Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my open and honest review.
Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time is a collection of Indigenous LGBT Science Fiction (mostly) #ownvoices short stories edited by Hope Nicholson and published by Bedside Press. I usually find it a difficult task to accurately review a collection or anthology because usually a portion of the stories resonate with me and other stories miss the mark. In this case, I loved every story in the collection. Each story is unique. Each story explores different aspects of love and the experience of individuals from different Tribes. The note from the editor at the beginning and as well as the two authors who write about Indigenous LGBT science fiction provide a good context and introduction of the collection. While I am only calling out four of the short stories, I think all in the collection deserve recognition and praise.
Perfectly You by David Robertson
Perfectly You is an amazing short story about love and time travel. The story starts out normally enough with the main character Emma trying to decide whether or not to call a girl she met. While trying to decide, she agrees to use a machine that will induce a realistic dream about whatever the person is thinking about. This dream will seem like it will last days, months, years when in reality will only last a couple minutes. The rest of the story is a mind-bending journey about unconditional love, joy, and time travel.
The Boys Who Became the Hummingbirds by Daniel Heath Justice
Daniel Heath Justice starts off by saying this story is one of teaching and remembrance. This tells the story of Strange Boy who is expelled with the town of the People. In his secret spot, he meets Shadow Boy and together the transform into hummingbirds, delighting in each other’s company and movement. They return to their home to find they must set the People’s hearts free – they were trapped by fear and hate. This is a beautiful story about softening hearts, about teaching love above fear and hate. About the hard work that must be done in order for the People to be accepting and loving to all – so that no one is forgotten and no one’s beauty will ever be shamed again
Né łe by Darcie Little Badger
Né łe was my favorite story in the anthology, closely followed by The Boys Who Became the Hummingbirds. This story starts out with the Dottie King, a veterinarian, relocating to Mars. After entering a cryo-chamber (it takes 6 months to get to Mars), she is woken up by a ship worker Cora for an emergency. The emergency is pretty funny in my opinion, but definitely one that would require the ship staff to wake up others. The emergency and the journey to Mars provides a backdrop for the love story between Dottie and Cora. A clever, beautiful, and funny story.
Transitions by Gwen Benaway
This story was very powerful about the physical, mental, and spiritual transition of a Two-Spirit person. Told from a first person perspective, the main character is introduced rushing to a doctors appointment in hopes of joining a new drug trial to transition from a man to a woman. This story is deep and explores many different aspects of transition. This story is very personal and I felt like I was invited into an intimate space and experience. I am very thankful to the author for sharing this story – it talks about physical transition and the everyday microaggressions and stereotypes of trans people. It talks about the spiritual significance of Two-Spirit people historically in their Tribe. It hits home that while some folks choose to physically transition, the trans and Two-Spirit identity is so much more than physicality and physical appearance.
I would recommend this anthology of short stories without reservation. This collection is written from an intersection of #ownvoices that we do not see in publishing. These voices are constantly pushed down by mainstream publishing and I am very excited to be able to support the independent publishers and authors who worked incredibly hard to publish this anthology. When I finished the collection, I was left wanting to hear more stories about time travel, space, technology, love, aliens, and the unknown from these authors. And not just short stories. While I have high praises for the collection, I would love to read science fiction novels, series, poetry, and novellas from any of these authors. I am hoping in the publishing world, we are able to get to a place where we can support and publish more Indigenous LGBT SFF authors.
Please consider buying a copy of this book to support an independent publisher and the many Indigenous LGBT authors who contributed. Check out the other author’s websites as well (Grace Dillon , Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Richard Van Camp, Cherie Dimaline, Mari Kurisato, Nathan Adler, Cleo Keahna).
Final Rating: 5/5