I’m going to get into a lot of trouble here, so at least listen to what I have to say before firing off your flames about his review.
Blithe House Quarterly, edited by Aldo Alvarez, is a wonderful magazine of short fiction. The selections in the current issue (eight total) are each well-written, intriguing, and for the most part a joy to read. But how and why they constitute being labeled as “Gay Fiction” is beyond me.
Maybe I’m getting more political here than is needed in a simple zine review, but I’ve never understood the need to label fiction and poetry beyond the necessary “good” and “bad.”
For example, would Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” be any less great if the author had been white? Or yellow? Or red, brown, or green? Would Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club be any less powerful if the main characters had all been lesbian, or hermaphrodites? Or men?
Unfortunately there is within our country a growing trend not to define people and their work by whom they are as individuals and the quality of the work they produce, but by which group we want to belong to, or by what label we can most easily identify with, or by what prejudices we have harbored and honed, like well-oiled knives.
To avoid (or, to read, for that matter) Blithe House Quarterly based solely on the fact that they have chosen to restrict themselves to “gay literature” would be most unfortunate. The stories here are wonderful, and deserve to be read by any and all.
And that’s all I ask of a fiction magazine.