Title: Myths Untold: Faery
Authors: August Li, Brandon Witt, Skye Hegyes, and Scott Coatsworth
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Pages/Word Count: 247 pages
The Pwcca and the Persian Boy by August Li
Despite beauty and luck, something about Glyn makes everyone uncomfortable. Homeless on the streets of Cardiff, he has nothing to keep him going but his friendship with Farrokh. Through stealing and fortune’s occasional favor, Glyn keeps them alive. But then homeless youths begin to disappear, and when Farrokh goes missing, Glyn begins to discover the reasons behind both his luck and the way people react to him. Determined to save his friend from a danger he never imagined, he enlists the help of Lleu, who might be an ally, or might be manipulating Glyn to achieve his own goals.
This was a fantastic story, with plenty of twists to the plot. To be honest, because of the impoverished historical setting I was expecting a much more depressing ending than the story delivered, which is good on many levels. Li can certainly write despair! And he can also spin the sweetest tales.
The Other Side of the Chrysalis by Brandon Witt
In a species that values beauty above all else, Quay loses both his freedom and his birthright as prince of the fairies. Lower than an outcast, he watches over his younger brother, hoping against hope that Xenith’s rebirth will provide safety and positions that has slipped through Quay’s grasp. Though he expected kindness from no one, Quay gradually starts to trust that there is more to life, even for the likes of him, as sexual encounters with Flesser, a fairy barely accepted himself, turn from lust to love. Quay knows having forbidden relationships will be his undoing, but he is powerless to turn away.
This was probably the darkest of all the stories, and because of that, I believe it’s been the most thought-provoking for me. While I’m hesitant to say it ended on a cliffhanger, it was definitely dark. There was literally nothing beautiful about Quay’s life, except for the sacrifice of his heart–which while profound–on many levels was simply depressing. Despite that, I truly believe this story provided a necessary balance for the anthology, and there is something to be learned in sacrifice.
Changeling by Skye Hegyes
With his pointed ears and a tail, Tyler’s always been different than the other children, but until Marsh, a brownie tells him he’s a changeling, he never thought he wasn’t human. Now he will discover what faery life is like, and just how being a changeling could change his life. On the way, his ties with his mother will be pushed and prodded even as his friendships grow and his love life blossoms. However, in a village of God-fearing people, those who are different are spurned and Tyler will discover how much trouble a fledgling changeling can get into.
Hegyes is the only new author for me in this anthology, and a most welcome one! Of all the stories, this felt the most like a fairy tale of old, which made me a bit leery of possible sad endings, but this was probably the sweetest and most innocent of any of the stories. Sometimes you just need a good gay fairy tale.
Through the Veil by J. Scott Coatsworth
In the not-too-distant future, San Francisco has been swamped by rising sea levels caused by global warming, and has only survived by building a wall to keep the water out of the heart of the City. Colton is a trans man barely getting by on the canals outside the wall. Tris is an elf who has come to the human world on his journey to become a man. Fate brings them together, and everything changes for Colton when he sets out with Tris to find the elf’s missing brother, taking Colton behind the Wall for the first time.
This was the only story that ventured into the urban fantasy realm, which made it an exciting and fresh addition to the anthology. I loved future San Francisco with its Venice-like feel, and I loved that it was dirty and dark and on many levels repugnant. I also loved our hero, a transman, who fights for the right to be him every step of the way, and yet because of the environment that’s shaped him, even when his wildest dreams are handed to him by a guardian angel of sorts, he peers at the giver and says, “This for real?” [my paraphrasing]. He was definitely a relatable and dynamic character in a fantastic setting.
All in all these stories have fantastic plots and characters–check them out!
August (Gus) Li is a creator of fantasy worlds. When not writing, he enjoys drawing, illustration, costuming and cosplay, and making things in general. He lives near Philadelphia with two cats and too many ball-jointed dolls.
He loves to travel and is trying to see as much of the world as possible. Other hobbies include reading (of course), tattoos, and playing video games.
Brandon Witt’s outlook on life is greatly impacted by his first eighteen years of growing up gay in a small town in the Ozarks, as well as fifteen years as a counselor and special education teacher for students with severe emotional disabilities.
Add to that his obsession with corgis and mermaids, then factor in an unhealthy love affair with cheeseburgers, and you realize that with all those issues, he’s got plenty to write about.
Dragons, wolves, and sharp objects are commonplace in Skye Hegyes’s home in North Carolina. She spends most of her time between writing and working. When not doing either of these things, you may find her making crafts or adventuring with her family, which consists of her husband, two daughters, two birds, and three cats… and a partridge in a pear tree.
Scott Coatsworth has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.
Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”
B. A. Brock is a reviewer for The Novel Approach and Queer Sci Fi. He enjoys reading, writing, running, family and food, and fills his life with bent bunk. He especially loves to discuss LGBTQ+ literature. His website is http://www.babrockbooks.com. You can find him on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/BABrockBooks.