Night of the Living Queers / Shelly Page & Alex Brown, Editors / Book Review

As a blue moon rises this Halloween night, anything could happen. Anything. Ghosts and ghouls, haunted houses, evil wizards and endless transformations: thirteen tales spin twist horror tropes in new, horrific ways. Haunted house parties turn deadly. Dead things come knocking in the night. Monstrous movie-goers, intrepid podcasters, and Ouija boards gone wrong cast an unsettling glow over these diverse tales. Anything could happen in the light of this uncommon moon.  


The highs in this collection are very high. The lows are kind of meh. I think I wanted more explicit rep instead of implicit rep, with a title like Night of the Living Queers. It would have been nice to have some variety in the representation, too—asexuality, anybody? That being said, I enjoyed what I got. I just wanted more than I was given. 


  • Natural Diversity: One of my favorite aspects of anthologies like this comes down to the very natural diversity that presents itself when working with so many authors. There are so many perspectives and experiences wound up in this book, and they feel so natural because they are natural. They’re pulled straight from life. This book doesn’t just embrace queer identities but BIPOC identities as well, and that’s just excellent. 
  • Horrific Highs: As I said above, the high points in this book are particularly high, spine-chilling and unforgettable. Kosoko Jackson’s story, for example, will stay with me for a long time. Because it doesn't just feature supernatural horror but very real horror in the form of a brutual hate crime. This is a story that is bloody and vicious, eye-opening and full of rage--altogether, really excellent. The best of these stories really ramp up the anxiety levels. The visuals are unforgettable. The stories here that get it right really get it right. 
  • Experimental: Something I really love about the short story medium is the room it allows for writers to experiment. Things that wouldn't--that can't--work in the long form make perfect sense in a short, bite-sized piece. I love the experimentation these writers were allowed to do, including the interesting and pointed use of second person throughout several of these stories. Second person is so hard to find! 


  • Miss the Mark: This is my usual anthology woe. Where I would adore one story, I would find the next not exactly stellar. Which makes the overall experience rather bland. Casual readers, of course, can skip ahead to the next story without missing a beat, but as somebody who loves to take in a collection as a whole, I was underwhelmed. 
  • Not Scary: This is an anthology really invested in subverting tropes, and as a result, a lot of these stories carried a great message--i.e. what we're afraid of might actually just be something natural, something normal that nonetheless falls outside of the "regular" or "mainstream" human experience. The demonic, the haunted might just be something or someone resisting the binary, resisting the well-trod paths of human existence. And I loved that message, but in an anthology with horror at its hearts, these little revelations weren't exactly the spooks that I wanted. They were great messages, but they were poor horror shorts. 
  • Conflicted Connections: All of these stories are connected in one fact: they each take place on Halloween night and not just any old Halloween. It's a blue moon, too. And I get that this is supposed to tie all the stories together, to make them feel like one collection instead of a bunch of disparate tales. But I think I would have preferred a bunch of disparate tales. Because this tenuous connection made them feel more constrained than they had to be. It made these stories, in their setup and execution, feel repetitive after a point. Once again, it's Halloween. Once again, it's a blue moon. And I get it. But I could have done without. 



Fans of Editor Tori Bovalino's anthology The Gathering Dark will like this haunting new collection. Those who loved Editor Patrice Caldwell's anthology A Phoenix First Must Burn will love these tales that embrace diverse experiences.  


Publisher: Wednesday Books
Date: August 29, 2023
Series: N/A
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Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.


  1. I’m sorry this book was a miss for you but appreciate your honest, well-written review.

  2. I like the idea of diversity here! It's too bad how repetitive the stories were. Great honest review!

  3. Based on the title of this book, I thought this book would be for me, but after reading your review, I think I'll pass. It is great that there is diversity in the short stories, but with an anthology, there are bound to be stories that miss the mark.

  4. Based on the title of this book, I thought this book would be for me, but after reading your review, I think I'll pass. It is great that there is diversity in the short stories, but with an anthology, there are bound to be stories that miss the mark.

  5. This sounds like quite the mix, sorry it was kind of disappointing in spots and that one story sounds intense for sure. But overall I like the concept. Great review here!

    Allie of


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