9 Speculative Stories for Pride Month

Happy Pride Month! I wanted to put together a list of some of my F&SF stories featuring queer characters that I particularly love.

And as he spoke of understanding, I looked up and saw the rainbow leap with flames of many colors over me. -Black Elk

Every Breath a Question, Every Heartbeat an Answer” is a story that appeared this year in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, set in a hospital for war veterans, involving a lesbian centaur coming to terms with loss and the enigmatic ace paladin who seems to promise an answer to the question haunting her. Like many of my stories and the Tabat Quarter, it’s set in the world of Tabat, where intelligent magical creatures are beginning to question the roles society has allotted them.

“Hoofsore and Weary” precedes “Every Breath a Question” but features one of the previous story’s main characters, involved in the journey that will later bring her to the war hospital. It appeared in the anthology of military fantasy Shattered Shields, edited by Jennifer Brozek and Bryan Thomas Schmidt.

Rappacini’s Crow” is set in the steampunk world of my Altered America stories and has a trans protagonist who must figure out how to escape not just a malignant crow, but its owner as well. It appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

“How Joyful the Work” appeared in Predators in Petticoats, edited by Emily Leverett and Margaret S. Mcgraw. This theme anthology of 25 original stories focused on “fearsome feminine power”. I chose the figure of Penelope from Homer’s Odyssey, because I’ve always found her an intriguing figure. In this story, told from the POV of a household maid, instead of weaving tapestries, she creates clockwork contraptions.

“Preferences’ was recently reprinted in a special cyberpunk issue of The London Reader but originally appeared in Chasing Shadows, an anthology edited by David Brin and Stephen Potts, stories based on Brin’s book The Transparent World. It’s a short piece about data privacy, and reflects some of my experience working in that industry.

“The Threadbare Magician” is urban fantasy featuring a gay magician and his attempt to evade a particular doom. Seattle denizens will recognize references to a multitude of landmarks, including the Value Village store in Redmond, and you may be surprised what a simple trailer park on the East Side can hold. It originally appeared in Genius Loci, edited by Jaym Gates; you can find the audio version on Podcastle here.

Call and Answer, Plant and Harvest” is set in the city of Serendib, a location that has for some reason supplied a number of very short pieces set on its streets, including “The Subtler Art” and “The Owlkit, the Candymaker, the Beekeeper, and the Brewer”. This appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies; it was originally written for an anthology but the editor was anti-Chaos Mage. 😉 Luckily editor Scott Andrews was not.

“Elsewhere, Within, Elsewhen” was originally written for Beyond the Sun, an anthology edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt. It features a protagonist trying to come to terms with his husband’s betrayal, on an alien world that presents him with an extraordinary way to escape it.

Ms. Liberty Gets a Haircut” originally appeared in Strange Horizons but has been reprinted in multiple anthologies. It’s my favorite of all my superhero stories.

Bigfoot, reprinted on my site here, originally appeared in a feminist fiction issue of literary magazine 13th Moon and features a newly appeared Bigfoot and the reporter covering that appearance.

Want more? My Tabat series features the charismatic Bella Kanto, a bisexual gladiator who finds herself thrust into schemes to overthrow the government — and very structure — of the city she fights for, Tabat.

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About Cat

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov's, Clarkesworld Magazine, and the magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her story, "Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain," from her collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She is currently working on Exiles of Tabat, the third book of the Tabat Quartet. A new story collection, Neither Here Nor There, appears from Hydra House this fall.
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