Wilde Stories The Year's Best Gay Speculative Fiction 2015
Edited by: Steve Berman
Publisher: Lethe Press
Genre: Gay short stories, various genres
ISBN: 10: 1590212843
Reviewed By: Sandra Scholes
Wilde Stories showcases the previous year's best offerings in short gay fantasy, horror, weird, and science fiction. This volume offers readers the secret missives of Roman emperors, an ungrateful ghost haunting her father's lover, werewolves, possible vampires, and more tales of the strange and eerie blended with bit of loss and passion. Editor Steve Berman has been collecting the finest stories in the field for nearly a decade.
If the cover image does not give the reader the creeps, then the number of stories this anthology has just might, thirteen. It's unlucky for some, but not for Steve Berman who has been a collector of stories for Lethe Press for almost a decade. It is a time where short gay fantasy has been at its most creative.
As Oscar Wilde once said, "we live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities," and like Wilde, for which this anthology is named there are several stories of nearly every explored genre; vampires, werewolves, Roman emperors, ghosts, and the general weird. And to prove that Steve Berman likes to take part, his Passion, Like a Voice - That Buds is included among such writers as Chaz Brenchley, Tom Cardamore, Sonya Taafe, Alex Jeffers and Darren Kelly who have their own contributor's profiles at the back.
Berman in his introduction goes on to mention that it is hard to find interesting new gay fiction in an era where there is an abundance of it. Discovering the sort of stories that stand out take time, and Berman has, it seems found thirteen of the best authors who have made a point of having their work stand out. He gets the mix right too of both long and short fiction that take the reader through the story in such a way that the reader enjoyed losing the time. Some of the shorter ones leave a message in them that stays in the mind.
In Tom Cardamore's The Love of the Emperor is Divine, Publius, a life-long friend of the emperor receives letters from him about how Publius has helped quash the assassination attempts on his life. What happens next isn't what one would expect, but ends a tale of steamy romance, Roman style.
Sonya Taafe's The True Alchemist is a nice short about a friend who needs Seth to come and help him. Taafe's style is almost poetic, rambling and thoroughly Greek and haunting. Seth might look like he wants to, but it remains to be seen as to whether he will.
Sunny Moraine's What Glistens Back, takes readers to sci-fi territory with Sean and Eric who are desperate to find each other after a long absence. Moraine shows us what it is like to feel the loss of being with a partner who made them feel alive and loved, but who they might not see again.
Steve Berman's Passion, Like a Voice - That Buds has a guy trying to brave a heated summer where he could do nothing but keep himself cool. Due to his HIV positive status, he stays alone, but a visit from a delivery boy with his food one day gives him some good company and someone to share his life with. He does hope for more, but doesn't expect such a close encounter. This, like the previous stories has a sense of time and place and they are like little doorways into other people's worlds, their lives for such brief moments.
In Werewolves of Northland by Patrick Pink, Whiro thinks he is the only werewolf in his town. For years he had been alone, then he begins to smell the scent of another of his kind. He felt certain another werewolf lived around him and knows he is breaking protocol with his father by going to find him. This might be bad from his father's point of view, but for Whiro, his need to know he is no longer alone means a lot. This is a werewolf story with a difference as Whiro is confined to a wheelchair after an accident, the only time he ever feels completely whole is when the moon is full and he can change in order to get the full use of his legs. Werewolves of Northland is a tale that not only is about there being someone for everyone, but a wolf mate for a wolf. As is noted by this story, no one is ever truly alone.
Summary: Wilde Stories 2015 has an eerie cover, a quote from Oscar Wilde and some of the best writings in Lethe Press's history with almost every genre covered in one slimline book.