The stories in the Dates graphic fiction anthology, edited by Zora Gilbert and Cat Parra, are all super-short, so they’re perfect for little moments when you need a bite of LGBTQ+ positivity in the middle of your day like a one-bite chocolate out of the candy dish on your grandma’s coffee table.
Major kudos for the editors for handpicking a selection of tiny stories that are not only diverse within the LGBTQ+ umbrella (there’s f/f, m/m, trans m/f, at least three nonbinary stories, and asexual Tesla) but also diverse in time period and geographical setting. I have to confess I read this a week ago and I still have not stopped squeeing over the two Jewish ones–two!–and of course naturally they had the good sense that neither one of them is, well, you know.
But it’s not just us cavorting in there — we also get to visit Korea (twice, and both about acrobats), the Norse folk, the Romans, Ye Olde Renaissance Italy, South America, the Soviet Union, the Old West, both African-American rural women and wealthy nightclub men in the 1920’s (the one with the Black ladies, “Lulu and Diana”, was one of my favorites!) and of course no historical romance anything would be complete without its Regency representation. Of course.
Oh, and did I mention it stars with cave-lesbians in the Paleolithic-or-whatever? With no speech bubbles, which makes total sense to me and made me audibly squee IRL? I love this anthology.
What truly frustrates me about this anthology is that when holding it in my hands I want to buy copies for thousands of people. I get this urge to want to wallpaper the world with things like this, and Fierce Family, and other grab-bags of expertly chosen LGBTQ+ vignettes. What’s treasuresome about books like these two is that they’re dozens of queer happy endings at a time. That’s why I want to drop piles of them in people’s laps. I just know how many people out there want this, and don’t know it exists, and that frustrates me. I’ll do what I can to signal boost. Here’s the link to the digital version; I bought it in paperback with the kickstarter.
Treat yourself. Buy the grab-bag, or buy it for yourself and a friend. We’re overdue. While history may not have always been kind to us, it wasn’t a 24-7 vale of tears and woe and we deserve to be able to enjoy all the exciting settings cis, straight people enjoy, celebrate the history of our own groups and enjoy writers celebrating their own histories.
Now I’m going to go read the Jewish ones again BECAUSE REASONS.