The 2013 Advent Calender: For the 25 days of Christmas, I will be blogging each day about a miscellaneous thing I love. Not necessarily a big thing, not necessarily a small thing and not in any order. For me, 2013 feels a little bit like its been the year of Lethe Press. Since becoming acquainted with the editor Steve Berman earlier this year via my magazine Glitterwolf Magazine, I’ve tangled with the press in a variety of ways through the seasons. I also discovered their superlative annual short story collection, Wilde Stories.
Released every year since 2008, Wilde Stories is a collection of speculative fiction (fantasy, sci-fi, the blurry areas inbetween) with a gay slant. I read 2013’s entry earlier this year and was completely hooked: there’s something that’s intrinsically perfect about the melding of gay themes and characters with monsters, fantasy and madness. After all, the world of heightened theatre, dread secrets and inner demons isn’t always manifestly too far away for you average life on the edge of the closet. I have always sought out, as my ideal novels, stories that can tell real life through a lens of the fantastical, and nearly every story in Wilde Stories falls into a variety of that format.
2013 is also a year I would define as a creative bloom. At the beginning of the year, Wilde Stories (along with some of the other novels I’ve come to love in the last two years) pushed me back towards the short story form, and back towards speculative fiction as a genre that university had pushed me into snobbishly relegating as ‘trash’. This year, I’ve written more, both in terms of volume and success, than I have in the all the years since university combined, and Wilde Stories 2013 has a small part to play in that. Besides that, it’s also directed me into a whole bunch of writers I had never heard of–Laird Barron, Alex Jeffers, Richard Bowes, and plenty more. But aside from any personal guff I may spout, I would urge you to seek out any of the releases because, quite apart from anything else (and really, this should be all any book needs) they are bloody good stories.