Love Beyond Body, Space and Time: An Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi Anthology edited by Hope Nicholson. ★★★
If you can’t tell from the title, Love Beyond Body, Space and Time is a short story collection focused on LGBT and two-spirit science fiction and fantasy and written by all indigenous authors. I always have an eye out for queer SFF, and I also haven’t read much by Native American authors. I want to correct this flaw in my reading, and this anthology looked like it would introduce me to a number of relevant authors.
The only author in the anthology I’d heard of before was Daniel Heath Justice, although this was my first chance to read his work. As I’d hoped, I enjoyed several short stories in this collection and will seek out more of those author’s work.
The collection had several introductions which took up a hefty chunk of the page count. In retrospect, I wish I’d skipped them and headed straight for the stories instead. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the first story, “Aliens” by Richard van Camp. The experimentation with POV didn’t work for me, and I don’t know how well it fit in with the theme of the collection. It also has some iffy treatment of intersex people as plot points.
“Legends are Made, Not Born” by Cherie Dimaline was an improvement over the first story, but I still felt like it was missing something. I think the core idea was interesting, but the story could have used more development. Perhaps expanding it some?
Daniel Heath Justice’s story, “The Boys Who Became the Hummingbirds,” was all right but not really what I was looking for – it was very much in the style of a myth. The writing however was lovely, and I still plan to read more by Justice.
My favorite story of the collection was “Né łe” by Darci Little Badger. This story was adorable! A vet travels to a new life on Mars, but she’s woken up partway through the journey to take care of some dogs whose sleep pods have malfunctioned. Basically, this story has a f/f romance and dogs in space. It’s no wonder I loved it so much.
My second favorite of the collection was probably “Impostor Syndrome” by Mari Kurisato, which tells the tale of a cyborg who wishes to be human. The story was excellently constructed and managed to combine classic tropes with a modern feel.
Other stories in the collection include “Transitions” by Gwen Benaway, “Perfectly You” by David A. Robertson, “Valediction at the Star View Motel” by Nathan Adler, and a poem, “Parallax” by Cleo Keahna. These stories were all perfectly decent but didn’t stand out much to me one way or the other.
While I think the beginning of the collection was weak, I’m glad that I ultimately stuck with Love Beyond Body, Space and Time.