ANTONICA JONES (editor)
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: SHORT STORY COLLECTION, VARIOUS SFF SUB-GENRES, VARIOUS LGBT+ REP
WARRIOR is an anthology of twelve exciting science-fiction and fantasy short stories, bursting with unstoppable characters that happen to identify within the LGBTQIA spectrum.
Warrior is a great little anthology and it suits my tastes perfectly. Within the twelve stories included, it covers a wide variety of SFF sub-genres and tropes and features representation for a good number of LGBTQIA+ identities.
I’m not great at reviewing short story collections so I thought I’d break things down a little. In fantasy, identities are often implied without using terminology (so that e.g. it can be hard to tell if a character is bi- or pansexual) but for my count, we cover gay, lesbian, bi/pansexual, trans, intersex and aroace protagonists. Pretty impressive.
The stories cover all sorts of topics, so without giving too much away here’s a short description of each.
- Fight Club
- Zombie/ Viral outbreak survivor journey
- High Fantasy wartime – Just seeing the enemy can destroy your mind
- Outcast fairy has to save them all
- The fight against alien invaders, with super advanced medical technology
- American Werewolf in London reimagined
- The aftermath of an alien invasion visit
- Inverted portal-fantasy – Search for a cure
- Legendary Viking-style warrior shares her story with a bard
- Warrior helps out local children
- Human sacrifice bites back
There was no story that I disliked, and even the ones that aren’t really my genre were interesting and well-written. My particular favourites were These Bodies are Battlefields by Tash McAdam, Glass Bones by Kirstie Olley and The Metal Mermaid by Kelly Matsuura.
One of the things I really liked aside from the stories themselves was that there’s a short trigger warning page after the contents. It flags things like war, implied sexual assault etc. but (and it bugs me so much when people complain about warnings for this reason) it doesn’t give away anything about the stories.
My only complaint (and this is just me) about the anthology as a whole was that there was a lack of clear, happy endings. A couple were, and most were probably best described as ambiguous which suits me fine. But of the twelve stories there were five where someone dies or the couple is separated and two where it’s not clear. I would have just liked if there had been a bit more of a fightback against the queer suffering trope.