Icarus: The Magazine of Gay Speculative Fiction, ed. by Steve Berman

Available from www.lethepressbooks.com

How fitting that the inaugural post of our new blog should be about the first issue of a terrific new quarterly magazine of fantastical gay fiction, essays, poetry, artwork and interviews edited by Steve Berman of Lethe Press. The Summer edition of Icarus is a perfectly chilling complement for those hot summer days poolside.

The world of reprints is well-represented by Jeff Mann’s engaging and entertaining essay, “Watching Dark Shadows,” about his lifelong love affair with the 1970’s gothic soap opera and all things Collinwoodsian, originally published in Edge. But Mann is no mere Barnabas wanna-be – he not only goes to a “Dark Shadows” convention but even tours the Carey Mansion in Newport, RI where the TV show was filmed. Along the way, he melds those experiences into ruminations about being Southern and gay in a manner that is as personal as it is universal.

Not resting on this laurel, Icarus also includes Steve Berman’s interview with author Dan Stone about his novel The Rest of Our Lives, Toby Johnson’s conversation with photographer Peter Grahame, some well-thought out book reviews and poetry. But the meat of the magazine is in the fiction, and Berman serves some well-done courses.

Joel D. Lane’s “The Willow Pattern” is a wistful dreamscape about an ex-lover who has committed suicide but returns to haunt the dreams of his former partner. Jameson Currier offers “The Man in the Mirror,” a tidy summation of a gay actor’s career as seen by the men he used to be in the mirror of his conscience. My favorite, however, is the magical, crackling story of a summertime teenage romance, “Lightning Capital,” by Tom Cardamone. By turns sensual and sensitive, his poetic prose illuminates the characters like a summer firestorm and ends with an outrageous pun that will bring a smile to your face.

Berman has assembled an wholly absorbing collection of essay, poetry, prose and art in an attractive package. Order this today and you’ll find yourself wishing for Fall’s issue before the leaves turn brown.

Reviewed by Jerry Wheeler

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