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Announcement: Untethered Anthology

UntetheredEditor Janine A. Southard has a new magic and technology anthology out which includes at least one QSFer:

QSFer Dale Cameron Lowry has a new MM contemporary fantasy story in the upcoming anthology Untethered: A Magic iPhone Anthology. This anthology, edited by award-winning novelist Janine A. Southard, contains twenty stories of magic and technology, some of which will appeal to our Queer Sci Fi interests.

Almost everyone carries a smartphone these days. They sit in pockets and on tables. They sleep on headboards and are the first things their owners check in the morning. They’ve edged out more mundane equipment like calendars and MP3 players.

They aren’t magical, of course. Or are they?

From award-winners and bold new voices, from experienced fantasists and professional technologists, these stories are fun, clever, and positive about the power of technology.

Which stories are queer?

Dale Cameron Lowry’s “What You’re Called To Do” features iPhones, cats, and some adorable matchmaking. The only romance story in the collection, it stands out for its emotional connectivity and sweet meet-cute.

More tangentially, in Dawn Vogel’s “Army of Me,” a woman helps a gorgeous sylph, but is much too polite to offer romantic comfort, though it crosses her mind. Kris Millering’s “Specific Wisdom” stars a lesbian witch who saves Seattle’s supernatural population. In Manny Frishberg and Edd Vick’s dark “One App to Rule Them All,” a man murders his husband without drawing the notice of his phone’s nanny app. And Raven Oak pens “Q-Be,” in which collegiate girlfriends contend with an unethical professor and his TA.

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From Dale Cameron Lowry’s “What You’re Called To Do”:

Justin never knows how to address people who wear nametags as a requirement of their profession. He feels like the balance of power is tipped in his favor because he knows something important about them, while they lack the same information about him. Even if he’s told them his name before, they might have forgotten it. By using their names, he would be flaunting his position of power.

Things were easier when he was a reporter and always had a press badge dangling around his neck. He didn’t have to worry about anyone not knowing what to call him. But he’s not a reporter anymore. The only name on his chest is the brand name of his fleece jacket.

So Justin always avoids calling the guy at the front desk of the Washington County No-Kill Animal Shelter “Mark,” even though: one, that’s what the nametag says; two, Justin could practically be considered a regular; and three, they flirt every time he visits.

Justin doesn’t want to come off as a conceited prick who tosses out people’s names like used Kleenex.

But when he walks through the front door on his fifth visit in two weeks, the first thing he hears is a hearty, “Hey Justin!” Mark hops up from his chair and eyes the blue plastic carrier in Justin’s hand. It wobbles to and fro from the relentless pacing of the cat inside. “Let me guess. Another stray?”

“How’d you figure that one out, Mark?” Justin feels giddy finally saying the name, and relieved that the balance of power is finally equal. He sets the carrier on the desk. “I spotted this one a couple days ago, but it took me a while to gain her trust. She’s got a tag but the phone number’s outdated and I couldn’t figure out who it used to belong to. Maybe you guys can?” It’s a humiliating request for an unemployed journalist to have to make. He should be able to unravel any mystery if he works at it long enough. Of course, cats aren’t very good at giving interviews, so that complicates things.

“Sure. We’ll give it a try.” Mark turns to peer at the cat through the crate door and says in a soothing voice, “I bet you regret trusting him now, don’t you, pumpkin?” The cat is an orange tabby, so the nickname is inevitable even if she’s so skinny “carrot” would be more accurate. “Don’t worry. You’ll be out of that horrible crate in a minute, and maybe we’ll even find your people.”

The cat gazes at Mark with curious green eyes. She twitches her nose and lets out a tentative meow.

Mark looks up at Justin. “Where are you finding all these cats, anyway?”

Justin shrugs. There’s no way he’s going to tell Mark the whole truth. Mark would think he’s crazy. Even Justin is beginning to think he’s crazy.


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