BOOK RECOMMENDATION:Legenda Maris by Tanith Lee

Today is Tanith Lee‘s funeral.

Per the request of her husband John Kaiine, her collection ‘Legenda Maris’ (Immanion Press) is released this day.

‘Legenda Maris’ collects Lee’s sea-themed fantasy short fiction, and is an excellent introduction to her darkly lyrical work. It includes some of the first fiction I read by her: the excellent ‘Because Our Skins Are Finer‘ and ‘Magritte’s Secret Agent.’ An added bonus is the artwork–the cover and the frontispiece are by Tanith herself.


Cloaking Device Off: Homophobia in the SFF Community

When you are queer, you have the option of being invisible. Sometimes, there are times when being Out is pointless or irrelevant. (For example, a job interview—my sexuality has nothing to do with my ability to do a job). But other times, you can’t stay silent. Silence in the face of bigotry is dangerous. The bigot, facing no opposition, brays on, continuing to say hurtful and abusive things. The bigot believes, erroneously, that silence = agreement.

When I volunteered at the last World Fantasy Convention, one of my co-volunteers was L. Jagi Lamplighter, wife of John C. Wright, who has become more famous for his unhinged, overheated and overlong rants on queer people than he has for his fiction. (There a plenty of places online to read his various epic tirades). The family resides in the DC area, so they are local to me. I didn’t come out to Lamplighter, for a couple of reasons. First, it was irrelevant to the work we were doing (cooking, cleaning, setting up and dismantling the con suite and bar, etc). Second, I didn’t want to make waves. I was initially nervous, though. Surely, she must be as over the top as her husband.

She was not. She was perfectly lovely and friendly. Maybe if I had come out, she would have turned on a dime and become vituperative. But my instinct is that she still would be friendly. It is difficult to reconcile the warmth of Ms. Lamplighter with the hatred of Mr. Wright.

To him, I am perverse monster, an affront to his marriage, family and religion.  My very existence invites, to paraphrase one of his statements, being beaten with tire-irons and ax-handles. Here’s the thing: I have been assaulted for being gay. (Ill share the story another time, maybe). And the times I’ve been called slurs (both racial and homophobic) are too numerous to recount. I’m very familiar with how religiosity masks and justifies hatred. Those words of his have consequences, often lethal ones.

But, in the light of the politics of resentment that have recently come to light (vis a vis the Hugo kerfuffle), silence is no longer an option.In retrospect, I wish I did come out to Wright’s wife. It could have gone disastrously, of course. But maybe, just maybe, knowing his wife worked with a Real Live Homosexual might have mitigated some of the rhetoric thrown our way. Maybe it would be just a tad more difficult to type a post excusing the violence I have actually faced. The Gays are an abstraction, a boogeyman to real against. Craig Laurance Gidney, however, is a real human being, known for his talent and his sense of humor.

I’ve turned my Cloaking Device off. I am here. I’m black. I’m gay. And I’m not going anywhere.

(Comments are closed because I have neither the time or energy to deal with bigots).

My interview with dark fiction author Dale Bailey

While I was away, my interview with horror/dark fantasy author Dale Bailey posted on the Washington Independent Review of Books. You can check it out here.

Be sure to check out his literate, dark fiction. His new collection, THE END OF THE END OF EVERYTHING is excellent.


Pictures from the IPPY Awards (May 27, 2015)

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Night’s Daughter–Tanith Lee: September 19, 1947 – May 24, 2015

 “Gothic poetess, comic young-adult author, robust adventure-fantasy novelist: Tanith Lee has more writing personas than Sybil. But in her short fiction, all these aspects come gloriously together. Such stories as ‘Antonius Bequeathed’ or ‘The Persecution Machine,’ with their death-defying mixture of prose poetry, genre trope reversals and ominous wit, could be written by no one else.”–from my tribute in Weird Tales.

Craig and Tanith at Eastercon

I just learned that Tanith Lee passed away on Sunday.

I first encountered her writing in 1986, with the novel Delirium’s Mistress and the short story collection, Dreams of Dark and Light. Her poetic prose and soaring imagination astounded me. She was a versatile storyteller who wrote in many different modes.  She published children’s and young adult, mystery, horror, science fiction, historical and fantasy.

I got in contact with her when she published Fatal Women, her collection of dark magical realist tales of lesbian fiction she channelled as Esther Garber. I met her shortly after in London during a con. We kept in touch via email and the occasional surprise snail-mail post. I had the honor of working on Disturbed By Her Song, a second collection of channelled fiction, which included work by Esther’s half-brother, Judas.

I will miss her fiction, and her lovely correspondence.

I am keeping her husband,  John Kaiine, in my thoughts.

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