THE BOOK OF QUEER SAINTS ANTHOLOGY Review - Queer Horror Villains Transcend the Concepts of Purity
The Book of Queer Saints is a fantastical journey of horror that captivates the diversity of the collection.
The Book of Queer Saints is the debut horror anthology from editor, Mae Murray. The book is a collection of thirteen fictional short horror stories written by members of the LBGTQA+ community. It includes stories by Eric LaRocca, Perry Ruhland, Nikki R. Leigh, Joe Koch, Joshua R. Pangborn, K.S. Walker, George Daniel Lea, LC von Hesson, Briar Ripley Page, Eric Raglin, and Belle Tolls. Each entry in the anthology focuses on queer villains and anti-heroes, from traversing the sandy shores in Frolic Night by Hailey Piper, to the gelatinous tone in Morta by James Bennett. This collection of horror stories is an eclectic anthology that demonstrates the veracity of each author in its own right.
The Book of Queer Saints presents us with the best of queer villains and immoral characters that captured the heart of some of the most wonderful horror writers in the community. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I have been disheartened to see others attacking horror writers for creating villainous and deep characters who don’t meet the criteria of “queer purity.” This collection is a direct response to the harassment queer writers have experienced from their own community when portraying queer characters as morally grey or villainous.
“While it’s true that villains have often been queer coded by straight people, and while it is important that we fight against tropes that paint queer people as wholly immoral, oppressed, and destined to endure persecution, suffering, and even death, it becomes problematic when these criticisms become a way to tear down writers in our own community.” - Mae Murray
The first entry in the anthology is Frolic Night. Just as the ocean depths meet the shore, it is a textural story mixed with a borderline cinematic experience. Essentially, it’s a story about loneliness and the concept of not letting go of what could potentially make us happy. The way Piper writes and uses language left me with goosebumps, as if I could feel the cool ocean breeze against my skin. Through the eyes of a deep sea creature, we experience their emotions as they refuse to let go of a good thing—even if it is an incredibly selfish act to perpetrate against another. I couldn’t help but empathize with the narrator as I, too, have felt that deep loneliness.
As I moved through each entry in The Book of Queer Saints, I was captivated by stories of queer characters that transcended the concept of purity and angelic behaviour some expect of them. I weaved my way through the perspective of dead characters, gooey aliens, and felt a deep connection to stage five clingers. Murray has absolutely smashed expectations with a beautifully curated collection of short stories written by incredible authors. As a fan of most of the writers in the collection, I was astounded by its freshness and the beautifully descriptive style of each writer.
It is a fantastical journey of horror that captivates the diversity of the collection. Murray has put together a masterful and thoughtful selection of stories sure to connect and entertain readers. It was a surreal experience being able to relate to queer characters; something I haven’t gone through before. I appreciated every moment spent with the beautiful stories. It was a refreshing experience to see myself reflected in the villainous and anti-hero queer characters. This horror anthology is a must have for any horror fiction collection.
The Book of Queer Saints horror anthology is available to purchase on Amazon.