QSFer E.D.E. Bell has a new queer humorous fantasy book out (non-binary+): Just Bart.
Bart is just a simple folk trying to get by. With a posse comprisin’ of a sparkle-loving horse, an unsettled ghost, and a magic old whiskey bottle, they wander from town to town in search of some needed coin, and maybe a brighter day.
Warnings: Alcohol, Mental Health (see edebell.com/content for more)
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The bar was pretty crowded, and they weren’t going to use up a space for two folk, so they sat near the end, on a single stool. Robots sat to each side. One was downing a large pink drink through a rubbery-looking straw, and to the other side, one had a pitcher of what looked like a margarita. Bart tried to see if they had anyone they were sharing it with, but the bot looked alone. Well, then, one of those pitcher of margaritas nights. Bart felt a connection to this one, and figured they’d start there.
“Howdy,” they offered, tipping their hat. “Do you mind if I sit here?”
The robot was silver and mostly canister shaped, with lights and ports covering a lot of the surface. Two rolling tracks were retracted up against the sides, allowing the bot to sit. The design was clearly meant to roughly evoke human features, in the sense the robot had a small canister head with distinct eyes, and some sort of drive slot that could pass for a mouth. “The company would please me. Greetings, Bart.”
Bart shuffled a little, trying to work this out. Old had said their names were too complicated for human folk, but certainly there was something they could do. “Is there something I can call you?”
“I will adopt a human name for your ease. Call me Chad.”
“Oh, no,” Bart said. “I don’t want to call you a human name. “I’d like to call you what you prefer.”
“I prefer Chad. It is a casual-sounding name that respects social boundaries while implying a counter-culture longing. I have always wanted someone to call me this.
E.D.E. Bell (she/e) loves fantasy fiction, and enjoys blending classic and modern elements. A passionate vegan and earnest progressive, she feels strongly about issues related to equality and compassion. Her works often explore conceptions of identity and community, including themes of friendship, family, and connection. She lives in Ferndale, Michigan, where she writes stories and revels in garlic. You can follow her adventures at edebell.com.