Two new Portland anthologies have hit my desk in the past few weeks: Portland Noir, the Portland installment of the Akashic noir series that began in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir; and Portland Queer, published by Lit Star Press and featuring a whole buncha queer authors. Between the two, just about every semi-famous-but-not-Chelsea-Cain-famous Portland author you can think of is represented: Bill Cameron, Floyd Skloot, Zoe Trope, comics due Jamie Rich & Joelle Jones, Tom Spanbauer, Marc Acito, etc.
Portland Noir is edited by occasional Mercury contributor and Future Tense publisher Kevin Sampsell (whose own memoir, A Common Pornography, is working its way through the Harper Perennial machine as we speak). Each story in the anthology is set in a different Portland neighborhood—I haven't read the whole thing yet, but my favorite so far is Bill Cameron's offering Coffee, Black, which follows a private detective hired to investigate the vandalism of the Seven Corners Starbucks. It's funny and knowing and goofily hard-boiled, a nice homage to the noir tradition. (My one complaint about this collection is that the term "noir" functions here as catch-all for "strange"—Floyd Skloot's lovely, dreamy contribution is more of a ghost story, while Luciana Lopez basically recast Nancy Drew as a hipster who feels guilty about gentrification.)
Portland Queer is edited by Ariel Gore—who's been busy, she's got a good story in Portland Noir as well—and I haven't started it yet. Contributors include Sarah Dougher, Dexter Flowers, sts, Tony LeTigre, and Tom Spanbauer. It's distributed by Microcosm; order it here, and keep your eyes peeled for a handful of readings in June.
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