REVIEW: “The Library of Lost Things” by Matthew Bright

Review of Matthew Bright, “The Library of Lost Things”, in Steve Berman, ed., Wilde Stories 2018: The Year’s Best Gay Speculative Fiction (Lethe Press, 2018): 61-77 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

What a thoroughly, wonderfully, perfectly delightful story! This is a story for any author that has ever lost a story, or destroyed a story, or never finished a story — that is, it’s a story for every author! — and who dreams that maybe somewhere, somehow, it is not truly lost.

The premise of Bright’s story is that dream come true: In the Library of Lost Things lie all the stories lost or unfinished before their authors died. Even better: the Library is in need of a new indexer. Thomas Hardy (no relation) arrives to interview for the job; he knows just what to say and do to secure his place, to get the chance he needs to find the one thing he wants most of all.

But what Tom finds is more than even he could have imagined…

I loved, loved this story.

(Originally published in, 2017)

REVIEW: “In Search of Stars” by Matthew Bright

Review of Matthew Bright, “In Search of Stars”, Glittership Episode 43 (2017): Read/listen online. Reviewed by Julia K. Patt.

What an unusual, mysterious story.

Our unnamed narrator is a scientist living in Los Angeles; he develops a blue paint that makes people float away into the sky. This is what he does with his one-night stands, the men he takes back to his apartment. He wants these men, sometimes desperately, but doesn’t want to linger with them or see them again. There’s a sense that by releasing them into the atmosphere, our narrator is protecting himself, distancing himself from what he really wants.

Of course, not all of them go quietly or disappear unforgotten. We can understand, perhaps, why the narrator is so uneasy.

Anonymity dominates not only in his life but also in the city itself, a peculiar hybrid of shiny Hollywood glamour and “Good old American filth.” Where all the women are named Marilyn and even laundromats turn into something very different at night. No one is exactly as they seem or as they claim to be, including—especially—the man telling this story.

It’s a story rich in the unspoken, the undeclared, which becomes more than a little unsettling (in the best way). There’s very little dialogue, aside from the narrator’s conversations with Eugene, an old friend from school who works on movies. And even his time with Eugene eventually lapses into silence at the story’s conclusion.

Then the narrator must make a decision: to stay or float away himself and join the men he’s sent into the sky.