Queer Fish: An Eclectic Anthology of Gay Fiction – Margarita Bezdomnya, Rose Mambert, eds. (Pink Narcissus Press)

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I’ve been doing reviews of anthologies for some time now and I’m always struck by how much creative talent is out there. The way queer minds work make me proud of our accomplishments and I’m always finding myself in awe of the originality that comes forth. (I use the word queer for any GLBTQ individual and our allies who use their imagination and creativity to help promote queer publishing and our voices). Queer Fish is one of those rare collections that have simply left me amazed.

Everyone associated with this anthology deserves praise, from the nineteen authors to the two editors and especially Pink Narcissus Press. While I would like to talk in great lengths about each of the stories, it would make this review much too long, so I will limit the review to a few of my favorites and let the readers decide for themselves which of the stories are among their top picks.

The Song by Rob Rosen was such a surprise for me. Think Pirates of the Caribbean meets a male version of the Little Mermaid, a fairy tale type plot and add in a bit of horror and you’ve got yourself a fantastic story. Only Rob could combine so many genres into one story and come out with a piece of magic.

Mike Dies at the End (A Parody) by W2 is another story that just wouldn’t let me go. It’s fun, it’s quirky and very well written. I don’t want to say too much, as you just have to read the story to get the full picture, but it’s a unique parody on ghosts and the psychic abilities that are passed down through the most unusual way – it’s sexually transmitted. My only problem with the story is that it wasn’t long enough. The characters are so vivid and there is so much to tell, that it could easily have been a novella or even a full-length novel.  W2 is you read this, give the readers more. Please.

Other treats one can find in this anthology include the somewhat creepy and yet beautifully done story by Nathanial Fuller, “Welcome to Anteaterland,” the story will linger well after you read the last word. “The Zombisagger” by Colleen Chen is by far the most bizarre story in the collection, but this statement by no means is an indication of poor quality. On the contrary, it is beautifully crafted, and as with Fuller’s story, it won’t want to let you go.

If you’re looking for an anthology where you won’t be disappointed in any of the stories in the collection, Queer Fish is for you. There isn’t one story that shouldn’t be here and the wide range of voices, talents, stories, and genres will make you proud to display it on your bookcase.

Reviewed by William Holden

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