The Queen of Cups: A Short Story by Ren Basel

The Oracle lives by the sea and for the right price, she will read your fortune or provide a blessing. Theo is one such blessing seeker. 

Exciting things to note right off the bat:

  • Trans characters!!! More than one!!! The main character Theo, uses they/them pronouns.

That’s really the big thing I wanted to yell about, given the fact that at least for me, someone saying “Did you know this book/story/movie/tv show/whatever has a trans character in it?” is a sure fire way to get me to check out the thing. 

But if that’s not enough for you, here’s some more good reasons you should check out this story.

It’s really well written. It’s easy to read and flows super well. It’s divided into sections, kind of like mini chapters, which does a really good job of scene changing in such a short story (it’s only 13 pages).

It’s good. I was so enthralled reading it, I got scolded by the train conductor because I hadn’t noticed her approach and therefore did not have my ticket out and ready because I’d been so absorbed. Whoops. But yeah, really good, the author does a really good job of maintaining tension throughout the story. There is not a boring moment.

I would love to see these characters again in another story. They are all wonderfully written and incredibly compelling and I could read a whole novel of them. 

Another thing that I really love is that the queerness inherent in the story is just there. They’re just presented as is. There’s not angst over identity, there’s no transphobia or other queerphobia, it’s just the way things work.  Theo is they, the lesbian couple are having a baby together, it’s normal and good. These are some of my favorite kinds of stories to read. I cannot recommend this story enough. “The Queen of Cups” is really worth every penny.

Warnings (these are also listed in a note on the copyright page in front of the story):

  • Deep water
  • Death by drowning 
  • Spiritual possession
  • Brief mentions of alcoholic beverages

“The Queen of Cups” comes out on March 1st. You can pre-order it here.