Review of Sean Eads, “A Bouquet of Wonder and Marvel”, in Steve Berman, ed., Wilde Stories 2018: The Year’s Best Gay Speculative Fiction (Lethe Press, 2018): 267-283 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)
Marvels are constructed — engineered — while wonders happen naturally (p. 270).
So says the Irishman visiting Leadville, CO, to Benson, desperate to find anyone who can help out him and his employer against everything that’s going wrong in Georgetown. And who is the Irishman who’s willing to take Benson’s money when no one else will? Why, Oscar Wilde himself!
This is a queer story, in the very most old-fashioned sense of “queer”. At times it is a gunslinging romp; at other times, it is a commentary on magic vs. science; while at still others it turns almost didactic.
But for all it’s uncertainty as to what type of story it was, the tale makes a good ending, not only to the anthology but to the Wilde Stories series. Oscar Wilde will always be the patron saint of gay literature, and having lent his name to the series for a decade, it’s only fair that he got a starring role in the final story.
(Originally published in Georgetown Haunts and Mysteries, 2017).