The last of the Queers Destroy Science Fiction audiobook stories I’ll be chatting about on Sunday Shorts, “Cyberfruit Swamp” was a freaking joyride of queerness on pretty much every level.
To break down what I loved: the genderqueerness involved was so deftly penned (I loved the term “Nachtlei Queer”) and the culture Kaldera spun in the bar (and outside the bar) was charged with both a range and breadth of queerness, but also didn’t shy away from the typical responses to such range and breadth. More, the sheer joy the protagonist was taking with toy selection and scoping out the other patrons? Fantastic and vibrant and just so energized.
More? I loved the way the narrative unfolded, with a couple of quick reveals making the characters shine. I adored the not-so-subtle jab at laws and lawmakers and how so very behind they tend to be.
Also? Scorchingly erotic. I know I often talk about how annoyed I get at the assumption of all things queer being equated to romance or erotica, but this was a perfect example of where the queerness and the erotic were absolutely interwoven with the science fiction of the piece and intrinsic to the story. This isn’t “there’s queer people on this space ship so we need kissing to make sure it’s obvious they’re queer,” this is “here are queer people in the future (also, they’re hot as fuck).”
But on top of anything else, I just enjoyed being in this expansively queer future world. This was absolutely the kind of story I wanted to see in the collection.