REVIEW: “Of All Possible Worlds” by Eneasz Brodski

Review of Eneasz Brodski, “Of All Possible Worlds”, in Steve Berman, ed., Wilde Stories 2017: The Year’s Best Gay Speculative Fiction (Lethe Press, 2017): 223-236. — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

Warning: This story contains a rape.

Ehud. I had slept with him years ago. I had loved him for awhile. I should have known he would be found out. A stone flew from the crowd and tore his ear open. It bled black.

This story was a feast of detail — Romans and Jews, slaves and centurions, Colosseum fights, monstrous grotesque animals, a wizened wizard. To every animal, human or beast, that Marad sends into the Colosseum, he offers the following apology: “You must die so that I may live. I don’t ask your forgiveness; this is the way of life. But know I wish this world was different” (p. 225).

All the stories in this anthology make my heart ache, from sadness, from gladness, from a desire that the world is other than how it is. This one left me with a feeling of sadness and fear too complex to be articulated. The horror in it is shattering.

(This story was originally published in 2016 in Swords vs. Chthulhu, Jesse Bullington & Molly Tanzer, eds.)