GlitterShip is a regular speculative fiction podcast focusing on LGBTQIA+ fiction run by Keffy R. M. Kehrli. I’ve been into it from the get-go, sitting as it does at the nexus of my intersecting interests in queer culture, SFF, and audio media. In 2017 GlitterShip launches a new format: a quarterly magazine containing the fiction, both new and reprinted, that will feature on the upcoming episodes of the podcast.
GlitterShip Winter 2017 is the very first instalment of the new format, and it contains seven stories, and which was for me a great mix of well-known and previously unread authors.
Parts, by Paul Lorello, is set in what feels like a near-future climate soft-apocalypse, and it’s the story of a relationship strained by its participants’ weird habits: eponymously, Jake’s passionate hobby for collecting the body parts of the otherwise mysterious to the reader Bobo Schumley. But as the story goes on we discover that Jake’s not the more unhealthy one in this relationship. Rather it’s Miles, our unreliable narrator, who is doing the real damage. Jake, with his body parts in a stoneware bowl, is only doing his best to collect together something meaningful.
By S. Qiouyi Lu, Curiosity Fruit Machine is a very short tale about a time when western culture is gone and forgotten, and those who live in its ruins scavenge for its meaningless artifacts. A fruit machine isn’t a useful find, but there’s something about it that invites participation. Even in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, even when they can’t understand its purpose, humans can’t resist the next roll of the dice—or rather, pull of the arm.
As for JY Yang’s The Slow Ones—how could I resist an apocalypse story set in Norwich? Not only that, but quite possibly the most unusual apocalypse I’ve yet read. This story counterpoints the ordinariness of life in Norwich—feeding the cat, going to work in a shop—with the strangeness of the apocalyptic events—giant space fish eating the clouds?!—so the ordinary things take on a poignancy, in particular, Kira, the protagonist, and her relationship with her colleague Melanie at the shop.
I love a story about food, and Cooking with Closed Mouths by Kerry Truong is exactly that. Its’ protagonists are a kumiho, Ha Neul, and a vampire child, Hana. Ha Neul can’t taste human food and Hana’s sense of taste is fast fading too. But when Hana wants Ha Neul to cook kimchi fried rice for her class’ show and tell, he cannot refuse her.
A perfect little story about food and love and family. It’s nevertheless tinged with the sadness and danger that comes with being out of place—both in the sense of being an immigrant as well as being a supernatural creature.
And then, augh… how can I describe how much I adore Kat Rambo’s The Subtler Art?
It’s fantastical everything in this weird myth about a legendary assassin and a legendary wizard and the challenge they take on over noodles.
This was like a treasure trove of invention. Any one aspect alone would have made for an interesting story. Altogether they make a joyously unpredictable work of art.
For She is the Stars, and the Sun Revolves Around Her by Agatha Tan is the most adorable queer lady romance. A super villain falls in love; and that love is quirky and full of butterflies and there’s a cat. Though it’s left on a cliffhanger, I so want things to work out. I need things to work out.
Whereas How to Remember to Forget to Remember the Old War by Rose Lemberg is a sombre note on which to end—but not an unhopeful one. Earth—San Francisco in particular—is a neutral ground where an alien survivor of an alien war has washed up, after everything. A sad, slow, fragmentary story, like its protagonist, about what you do when your life is over. (What do you do? What you can.)
Altogether these stories make a rollercoaster journey through worlds and modes of queerness so diverse from one another. Though I’m sad I’ll no longer be getting these stories directly into my earholes, diversifying the format makes total sense. I cannot recommend this new magazine enough, and I can’t wait to read the rest of the year’s worth.