A GREAT anthology, and the first volume of what I expect will be a successful quarterly magazine. The magazine features short LGBTQ+ works, and within that category, the genres are limitless. In this issue there was horror, literary fiction, humor, drama, and so much more. There was even art in the form of book covers, and interviews—something for everyone.
I would like to review a few of the highlights of this anthology, and Fascimilie by Mina MacLeod was one of the stories that stood out for me. Great writing and a truly haunting. It reminded me a bit of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, but instead of Frankenstein being a neglectful creator, this story offers an interesting twist. The sensory details in this piece were amazing, and I got sucked in rather quickly. Something I hear people say all the time when you’re writing fiction is to make the ending “surprising but inevitable”. I didn’t really know what that meant until this piece, and what I meant by that is I had this vague sense of where the plot was going, as if I were stuck on a train with only one destination, but the ending still managed to thrill and fill me with terror. Wow.
Man of the House by Brigid Collins. I loved this story, and that’s saying something, considering I almost didn’t finish it. It was so intense, and there was a definite squick in there for me (and I don’t have many), but I loved the characterization so much I had to stick with it. In the end the story was truly thoughtful and heart-breaking, at the same time it was sweet and full of love and hope. I know, I know. I’m being vague, but there are spoilers I don’t want to ruin with my review. I will say when the secrets are exposed, the entire plot and characterization collide into this perfect moment of clarity and emotion—too precious to spoil. Not a comfortable read by any stretch of the imagination, but so necessary.
Avalon by J. Scott Coatsworth. I’ve read nearly everything Coatsworth has written (I’m his number one fan, and I may fight anyone who declares otherwise), but I wasn’t prepared for this piece. Normally I find Coatsworth to be light-hearted, even when he is dealing with heavy issues of social injustice, but this piece knocked me on my ass and nearly made me cry. I had to “comfort text” him as I read it.
Me: Please say Tony won’t do such and such.
Me: Oh my god! Jake’s not going to such and such, is he?
You know something? Coatsworth was laughing at me the entire time, gleefully enjoying my anguish. He’s pretty sadistic, the sick bastard. But it’s a great piece, and certainly stands out in this anthology.
Whatever you’re looking for, I think you’ll find it in The MCB Quarterly. I’m getting ready to start the next one! Website of Mischief Corner Books: http://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/index.html
B. A. Brock is a reviewer for DSP and QSF. 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.