It’s back! The blog advent calendar. I enjoyed last year’s blog theme last year—re-reading twenty-four books of my youth—so much, so this year I’m applying the same approach to short stories, trawling through a myriad bunch of collections and anthologies I’ve read in the last few years.
December 10th: The Revenge of Oscar Wilde by Sean Eads
Tell me about your first time: This story is the final story in the Wilde Stories 2014, and there’s a reason: because it’s sheer, decadent brilliance. This is Oscar Wilde: Zombie Hunter, but none of your shoddy Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Botherer crap—this takes that idea by the balls and swings it around with mordant glee. It’s exactly what you’d want from that concept, in that it is as gloriously pulpy as the idea suggests, but never absurd—it remains, in amongst the bon mots, erudite and literary. No mean feat.
Sum it up: The Lazari epidemic has swept Paris; meanwhile, the exiled Oscar Wilde has an infected Bosie chained to his bed…
Give me a quote: “Bosie’s eyes are pale blue cataracts that fix on Wilde’s slumped body. He crawls, still hissing, his body so lithe and exotic and reductive that Wilde’s erection actually hurts in his pants. Take me, consume me, he thinks. There seems so little remaining to him that Bosie has not already devoured, why shouldn’t the flesh yield too? Wilde begins to undo his shirt.”
Second reading: So, somehow, god knows how, I either failed to read the last paragraph of this story or I forgot it. But there really does not seem to be any way that I could possibly have forgotten it, because it’s indelible. To reveal it would be criminal, because it really needs to be read to be appreciated, but I’ll perhaps allow a hint, and tell you that Wilde truly enacts his revenge upon Queensbury, the man who condemned him to labour…
Where can I read it: The story appeared in Zombies: Shambling Through The Ages, but you can also find it in the year’s best Wilde Stories 2014.