What would you have for your last meal?
In Ann LeBlanc’s story “Twenty Thousand Last Meals on an Exploding Station,” an engineer on a doomed space station finds herself in a time loop and just has time to eat at a different one of the station’s thousands of restaurants before the end, an end which keeps repeating itself.
This imaginative delicacy is just one of the delights in the 2021 edition of the new yearly anthology of Best Queer Speculative Fiction of the Year “We’re Here,” published by Neon Hemlock Press.
The series stands as a fine replacement for Lethe Press’ recently discontinued annual volumes of best Gay, Lesbian and Transgender fiction. (“Wilde Stories,” “Heiresses of Russ” and “Transcendent” respectively.)
This must be a recommendation, not really a review. Mainly because while I have skimmed through and read a small sampling of stories in the two volumes of the new series, I have not read both books cover to cover. But I have read enough to pronounce them as fine additions to any library of speculative fiction. The two books include stories by Bogi Takacs, Gwen C. Katz, Sam J. Miller and others.
While fiction markets are far more open to fiction featuring LGBT characters even than they were at the beginning of the century and such stories regularly appear in “Best of” anthologies, there is still a need for a collection like this in an era of “Don’t Say Gay” laws and active book bans.
Charles Payseur is the series editor of “We’re Here,” while the first volume, published in 2021 and covering stories published in 2020, was edited by C. L. Clark.
The second volume, covering stories published in 2021 came out this past year (2022) and was edited by L. D. Lewis.
The good news here is that stories featuring LGBT characters are appearing regularly in anthologies, magazines and online markets. And the best news is that Payseur’s best of series has become annual.
“We’re Here,” apparently, is not going away.
Jeff Baker blogs about reading (and writing) SciFi, Fantasy and Horror on or around the thirteenth of every month. He is a regular contributor to the RoM/Mantic Reads e-zine https://rommanticreads.wordpress.com/2023/02/10/jeff-baker-the-night-in-question/ and his fiction and non-fiction regularly get rejected from many other markets. He posts fiction on his blog https://authorjeffbaker.com/ and wastes time on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063555483587 He and his husband Darryl both regularly read banned books and know a few authors whose work has been challenged.