“A Faun’s Tale” by Tom Cardamone from So Fey: Queer Fairy Fiction by Lethe Press (2009). Edited by Steve Berman.

This is a departure. For one thing, it’s a book I haven’t read previously. It’s also about faerie folk, a genre I’m not very familiar with, though I have read (and enjoyed) a few such stories recently, thanks to this project. Many of the people whose work is included here I have great respect for, and several others I’ve heard nothing but good things about. I’ve been curious about their work but shied away because of the subject matter. Faerie folk. Magic. Not usually my cup of tea.

One of the people one that second list? Eugie Foster. If you don’t know she fought and just last week lost a battle with cancer. She was only forty-two. She’d won a Nebula Award for her work. Her partner said he doesn’t need flowers. What he wants is for people to buy her books and keep her work alive. This volume, originally by Haworth Press but reprintd by Lethe Press, caught my eye.

Tom Cardamone is one of the authors with whom I was already somewhat familiar. I’d read his story “The Cloud Dragon Ate Red Balloons” (Short Stories 365/198) and loved it. This story is about a young man who is about to enter Central Park’s Ramble for the very first time, looking for sex. This was not the first time I’d read a story that started with that premise. (For that matter, don’t a fair number of episodes of Law n’ Order start that way?) It was the first time I’d read a story where the main character is part faun, and the men he’s looking to meet are either fauns or werewolves. At least, stories where they are literally those things. (Yes, I know. I still haven’t read Trebor Healey’s novel Faun, and I couldn’t stop thinking about that fact while reading this.)

My only criticism is that this piece was too short. And no, I don’t mean I think we should have been shown the main character’s interaction with the guys he chooses to follow deeper into the Ramble. I mean I wish we’d learned more about him, and his struggle before this point, and the emotion that brought him there. But that’s not really very much of a criticism, is it? Oh well. It is what it is.