I had the privilege recently of reviewing the soon to be released (October 16th, 2012) compilation from Topside Press, “The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard“. It’s comprised of works by 28 authors, some of who are newer voices in literary fiction and some who have been around just a bit longer and who, in my opinion, are destined for long careers, should they so desire.
The book was compiled and edited by Tom Leger and Riley MacLeod for Topside. Topside itself made it’s commercial debut in 2011. The stated goal of the company is “publishing authentic transgender narratives”. This book, when released, will be their inaugural publication. Judging from what I’ve seen, they’re very excited about the book and, quite frankly, they should be. It’s excellent! They’ve done an amazing job bringing together 28 very different writers with 28 very different tales to weave.
There are short stories here about transitioning and specifically about being transgender, yes but, more than that, there are many, many stories that cover several genres of fiction that feature a main character (or characters) who happen to be transgender. In many of these tales, being transgender is just a fact about the protagonist(s) and not the crux of the story. There’s room for both themes here and neither overpowers the other. I love that!
I really enjoyed stories like “The Cafe” by R. Drew, “Other Women” by Casey Plett, “Tammy Faye” by A. Raymond Johnson (does that date me?!), “A Roman Inciden”t by Red Durkin, ”To Do List for Morning” by Stephen Ira, and several more. On the other hand, I admit, there were a couple of stories here that were totally “not my thing.” The story, “Malediction and Pee Play” by Sherilyn Connelly springs vividly to mind. Still, others may love that story and a couple of the others that weren’t for me. To each his own!
I’m looking forward to seeing ”The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard” available for sale. I expect that it will do very well.