Celebrity Ghosts, 80s style: At Danceteria & Other Stories by Philip Dean Walker

At Danceteria and Other StoriesAt Danceteria and Other Stories by Philip Dean Walker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The specter of AIDS haunts this star-studded, themed collection which is set in the early 80s, just at the beginning of the AIDS crisis. The cast includes Keith Haring, Sylvester, the Reagans, Jackie O, and Little Edie Beale. The settings veer from New York Bathhouses to the Castro to Fire Island to the White House. The brief book exudes a unique mixture of camp and nostalagia, shot through with a prophetic melancholy.

Forthcoming Interview with the author….

STORY REVIEW: Love among the Avatars in ‘Super Bass’ by Kai Ashante Wilson

Super Bass: A Tor.Com OriginalSuper Bass: A Tor.Com Original by Kai Ashante Wilson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Super Bass is a dense, ‘slice-of-life’ piece of fantasy fiction that’s also a love story. The prose is rich, sensual and deeply interior. It reminds of me of early Samuel R Delany, when he just throws you into an alien landscape and then challenges you to fill in the dots. The milleu has a vague Candomble feel, a lush tropical world where the gods inhabit/”possess” their chosen vessels, transforming them into supernatural healers. The story is about a consort to one of these god-vessels. Polyamory and same-gender relationships are the norm. The use of language reminds of me Kiini Ibura Salaam’s work.

“Love doesn’t take the burdens away, only makes them worth bearing.”

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On Meghan McCarron’s “Swift, Brutal Retaliation”

Swift, Brutal RetaliationSwift, Brutal Retaliation by Meghan McCarron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a ghost story, but done as a realistic family drama. Think Cheever or Franzen rather than Shirley Jackson or Stephen King. The ‘horror’ is the disintraging relationships. The emotional brutality and unrelenting prose probably what placed this story on this year’s World Fantasy Award ballot.

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