[Edit: Originally posted July 13, 2016]
Adults turning into monsters, time travel, orchids that infect rats, ghosts, missing chickens, abundant casual queerness. All these things can be found in the short story collection Falling in Love with Hominids. I cannot recall the last time I read a short fiction collection that I enjoyed so absolutely. There was not a single story I found myself bored by or disinterested in reading.
Falling in Love with Hominids is a sci-fi/fantasy collection. There isn’t one type that you could boil all the stories down to though. They’re different types of sci-fi/fantasy. Some I would call urban fantasy, others might be slightly more“classic” sci-fi. There are others still that are outside those two categories, there’s a “zombie” story, a ghost story. There’s something here for everyone. Whether you have a preference for fantasy, sci-fi, or something different.
My particular favorite story in the collection was one called “Emily Breakfast.” A story about a missing chicken and just full of casual queerness and sci-fi/fantasy. The main two characters, a gay couple, Cranston and Sir Maracle get up to make breakfast only to discover that one of their chickens (Emily Breakfast) has gone missing.
Of course this leads to a search, aided by the neighbors, a lesbian couple and their son and a poly triad and their daughter along with some helpful messenger lizards. Oh and did I mention that chicken are descended from dragons and can snort fire? Because they can. This particular fact comes up when Cranston and Sir Maracle’s cat, Rose of Sharon, gets in a scuffle with the other two chickens, Lunch and Dinner. After the scuffle Cranston lectures Rose of Sharon, “‘Now do you see why we don’t want you in there [the henhouse]?’ he asked her. “Chickens are descended from dragons, you idiot.’”
Emily Breakfast is recovered in the end and all is well.
Another one I really really enjoyed was “A Raggy Dog, A Shaggy Dog.” This was about a woman and the orchids she took care of along with some city rats that were getting infected by orchids like that fungus that infects and takes over the brains of ants. It was very interesting and it’s a very different kind of story than “Emily Breakfast” was.
There are such an excellent variety of stories. There’s even one that’s an extrapolation on The Tempest, focusing on Caliban and Ariel. If you’re a sci-fi/fantasy fan there will almost definitely be something in this collection that catches your fancy. Though of course, I can’t speak for everyone.
A few warnings. This is an adult book, there are mentions of sex in a couple stories but nothing explicit. There also one story, “Blushing”, towards the end of the book that has some mildly graphic descriptions of gore and blood.
You can find the book here.
Related reviews: An Anthology of Fiction by Trans Women of Color, Eggshells