The fiction and poetry of Queer Little Nightmares reimagines monsters old and new through a queer lens, subverting the horror gaze to celebrate ideas and identities canonically feared in monster lit. Throughout history, monsters have appeared in popular culture as stand-ins for the non-conforming, the marginalized of society. Pushed into the shadows as objects of fear, revulsion, and hostility, these characters have long conjured fascination and self-identification in the LGBTQ+ community, and over time, monsters have become queer icons.
In Queer Little Nightmares, creatures of myth and folklore seek belonging and intimate connection, cryptids challenge their outcast status, and classic movie monsters explore the experience of coming into queerness. The characters in these stories and poems — the Minotaur camouflaged in a crowd of cosplayers, a pubescent werewolf, a Hindu revenant waiting to reunite with her lover, a tender-hearted kaiju, a lagoon creature aching for the swimmers above him, a ghost of Pride past — relish their new sparkle in the spotlight. Pushing against tropes that have historically been used to demonize, the queer creators of this collection instead ask: What does it mean to be (and to love) a monster?
Contributors include Amber Dawn, David Demchuk, Hiromi Goto, jaye simpson, Eddy Boudel Tan, Matthew J. Trafford, and Kai Cheng Thom.
David Ly is the author of the poetry collections Mythical Man (shortlisted for the 2021 ReLit Poetry Award) and Dream of Me as Water. He is the poetry editor at This Magazine.
Daniel Zomparelli is the Editor-in-Chief of Poetry Is Dead magazine and co-podcaster at Can't Lit. He also co-edits After You, a collaborative poetry project. He is the author of the poetry collections Davie Street Translations and (with Dina Del Bucchia) Rom Com, both published by Talonbooks. His debut story collection Everything Is Awful and You’re a Terrible Person was published by Arsenal Pulp Press in 2017. He lives in Vancouver.
Published: March 2023
“Queer Little Nightmares is a marvelous, must-read monstrous romp. Like the best haunted house rides, which never repeat the same scare twice, Queer Little Nightmares thrills and surprises at every turn. The works gathered here are distinct in the histories they reclaim and renew, imaginative in the visions they construct and share, and manifold in the ways they move us as readers — whether it be with joy, anguish, humour, horror, intrigue, irreverence, or some chimeric combo of all these and more. If this groundbreaking anthology doesn’t make your skin tingle, your mind pulse, and your heart expand, you may already be dead!” — Daniel Scott Tysdal, author of The End Is in the Middle: Mad Fold-In Poems
“Editors David Ly and Daniel Zomparelli have created a wondrous space for writers to explore monstrous impulses in poetry and prose. Queer Little Nightmares is a fantastical examination of where we are at this moment in time and a celebration of who we may become if we embrace our shadow selves with love. You might say that this thrilling anthology is the beautiful dark twisted fantasy of our time.” — Doretta Lau, author of How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun?
“The ultimate gift of Queer Little Nightmares is to illuminate our own monstrous qualities and temptations, to bring us closer to what’s uncomfortable, disgusting, disobedient and vicious within us, but also to what’s exciting, ecstatic, pleasureful and liberatory.” — Xtra
“These queer little nightmares kept me up all night, because I could not put them down. Energizing, thrilling, poetic and gorgeous, this anthology sparks and it singed me to my emotional core. I’m not scared of how deeply I fell in love with every monster and creature, every story and poem. I want to horror-heroine scream from the rooftops that everyone should read this book. Embrace your inner monster with this impeccable collection of stories and poems that will haunt and heal.” — Dina Del Bucchia, author of Don’t Tell Me What to Do
“This anthology features monsters both old and new reimagined through a queer lens, celebrating the ideas and identities so often stigmatized and feared in monster literature. The stories and poems are filled with kaiju and revenants and creatures from mythology pushed to the margins that LGBTQ people know so well and, this time, given their time to shine.” — Book Riot