Queer*Welten 06/2021

Queer*Welten is a queer-feminist fantasy and scifi magazine, edited by Judith Vogt, Kathrin Dodenhoeft and Lena Richter. Issue 6 contains three short stories and an essay.
Finished on: 27.8.2022
[Here are my reviews of the other issues.]

This issue of Queer*Welten is probably not the strongest issue they published so far, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things to like in it, not at all. It’s definitely a good read and the short stories are so different, I assume that at least one will appeal to everybody.

The magazine cover showing the drawing of Black trans man in shorts and an open pink jacket. He is wearing a helmet that could be for water or for space, behind him is a glowing jellyfish and stars or waterbubbles.
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I Love You Just the Way You Are (Riley Rian)

I Love You Just the Way You Are is the first novel in the Rock Canyon series by Riley Rian.
Finished on: 18.8.2022
[I won this book in a LibraryThing Early Reviewer give-away.]

Content Note: (critical treatment of) transmisia

Maddie wants to spend her summer working at the café in peace before school starts again, where she will return after a home-schooling break during her transition. But her peace is short-lived when star-quaterback Kellan starts coming to the café – and tries to hit on Maddie. It’s not that Maddie hasn’t been dreaming about Kellan forever, but she is worried: does he even know that she is trans? And if not, what will he think when he finds out? And anyway, he has a reputation of having a new girl every week. So she rather blows him off than flirt. But Kellan doesn’t give up so easily. Or at all.

I Love You Just the Way You Are is wonderful when it comes to trans representation, but I struggled a little with Kellan as the romantic lead. Still, despite being a bit of a bumpy read, it is almost compulsively readable and has its heart in its right place.

The book cover showing a painting of young girl sitting on a skateboard.
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Queer*Welten 05/2021

Queer*Welten is a queer-feminist fantasy and scifi magazine, edited by Judith Vogt, Kathrin Dodenhoeft and Lena Richter. Issue 5 contains three short stories and an essay.
Finished on: 5.10.2021
[Here are my reviews of the other issues.]

I’m really happy with my Queer*Welten subscription. Each magazine is different in tone and style, and there’s always something to discover. There’s really nothing more you could hope for.

The magazine cover showing a painting of a futuristic greenhouse with a cupola, a pool and pillars with plants winding around them.
Read more about each of the stories

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.
Read more about each of the stories

Felix Ever After (Kacen Callender)

Felix Ever After is a novel by Kacen Callender.
Finished on: 25.6.2021

Content Note: (critical treatment of) transmisia, queermisia

Felix is a student at an art school, hoping to get into a good college to pursue his art further. He therefore attends summer school with his best friend Ezra. He is also Black, trans, queer and desperate to fall in love for the first time, but secretly afraid that he has one marginalized identity too many. And maybe he is not all that sure about his identities anyway. Before he figures anything out, though, Felix arrives in school one morning to find pre-transitions photos of himself and his deadname plastered all over the school gallery. Suspecting his classmate and rival Declan, Felix hatches a plan to make him pay. But that plan leads him somewhere else entirely.

Felix Ever After is wonderful. Simply wonderful. It’s the kind of novel that queer people everywhere should grow up with, really. It made my heart swell in the best of ways.

The book cover showing an illustration of a Black guy in a tank top. His arms are covered in small tattoos, he is wearing a flower crown and underneath the tank top, we can just make out scars from top surgery.
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Recognize Fascism (ed. by Crystal M. Huff)

Recognize Fascism is a short story collection edited by Crystal M. Huff.
Finished on: 17.1.2021
[I won this book in an LibraryThing Early Review Give-Away.]

The title of this collection is well chosen – all the stories revolve around fascism, recognizing it, fighting it, preventing it, getting out of it. In their introduction to this collection, Huff notes they were uncertain if they could edit it – whether they knew enough about fascism to do so. But they point out the problem with fascism in a very clear way:

Fascists foster uncertainty in order to undermine the ground you stand on when you declare, “This is fascist.” It’s akin to developing a political Impostor Syndrome, until you are second-guessing yourself at each turn. Fascism evades and evolves, such that you can’t exactly pinpoint it. It is a moving target. It gaslights. If you are unclear about what it is and can’t put your finger on it, pushing back against it is so much more difficult! Fascists then weaponize this confusion to secure your acquiescence.

So, they need not have worried about that, and it shows in the stories they collected that show a broad range of SciFi and Fantasy settings that all come back to the central theme. It is also an excellent example for feminist practice by using clear and extensive content notes for each story, so props for that as well (I will therefore not use Content Notes in this review, unless I discuss something in detail). Altogether, it’s an anthology that is very consistent in its high quality and I really enjoyed reading it.

The book cover showing the drawing of a young Black woman with a crown made of flames.

[Read more about each of the stories after the jump.]

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Freshwater (Akwaeke Emezi)

Freshwater is Akwaeke Emezi‘s debut novel.
Finished on: 17.6.2020

Content Note: rape

When Ada is born, the door to the spirit world doesn’t close properly and so Ada is not alone in her body; she is ogbanje. She grows up in Nigeria, but moves to the USA to attend college. Things are not easy for her and as she encounters traumatizing events, the different parts of herself become more pronounced and develop personalities of their own to cope with everything.

Freshwater is a fascinating, difficult book. Albeit very readable, you need to put in some work – but if you do, you will be rewarded with a complex character or characters in an interesting setting.

The book cover with the following quote in capital letters:
I have lived many lives inside this body. 
I lives many lives before they put me in this body.
I will live many lives when they take me out of it.
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No Man of Woman Born (Ana Mardoll)

No Man of Woman Born is a short story collection by Ana Mardoll.
Finished on: 6.6.2019

The short stories in this collection all revolve around the observation how easy it is to be “no man of woman born” when you stop thinking of gender in the binary or as something set at birth. Every story is another interpretation of it, another subversion of this old prophecy. It’s a beautiful, entertaining collection and a crash course in getting used to neopronouns.

The book cover showing a woman clutching a giant sword.
Read More about each of the Stories

Fantasy Magazine 47

Fantasy Magazine 47 is the February 2011 issue, edited by Cat Rambo and Sean Wallace. It contains four short stories.
Finished on: 19.11.2018

The stories here are very different in tone, setting and style. I fell in love with one of them and enjoyed the other three, so I’d say, it is a very successful collection that introduced me to some good new authors.

The magazine cover showing a mermaid with a magic wand hovering over the small figure of a person walking.
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Behind the Mask: A Superhero Anthology (Ed. by Tricia Reeks and Kyle Richardson)

Behind the Mask is an anthology of superhero stories edited by Tricia Reeks and Kyle Richardson.
Finished on: 29.1.2018
[I won this book as an uncorrected ARC in a Librarything Early Reviewer giveaway.]

Behind the Mask is a very entertaining anthology. Of course, there are stories that worked better for me than others, but overall, I had a lot of fun with the various takes on superheroes in this, stretching from origin stories to questions of inheritance, from every day obstacles to big fights.

After the jump, there’s more about each of the stories separately.

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