Strange Horizons, August 10, 2020

Strange Horizons, August 10, 2020

“A Voyage to Queensthroat” by Anya Johanna DeNiro

Reviewed by Victoria Silverwolf

Blending sword-and-sorcery with space opera, “A Voyage to Queensthroat” by Anya Johanna DeNiro begins with the narrator attacked by a gang of young hoodlums. She defeats them easily, but only after one kills her dog. She later helps the youngest of the group, who only reluctantly joined them in the assault, escape to another world in a hidden spaceship. The youngster proves to have an important destiny.

The author’s style is vivid, and the story is full of exotic details. A flash forward early in the narrative reveals what became of the young person, so there is little suspense. Some of the tale’s nomenclature seems inappropriate. Naming the antagonist Lamb Villanelle, for example, may be an attempt at irony, but comes across as risible.

The main characters include transgendered individuals, and the theme of gender dysphoria forms a major part of the plot. No doubt the author’s intent is sincere, but, inevitably in this modern age, this aspect of the story seems trendy.

Victoria Silverwolf received some chocolate bars made with black balsam from Latvia recently.