Two Hour Transport Anthology: 2019
It feels a bit cheating to review an anthology in which my writing appears, but this is a special case for me. Two Hour Transport has been my favorite Seattle literary event for years now. It’s the place where I’ve met some of my favorite people and discovered some of my favorite authors. I’ve made a few connections that have helped my career, I suppose, although actually nothing has been directly helpful except for a few times when people tipped me off that a magazine or anthology was opening for submissions. Much more important than any capitalist reasons is the community, the great conversations, the pure delightful fun that is Two Hour Transport: Seattle's science fiction living room.
This anthology delighted me in the way that only seeing your friends in print can. A number of these stories are stories that I heard bits and pieces of at the open mic, and at least one I heard performed by a featured reader. Others I saw come through my critique group before they were submitted to this anthology, and one, Mitchell Shanklin’s “Fantastic Coverage,” I’ve heard rumors about but never read: it's the one that got written for Two Hour Transport’s Thanksgiving-themed event one year and then was published in Unidentified Funny Objects! It’s a joy to see these pieces again, to find out how the revisions turned out, to find out how they end.
A few standouts: “Eddie’s Last Wave,” by Jeff Abrams, marries an old-school science fictional aesthetic with modern considerations around disability and aging. The story’s joy in being alive is so intense I teared up. Nisi Shawl’s story “Beyond the Lighthouse” is more literary but captures a similar feeling, a feeling of flight, of good things finally happening in a hard life, of being in love with the world. Both vaguely creepy and painfully optimistic, it’s actually one of my favorite Nisi stories—which is saying something.
Sirena Ross’s “Animates” is pretty good laid out flat on the page; if you ever get a chance to see her perform this story, or her other work, you should jump on it because she brings an emotion and immediacy in her live performances that makes her one of the best featured readers Two Hour Transport has ever had. And Allison Green’s “What to Pack” is non-fiction but literary and appealing, both as a creative use of parentheses and as a meditation on the ways in which identity matters.
The remarkable thing about Two Hour Transport is that this little anthology, put together as an experiment and a tribute to our literary community, has very few clunkers in it. We’re some talented folks, y’all, including a bunch of writers whose names I haven’t even mentioned yet: Andy Dudak of Clarkesworld translations fame (he's translating for Liu Cixin now, no big deal), Elly Bangs (my favorite up-and-coming writer and also one of my favorite people), Keyan Bowes, Evan J. Peterson. Eileen Gunn. My gosh, you guys, this anthology has an Eileen Gunn story in it, “Speak, Geek,” and when I asked her to sign it for me at the launch party she just smiled and swapped me books so I could sign my story in her copy. That's Two Hour Transport for you.
Two Hour Transport's open mic/invited reader series happens the fourth Wednesday of every month, at Café Racer on Roosevelt in Seattle. Sign up for the open mic starting at 6:30 PM, hear readings at 7 PM, stay after and meet the most wonderful people in this city.
n.b. I'm really not trying to sell this book, I swear to God, but if you want to get it, it's on Amazon.