Wilde Stories 2015

Wilde Stories 2015

My story “Conjuring Shadows” has been reprinted in the 2015 edition of Wilde Stories: The Year’s Best Gay Speculative Fiction (Lethe Press). The story sits along side work by other masters of SF, Horror and Fantasy literature. Here’s the line, assembled by editor Steve Berman:

“The Love of the Emperor Is Divine” by Tom Cardamone
“The Vampire of Xanthos” by Andrew Warburton
“The True Alchemist” by Sonya Taaffe
“The Mortuaries” by Katharine Duckett
“What Glistens Back” by Sunny Moraine
“Passion, Like a Voice—That Buds” by Steve Berman
“True North” by Chaz Brenchley
“The Oily Man” by Alex Jeffers
“Werewolves of Northland” by Patrick Pink
“Notes for ‘The Barn in the Wild’” by Paul Tremblay
“Conjuring Shadows” by Craig L. Gidney
“The God Within” by Damien Kelly
“A Gift in Time” by Maggie Clark

MUSIC RECOMMENDATION: Arctic Art Pop–Anneli Drecker’s “Rocks & Straws”

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I have been following the music of Anneli Marian Drecker since the 1980s, when she was the lead singer of the synth-pop band Bel Canto. The first three Bel Canto albums melded fairytale-themed lyrics, neoclassical and world music (mostly Middle-Eastern) influences to electronic music, over which Drecker’s dramatic coloratura swooped and fluttered. (Imagine a cross between the Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance and Depeche Mode). Later Bel Canto albums drifted to a more 90s-era electronica sound, and Dreckers previous two solo albums were pretty much straight-forward pop.

Her new self-produced album, Rocks & Straws, is a triumphant return to her art-pop roots. From the press release:

Rocks & Straws is a homecoming album, an ode to her native town and region. The songs, all composed by Anneli, are based on lyrics by cult poet Arvid Hanssen and translated to English by artist and writer Roy-Frode Løvland. Hanssen´s poems are strongly influenced by the mysterious and powerful nature of this arctic region, like the writings of Knut Hamsun, born only a few miles from Hanssen´s birthplace. 

Drecker’s voice is deepened to a lovely lyric alto, but she can still reach stunning soprano heights. The melodies she composed have actual hooks—this is accessible art pop. The album is warm, orchestral, and there is a jazzy noir vibe to some of the songs. Drecker’s piano playing is impressively delicate, like the faintest webbing of frost.  Rocks & Straws belongs somewhere between the ethereality of Bjork’s Vespertine and Kate Bush’s whimsical 50 Words For Snow.

You can listen to one of song here:

http://www.runegrammofon.com/artists/anneli-drecker/rcd2169-anneli-drecker-rocks-straws-cd-lp/

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.

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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.

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