There’s a new “low fi” spec fic anthology out that includes some queer stories and others by queer authors – “stories of wonder and the celebration of small successes”: “A Quiet Afternoon.”
A Quiet Afternoon brings readers thirteen Low-Fi tales of gentle speculative fiction, stories of wonder and the celebration of small successes. Ease into worlds of quiet triumph and gracious victories; of found families and unlikely friendships; magical constructs, pensive mermaids, fairies and dragons and a barbecue sauce that will literally change your life.
The stakes are low. The expectations are reasonable. The resolutions are satisfactory. Wrap yourself up in a cozy blanket, make a cup of tea, and enjoy A Quiet Afternoon.
Hey there, friend. How are you holding up? Are you resting when you’re tired? Drinking water even if you don’t feel thirsty?
It’s a weird way to start a foreword, but the world’s in a weird way.
In early 2019, Victoria Feistner and I just wanted to read speculative fiction that wasn’t high-stakes, where the fate of the world didn’t hinge on the actions of a single hero overcoming impossible odds. Real life was exhausting enough; surely there was a form of spec fic one could read for simple pleasure.
Well … not so much. Anime and manga do a good job of incorporating the fantastic with the mundane (Fruits Basket, Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, My Neighbour Totoro), but Western SF really likes its earth-shattering consequences and do-or-die protagonists. Obviously, a new speculative fiction genre was in order.
Welcome to Low-stakes Fiction, or Low-Fi.
The stakes are low. The expectations are reasonable. The resolutions are quietly satisfactory. Problems are solved with words, not violence. And sometimes, not much happens. There might not even be an appreciable amount of fantasy or science fiction.
Still, it’s Low-Fi. It feels cosy. It reads easy. It enjoys the little victories.
We started reading for A Quiet Afternoon in late 2019. The world was in a weird place, but that made the selection process relatively easy. If the story left behind a feeling of comfort, or relief, or a little sigh of “Wasn’t that nice,” then it was pretty much a shoo-in for the anthology. After all, we were reading for simple pleasure.
Then 2020 rolled around. The world became decidedly weirder and scarier. Everything is high-stakes. People’s fates do hinge on the actions of a singular person. We are all overcoming impossible odds in our everyday lives—and when that’s the case, where do we escape to?
We could use a little Low-Fi.
So, check in with yourself. Take a nap. Have a juice box. Would you like to read stories with magical robots and talking animals and the beginnings of a wonderful friendship?
It’s okay. They’re here for you.
Take care, and enjoy A Quiet Afternoon.
– Laura DeHaan
Toronto, July 2020
Our authors are a delightful mix of straight, queer, neurotypes, nationalities and ethnicities:
- Mary Alexandra Agner
- Elizabeth Hart Bergstrom
- Dantzel Cherry
- Maria Cook
- Melissa DeHaan
- Rebecca Gomez Farrell
- Adriana C. Grigore
- Stephanie Barbé Hammer
- Elizabeth Hirst
- Rachael Maltbie
- Aimee Ogden
- Ziggy Schutz
- Tamoha Sengupta