Incubus Ex by Ashley-Renee Cribbins: a sweet and little creepy tale about a 16 years old boy, Austin, half jealous half scared of her sister’s boyfriend, Sully. 18 years old sister is leaving for college and she wants to break with his boyfriend, but it’s not that simple, Sully is an incubus, and if she doesn’t do something to “trap” him, he will be able to reach her. Once the trick is done, only Austin can undo it, and night after night Sully comes to Austin to ask for his freedom… only that Austin is starting to understand how “useful” an incubus can be to a 16 years old boy. At first it seemed Austin was not gay, but I appreciated the little insight on his dreams the author gave us, so that it’s not at all unexpected the development of his relationship with Sully… not unexpected but nevertheless funny.
Mike Dies at the End (A Parody) by W2: all right, first of all this had me laughing in a moment when I shouldn’t have (read while there were too many people around me who had wanted to know why I was laughing…), when you will arrive to the “lie back and think of England”, you will understand why. This story is a funny romp, a satire about the usual ghost hunting stories; it remembers me a little that tv fiction where two buddy friends open a PI firm specialized in paranormal activities. Jason is gay, Mike is straight, but Jason is also single and Mike is “generous”, and so he let Jason have sex with him; but this situation cannot last long, and with the help of some very close friends, Jason will find his match in goth guy Ty. All of them Mike, Jason and Ty are really young, and so the feeling is that of a frat boys story with a paranormal twist. Very, very nice.
Monsters So Fair by Lyle Blake Smythers: after two stories more or less on the funny side, this one instead border on drama (if not being totally immersed in it). It’s a fantasy tale about a false prince Agib and a beautiful young man, Droo. The prophecy said that Agib will kill Droo, but when they meet each other, to Agib seems impossible that he will be the assassin of such innocent boy; and so instead of war they make love, but the morning looms upon them.
The Song by Rob Rosen: simple and romantic, even if with a little aftertaste of horror, exactly like the old fairy tales, this is a retelling of the little mermaid, but I will give you a tip, the ending is different. A young man is searching for a treasure, but he will find something more important and for sure more lasting than gold.
Dark Entries by Michael C. Thompson: 1 night and 1 day of nightmare; Lawrence and Jon are a couple already facing an imminent wreck. Both of them on heavily drugs, they are no more able to distinct between nightmare and reality. And in the end there will be no distinction between nightmare and reality.
Welcome to Anteaterland by Nathaniel Fuller: not sure how I feel about this story, I think there is an hidden meaning I didn’t fully catch, maybe something related to the monotony of life and how you have to take risks to be happy; but the man in this story took a pretty big risk when he came out to his wife, when he decided to enter in a long term relationship with a man and building a modern family with him and his son. Actually I think their life was pretty good, and even if the sex became routine, for them it was still good. So I’m not sure, it’s not that in the end they are not still together, but sincerely I preferred the way they were before.
Blood Sugar Sex Magic by Georgina Li: there is a story, but I think the main purpose of the author was to give the reader like flash of images more than a linear story; Billy, James and Mike and their journey from night to day, who will love who, who will remain with whom. James reads messages everywhere, but are those messages real or instead is James’s sensibility that gives him that “power”? And the messages are sending him in the right direction or not?
Baker Boy by Thomas Fuchs: I think this is an allegory on the lure of the seven sins, Gluttony, Fornication, Avarice, Pride, Wrath, Vainglory, Acedia, even if the poor guy of the story doesn’t really behave as a greed or irate man; but gluttony, lust, pride, vainglory and sloth are all symptoms he will experiment once he will meet Baker Boy, temptation all around.
The Zombissager by Colleen Chen: after a set of more dark stories, Zombissager goes back to the funny and light, even if in an horror set; Awesomeman and Coolman are superheroes and boyfriends, and they have to save the world from a threat made by a lot of zombie-dildos a crazy scientist put on the market… I think you can catch this is not exactly a “serious” horror plot, and our two superheroes will easily overcome the villain… or maybe not.
Shudder by Alice Fox: a graphic novel about a ghost minstrel and the proud knight that will help him with some little trouble he has with demons. Of course the proud knight will obtain the favors of the lady… ops of the minstrel in exchange of his efforts.
Mondeval’s Heart by Rose Mambert: I liked this story, it has not perhaps a sure happily ever after but at least is not without hope; it’s a fantasy tale about two unlikely companions, a demon and a human. No one aside from Ash has Tamaril’s trust, and as a loyal pet, Tamaril is willing to do everything to protect Ash, even losing his only chance to be normal again. I think it was a great demonstration of love, and I hope the author was only giving us a taste of something more, that in her mind there is a whole novel where Tamaril and Ash can find a place where they are not a demon and a human, but simply two men in love.
Zombie Hunt by Danielle Renn: more horror than romance, it’s probably a classic zombie tale, and if you know what I mean, then probably you are more ready than me to the future that is expecting zombie James Hunt and his human lover Evan. I know you cannot always have a perfectly happily ever after, and for sure not in an apocalyptic world were humans are living as captives, but still Evan’s love for Hunt was so tender I really felt for them and their fate.
The Hollow Hills of New Hampshire by Frank Muse: funny horror tale about a young gay man who find himself the “owner” of a brownie, that, if you didn’t know, is not a pastry, but a 3 feet tall domestic elf with highly specialized housekeeping skills. The dream of every gay man? Well not exactly when the survival of such elf depends on you having an heir and you have no interest in women at all…
This Won’t Hurt a Bit by Thomas Kearnes: two possible wrong lovers and two possible right lovers, but of course the narrative voice has to do the wrong choice before realizing that he is probably letting go his future. While there is one of those men that I see heading towards destruction, there is a spark of hope for the other two to build something good and nice. While the previous stories are about “fake” horror themes like zombie and trolls, this is about a the “real” horror of domestic violence.
The Golem of Rabbi Loew by Johnny Townsend: a bittersweet story set in a XVI century Prague about an old rabbi who finds the love of his life in the arms of a golem; or maybe the golem was simply a poor man who was not as educated as the rabbi but who has an heart bigger than any normal man, an heart that he was willing to sacrifice for the good of the people who gave him everything when he had nothing. This is yet another of the stories for which it’s more than worth to give this anthology a chance.
Fools in Love by Chelsea Crowley: Horatio is a little snobbish and Gus is a little too friendly… well it’s expected if you consider Horatio is the wizard in a fantasy court where Gus is the fool. Horatio has never considered Gus too much until the day he finds himself the joke of the other man, and I think that was exactly the purpose of the fool. This is a sweet and funny tale, no angst no drama, a little breath of fresh air in a mostly dark anthology.
Super Love by Chris Helton: funny, sweet and tender, this is just a day in the life of Maddex and his superhero boyfriend Greg. It’s like every ordinary couple, with Greg always out called for some emergency and Maddex at home, but like any other half of a clever couple, Maddex will understand that to make their relationship work, he has to share as much as possible of his boyfriend’s life.
Starpoint Rendezvous by E. Craig McKay: a sci-fi short story about two “businessmen” Simon and Jeremy, who not only share a business but also a bed. At the beginning of the story Simon and Jeremy are enjoying the offering of a sex resort but financial troubles are out there waiting them, and they need to find a way to make their business work so that also their relationship will grow to a level of comfort that allow them to retire. But when the moment is there, the thrill of the adventure is a too potent lure to resist.
Color Zap! By Sam Sommer: in a male future society were man with man can procreate thank to “genofacility” structure it’s no more an issue being gay, but there is still a way to being a misfit; Spencer is born with blue hair and his boyfriend Gavin has green hair. They are considered freaks and they find comfort in each other. And like all young men with a dream they will find a way to fight for their freedom.
Amazon: Queer Fish: An eclectic anthology of gay fiction
Amazon Kindle: Queer Fish: An eclectic anthology of gay fiction
Paperback: 282 pages
Publisher: Pink Narcissus Press (October 20, 2011)
Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bott
Cover Art by P.L. Nunn