did like the solution here – that was one I certainly haven’t seen before.

Held*innen-Collage

In this collection-within-the-collection, Patricia Eckermann writes about Black, female heroes and how they empowered her. Judith C. Vogt writes a poem-letter “Lieber Held” [Dear Hero] to the usual heroes. Susanne Pavlovic writes about what kind of women get to be heroes in fiction. In “Mosaik” [Mosaic] by Lena Richter, heroes sent by the gods have quite an impact on the “non-heroes”. Sarah Stoffers writes about why heroes are so important to us – and what might be dangerous about them. In “Heldin” [Heroine] by Iris Villiam, Anri has to go through a lot, but she knows that it is all worth it.

I really liked this quilt-like structure of this focus in the issue, approaching the same topic from various angles, all bringing something new to the table. While I can’t say that my view about heroes or heroism has shifted substantially, through the pieces here (it was more of a confirmation of what I thought already), that’s not really what I expected anyway. As is so often the case, I liked the fiction pieces a little better than the non-fiction ones, with a particular favorite in Heldin by Iris Villiam that makes an evocative and good point.

Eine alte Liebe [An Old Love] (Daniela Schreiter)

An old mermaid sees a woman on land she likes.

This short, one-page comic is super-sweet and cute. I wouldn’t mind a sequel for those two!

That Escalated Quickly (Oliver Kontny)

Content Note: (critical treatment of) homomisia

Jessica, Tobias, Ardagil and Öndegil are LARPing, but after they stay at an inn for the night, things become strange even for a LARP, and that is not just because Tobias has to comment on Ardagil and Öndegil being a couple.

I was sometimes a little confused by this story. I assume that was part of its design (how much is actually part of the roleplay, how much does really happen), but I think I would have preferred a little more clarity. That being said, it definitely nails the parts with the usual arguments against diversity in fantasy (in general) in Tobias, and the problems with white feminism in Jessica.

Lasst uns die Phantastik zerstören [Let’s Destroy Fantasy] (Frank Reiss)

In this essay, Reiss talks about what a queer narrative actually is, how it destroys classic fantasy as so many conservatives fear – and how that’s actually a good thing.

Reiss found inspiration in the special editions by Fantasy Magazine and Lightspeed Magazine and goes more into depth into queer narratology which I found very interesting and don’t know that much about. He gives us a good primer in that regard for sure.

Summarizing: another well-rounded issue.

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