Normally I’m not one for short stories or anthologies, but I am so glad I was given the opportunity to read Xenocultivars. This collection explores different tellings of growth in general, as well as queer growth. Read down below for my thoughts on this anthology.
This collection of speculative short fiction is about all kinds of queer growth, from emerging and developing to flourishing and cultivating. Whether they’re tender sprouts just beginning to discover themselves or deeply rooted leaders fiercely defending those they love, the people in these stories have this in common: you can’t tell them what to do. They grow as they please.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
The diversity of genres was such as delight. A strength of certain anthologies that I do not consider is the ability to be a literary buffet. While reading Xenocultivars I was able to read through several stories of different genres. If you like genres with a modern witchy feel, there’s something for you. Do you like genres with a focus on fantasy and royalty? There is something for you. If you like science fiction, there is A LOT here for you.
If you like queer and nonbinary characters and authors, this entire collection is for you. I loved being able to read so many works from so many queer and nonbinary authors. The elevation of queer and nonbinary voices is so important and this anthology does such a great job in collecting them. After each story is small bios of the authors including their social media handles. I know I’ll be checking them out!
I think Xenocultivar’s theme and metaphor of growth are so powerful and incredibly interesting. This is what created the possibility of so many genres and such unique stories through direct and indirect references to growth. The inclusion of plants and botany is totally in my wheelhouse and helped to solidify that metaphor of growth.
I really enjoyed reading this collection of short stories about queer growth. Each story’s way of discussing growth, botanical or otherwise, created such a positive tone. I would be happy to read another collection from Speculatively Queer publishers.