Rating: 5 stars out of 5
1) Resuming an activity after an interruption, or
2) Extending a contract, subscription or license, or
3) Replacing or repairing something that is worn out,
run-down, or broken, or
4) Rebirth after death.
Four definitions to spark inspiration, a limitless number of stories to be conceived. Only 110 made the cut.
Thrilling to hopeful, Renewal features 300-word speculative fiction ficlets about sexual and gender minorities to entice readers.
Welcome to Renewal.
I am such a fan of flash fiction, the ability to tell a complete story in 300 words or less. Renewal is Queer SyFy’s Fourth year’s collection of flash fiction and what an incredible winner it is. Like a library full of tiny jewels, Renewal‘s flash fiction is glorious in it’s presentation of the dizzying array of imaginative themes and world building by it’s host of authors, the authors represented, the timeliness and resonance of some of their flash fiction storylines and the huge spectrum of genres included from horror to fantasy to science fiction.
Also by the sheer poetry of some of it’s stories. As you can imagine, given the shortness of the fiction, the quantity of stories within is immense. So are the number I call favorites, far too many to list here. And it’s funny, you read them so quickly, that you can be several stories past one before the impact it leaves kicks in. The “huh, no, let me think about that” that leads to you flipping back to that tale and pondering the thoughts of the author may have had writing it. Trust me, there are many of those.
Over and over again, authors stopped my in my “reading tracks”, left breathless by what was before me.
Under Science Fiction Part II (yes it’s divided into sections like Horror and Fantasy etc), there is this story whose lyrical imagery has stayed with me:
I Will Be Your Shelter by Carey Ford Compton. I would have bought this collection for this flash fiction alone based on this. I will give you but this small moment from the story that still makes me weep with appreciation:
The operating room is blue, sterile. We are awake for the procedure. Surgeons slice into our numbed, shaved scalps. The drill bites. Lights, metallic tongue, clicks of bone.
Then: she bleeds into me like watercolor.
Such power, such beauty. And this collection is full of such haunting tales.
As J. Scott Coatsworth said in his introduction “this collection includes many colors of the LGBTIQA (or QUILTBAG, if you prefer) universe—lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and asexual characters populate these pages—it was our most diverse contest yet.”
I also think it was Queer SyFy’s most outstanding. With pertinent quotes by authors at the beginning of each section and a easily accessible table of contents (I used it often to go back to stories I wanted to reread that I bookmarked), Renewal is a collection of stories that will make you think, occasionally laugh, push some boundaries, give you new authors to explore, and much, much, more. Don’t you love it when that happens?
And yes, I highly recommend it!
Andrea Felber Seligman
Carey Ford Compton
Carol Holland March
E R Zhang
Elsa M León
Eric Alan Westfall
Foster Bridget Cassidy
J. Alan Veerkamp
J. P. Egry
L M Somerton
L. Brian Carroll
Leigh M. Lorien
Lloyd A. Meeker
Martha J. Allard
Mary E. Lowd
Mindy Leana Shuman
R R Angell
Redfern Jon Barrett
Rory Ni Coileain
S R Jones
Zev de Valera
Cover art by Gus Li is just gorgeous!
Kindle Edition, 196 pages
Published September 13th 2017 by Mischief Corner Books, LLC
Edition Language English