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Short Stories 365/304 | N.S. Beranek

“The Ice King” by Tom Cardamone from The Lavender Menace: Tales of Queer Villainy, Northwest Press, 2013. Edited by Tom Cardamone.

Here we have the funhouse mirror image of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen. I also kept thinking of the Green Knight from the Arthurian legends, probably due to the description of the Ice King as “overly masculine”. At any rate, we follow him as he carves a destructive path through the backrooms of gay bars, freezing the strangers he finds there. It’s all part of his mission to create macabre ice sculptures that will one day be recognized as art.

I expected to encounter the hero next, but the Ice King first pays a visit to Mother Bear. This section of the tale is quite interesting, but didn’t seem to serve a purpose as far as the plot was concerned. It makes me suspect this is a fragment of a larger, very intriguing work.

The story’s final line borders on groan-worthy, but closer to the beginning there is the double entendre to end all double entendres. I’m really not kidding. The rest of us should throw down our pens; we’ve been outdone.