As the month comes to a close, I thought I would share some of the praise Queers Destroy Fantasy! has received from reviewers. I suppose I won’t sound impartial if I say it’s well-deserved, but, in all seriousness, this is a killer issue, featuring some excellent stories and truly gorgeous artwork, and I’m honored to be in such good company.
Over at Quick Sip Reviews, Charles Payseur says of the issue, “These are stories of longing and love, violence and tenderness. They are not about queerness so much as they let their queerness subvert and, yes, destroy.”
Lois Tilton at Locus, calls Queers Destroy Fantasy! “a superior issue in this series, definitely the best of them I’ve seen.”
Bridget McKinney, writing for SF Bluestocking, agrees, saying: “Queers Destroy Fantasy has, hands down, the best fiction in any of the Destroy issues so far.”
David Steffen also reviewed the issue of PodCastle featuring my story from QFD!, “The Lady’s Maid”, at SF Signal.
Today I read:
Two things come to mind now, as I look back. First, I did not enjoy this sex outside, this sex with the tiny possibility of discovery; it did not, in any way, match my desires or my comfort level, and the second part is maybe that was the point. It was distracting enough, figuring out these details, who was where, what was visible, who might see us, what was covered, that neither of us had to pay much attention to the other person at all. Plus, I was nineteen, and preoccupied with what the girls on TV were doing and if I was doing such things equally well. I had a friend at the time who told me she practiced her moaning sounds in the car when driving, as a way to pass time while travelling the north-south freeways from San Diego to L.A. and back. I found it so depressing, when she told me that, picturing her groaning and rolling her head back while speeding beneath green exit signs as the radio went on about scandals in the political parties, but somehow I did not find it depressing when, under the umbrella needles of the fir, with those footsteps clip-clopping past, I played a reel in my own head about how adventurous a girlfriend I surely was, even though I barely remember anything physical, and I could sense my boyfriend checking off a list in his mind of places he’d done it, making both of us the kind of people who say they’ve been to Germany if they’ve had a layover at the Frankfurt airport.
— Aimee Bender, “Rest Stop“
The Paris Review‘s ‘Art of Fiction’ interview with Amy Hempel isn’t new, but it’s a good one. The whole thing, obviously, is worth a read, but I wanted to excerpt a bit I particularly liked here:
The term [minimalism] had meaning in the art world, but quickly became meaningless and pejorative when applied to literature. It came to denote what certain reviewers felt was missing in fiction—conventional plot or obvious emotion, for example. I had the sense that these reviewers who leaned on the term felt that certain ones of us were getting away with something. Some of these critics had a very limited sense of what story could be.
So what do you think a story is?
Years ago, Lenny Michaels was publishing some really fine short-short paragraph-long stories in good literary magazines. And I asked him if he took some heat from people who thought they weren’t really stories. He said, “You tell them what a story is. They don’t know.” This corroborated what I already suspected. It harkens back to the way you examine experience. Some writers have a more defined sense of cause and effect. Plot. My sense of life is more moment, moment, and moment. Looking back, they accrue and occur to you at a certain time and maybe you don’t know why, but you trust that they are coming back to you now for a reason. And you make a leap of faith. You trust you can put these moments together and create story.