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Lesbian Short Fiction #1
Edited by Jinx Beers

Reviewed by Carl Cipra
Rating: none given

One of the pleasures of attending Worldcon in Anaheim this year was that it gave me a chance to meet up with all those West Coast friends whom I haven't seen in a long time. It was while I was in the dealers' room schmoozing with a couple of long-time acquaintances - artist Alicia Austin and her life partner/manager Jinx Beers - that I discovered that the premiere issue of Lesbian Short Fiction had been published.

A request for submissions for this publication had been advertised in the June/July '95 issue of Science Fiction Chronicle; and I duly reported on that fact in the Sept. '95 issue of this newsletter. That being the case, I decided to pick up a copy and see how it all turned out. I figured I might enjoy some of the stories and that I might be able to provide some sort of polite response on the rest - but that's just not the way things turned out. You see, only some of the stories are merely "good" - others are very good! (This despite the fact that, as an exclusively gay male reader, I'm afraid some of the lesbian erotica stories are lost on me.)

Lesbian Short Fiction is projected as a quarterly publication. Jinx Beers is the editor, with Katherine V. Forrest as an advisor. (And it features cover and interior line-drawing illustrations by Alicia Austin.) It will anthologize short fiction about lesbians - not necessarily just short fiction by lesbians. The "genre" of the fiction is totally open - the first issue, for instance, includes mystery, gothic, romance, fantasy, humor, erotica, and vignettes of lesbian life.

Issue #1 contains 21 pieces of short fiction, from first-time authors as well as from authors who have already had stories and/or novels published. Only four of these stories are from the F&SF genre: "Sister Wolf" (a tale of magical reality by Lisa Marie Neff); "A Victorian Ending" (a vampire tale by Shirley Williamson); "The Lore of the Ages" (high fantasy about a girl and a dragon, by genre artist George Barr); and "Salt" (a fascinating Biblical fantasy based on the Genesis 19 story of Lot's wife, by Donna Allegra). Jinx says she's got more F&SF slated for upcoming issues.

I think the most powerful stories in this issue, however, are the vignettes of contemporary lesbian life. Four of them come immediately to mind: "Talking to Dorothy" (by Joan M. Drury) is a poignant story about losing a life partner. "Film Fatale" is a new short murder mystery featuring Elizabeth Pincus' lesbian San Francisco private eye, Nell Fury. (I've already been over to Lammas to hunt up the four previous "Nell Fury" novels.) Margot Addison's "Talking to My Angel" effectively highlights the frustrations of military "closets." And "Sy" (by Lee Lynch) is a thought-provoking tale about how internalized societal pressures have kept an older woman in the closet until the moment of her death. These four stories alone make this issue a "must read."

As I said earlier, Lesbian Short Fiction is projected as a quarterly publication; and Jinx says the 2nd and 3rd issues are already in production. The cover price for an issue is $9.95; but you can subscribe for 4 issues for $36. To subscribe, make checks payable to "Jinx Beers, Editor" and send them to: LSF, 6507 Franrivers Ave., West Hills, CA 91307. (Jinx says they're also interested in getting feedback from readers.) I know that Lammas has copies of Issue #1.

I highly recommend Lesbian Short Fiction; and I look forward to reading future issues. Besides, as a member of Lambda Sci-Fi, how can I not love a publication that features the letters "LSF" prominently on the cover?

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