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REVIEW: Boys, Beasts & Men

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An excellent collection of stories. I read a lot of short stories– on their own, as part of magazines, anthologies, or collections like this one. This book actually took me quite some time to finish because I kind of hated the first story and dropped it because of that. Having finished it, it feels kind of out of place.

I liked the majority of stories in this (which is a rarity for short story collections), but it took me until about 1/3rd into it before I started really loving it. These stories are exactly what’s on the tin- exploring boys loving boys, literal beasts and monsters but also the monsters inside of us. It’s unabashedly queer, alwas hard-hitting, and although they felt a bit one-note at the beginning it became a varied bunch of stories by the end. Would definitely recommend.

Just drop the burger story.

INDIVIDUAL REVIEWS FOR EACH STORY:

Allosaurus burgers was a funny story, but not really my kind of thing. Feels like a Scalzi short. [2/5]

57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides was an excellent Stephen King-esque story in terms of content but more experimental (told through a list). Really enjoyed this one. [4/5]

We Are the Cloud was DARK, but not the whole way through. Loved the world. [3.5/5]

Conspicuous Plumage

A story of grief. A small story told well. Mostly enjoyed the characters in this. [4/5]

Shattered Sidewalks of the Human Heart [4.5]

Loved this one. A cab driver gets an inconspicuous guest in his cab… King Kong’s girl.

Shucked

For $10,000, would you give someone control of your body for an hour? Or… Longer? [4/5]

The Beasts We Want to Be

Exploring superhero-esque experimentation on people during times of war, from the perspective of one who has been experimented on. [3.5/5]

Calved [5/5]

A tragic story of a father desperately trying to get his son to love him again.

When Your Child Strays from God [4/5]

This is a great pairing with the previous story! It’s about a mother trying to understand her son, and “save” him from the path he’s currently on. Paired with some interesting drug concept, it makes for a nice story.

Things With Beards [3/5]

The Thing story about the monsters inside us. Not bad.

Ghosts of Home [4.5]

This story feels like a spiritual sequel to Open House on Haunted Hill. It’s a similar tale told differently. Houses have spirits, and abandoned houses get lonely. What happens when the 2008 banking crisis hits, and many people lose their home?

The Heat of Us: Notes Towards an Oral History [4/5]

An alternative history account of Stonewall, where the queer people at Stonewall who fought back were also supernatural. A celebration of celebrations.

Angel, Monster, Man [4/5]

Another chilling piece, this time about the AIDS epidemic and how the government handled it (read: didn’t handle it). An imaginary person, some fictional figurehead for the revolution, seems to become real.

Sun in an Empty Room [3/5]

A very musical story!
G. Lowie
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Goran Lowie is an avid reader of all kinds of speculative fiction and poetry. For years, he's been rotting away in some rural hellhole in Belgium, but luckily he has literature to keep him going!

His real obsession with the genre sparked with the incomporable works of Ursula K. Le Guin, and his heart stayed there forever. Other favourite authors include Patricia A. McKillip, Mary Soon Lee, John Wiswell, Robert Silverberg and Italo Calvino.

When Goran isn't reading books, he's either editing this very magazine or creating lesson plans for his day-job as a high school teacher! You can find him on Twitter: @GoranLowie

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