Today I got hate mail. Well, not really hate "mail" so much as hate "e-mail." Also, there were so many typos included it was hard to take it seriously. More, the issue at hand - that my novel basically upset them for being too romancy when they wanted science fiction super heroes - was kind of hard to be upset about.
Dude. Did you read the back? There was nothing in the product description to scream "hard edge science fiction superhero!" Drag queens. Leather guys. The word "fabulous."
These were clues. That said, thank you for the feedback. Seriously. Feedback is important, and I know now (even though I already kinda-sorta knew) not to advertise my book as a book for the lover of hard edge science fiction superhero books.
And that's about all that's worth saying about that.
"Virgil's Eulogy," by J.R. Greenwell
Okay, I'm going to call it early. I know there are still two months technically left in the year, but Who the Hell is Rachel Wells? has officially won my heart as the best gay anthology of the year, and while of course not all of that is due to the final story in the collection, the final story in the collection is frankly brilliant.
I've said before how my love of short fiction can be stoked with an author who creates a collection of linked short fiction, but I think now I need to maybe take a step back and say the best way anyone could ever my heart overflow with joy is to surprise me by doing so. It's hard to explain what I mean, so let me stop fluttering for a second and go back to this story.
"Virgil's Eulogy" is exactly that - a man's eulogy, delivered by James, the partner he left behind. That James is a former drag queen extraordinaire means that the eulogy about to be delivered is going to be spectacular (and more than a little snippy) and may just involve a few cat fights with members of the audience, be they current performers or impersonators or relatives.
And maybe the priest, too.
What unfolds here is the story of Virgil's life, through the (self-centered) lens of James, with some glory, a lot of guts, and a heck of a lot of gusto and glitter and all things gay and drag queen. It's written so bluntly that I could hear every world, and James's voice was a joy.
Then Greenwell started to drop threads into the story, and so many of the tales that came before "Virgil's Eulogy" in this collection are brought back to the reader's mind, and the cohesive world of all these people becomes tighter and tighter while James speaks on.
The last few lines? Oh.
I woke my husband up by declaring, aloud, "That was fucking brilliant."
And it was.