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Unspeakable: A Queer Gothic Anthology

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  93 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Unspeakable contains eighteen Gothic tales with uncanny twists and characters that creep under your skin. Its stories feature sapphic ghosts, terrifying creatures of the sea, and haunted houses concealing their own secrets. Whether you're looking for your non-binary knight in shining armour or a poly family to murder with, Unspeakable showcases the best contemporary Gothic ...more
Published February 28th 2020 by Nyx Publishing
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Average rating 4.22  · 
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 ·  93 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
a collection of queer gothic short stories from an British indie publisher, with some really talented authors who I'd love to see more work from! ...more
I was sent an eARC of this anthology by the editor, in exchange for my honest review.

Rating anthologies is always sort of impossible, because you'll adore some stories and won't really mesh with others. I'm giving this 4 stars though, because overall, this was a really great read. I loved the gothic vibe, which came through in many different ways. And I loved how queer it was, and diversely so. A lot of queer anthologies generally feature a select few identities, but this didn't just have gay, l
El Hyrst
Full review:

I'm only going to cover a handful of the short stories in this actual review because otherwise it's going to be a novella in itself, but you can click through on this tweet ( ) to see my as-it-happens reactions to reading each short story. There's not a single one that I didn't love, and it was so hard to pick a few to review. I limited myself to six of the total eighteen, but all eighteen are worth rea
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: it-s-a-queer-thing, a
I was extremely excited to read this, because the combination of Queer and Gothic sounds exactly like my jam. The first story I didn't like as much, and that made me worried, but then it took off and this whole thing is some high quality shit. My expectations were met, and I'm in awe of how well some of these stories managed to queer gothic tropes. It's The SHIT.  ...more
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Unspeakable contains eighteen Gothic tales with uncanny twists and characters that creep under your skin. Its stories feature sapphic ghosts, terrifying creatures of the sea, and haunted houses concealing their own secrets. Whether you're looking for your non-binary knight in shining armour or a poly family to murder with, Unspeakable showcases the best contemporary Gothic queer short fiction. Even dark tales deserve their time in the sun.

For more information about this anthology, check out the
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
As someone currently studying the Gothic genre, but being very fed up of the heteronormative narratives, this anthology arrived at the perfect time for me!

This was such a vibrant collection of brilliant voices that I’m struggling to summarise into just one review. Overall, this collection was so inexplicably unnerving, as great Gothic stories are and cast an eerie atmosphere for the next few days after finishing it. I especially loved how the writers took classic Gothic tropes and subverted them
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

When I heard about Unspeakable I was immediately excited. There's such a lack of queer representation in what we might consider the 'traditional cannon' that this feels like a huge leap to address this. Unspeakable is such a fabulous anthology. It features stories about queer love, and characters existing in these spaces. Their ability to be heroes. To walk into dark basements at
I received this book from Caffeine Tours in exchange of an honest review.

I am so so so so hyped for this book. I may have read it before, or at least parts of it as a couple of stories were recognisable to me. But I still had tons of fun and found many new stories to enjoy. I like the diversity in the stories. And how creepy some of them were.

For each story I have written a small review to tell what I thought about the story. Did I like it? What wasn’t too my taste. That kind of stuff. Since thi
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Every short story in this anthology was brilliant. Every Single One. Normally an anthology will contain a few stories that just aren't quite as enjoyable, but I loved every story here.

Having a series of stories where I could see my queer, trans self represented was amazing. Some of the stories made me cry with a feeling of bittersweet recognition- that momentary stab in the heart of "it's not just me".

I reccomend this book most highly, unless you're a bigot. I hope it brings you a sense of whole
KL Baudelaire
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, and feel loath to spoiler any of the stories! The different tales represent such variety of style, tone and content, and even those which I didn't take to are likely to be someone else's favourites. It felt refreshing to read a book full of LGBTQIA+ representation from a variety of different backgrounds, and particularly in a genre that has historically centred straight, white, upper-middle-class characters.

My only complaint would be that there are no bios/details given for t
Julia O'Connell
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Unspeakable collects eighteen stories from contemporary queer writers that draw on the traditional trappings of the Gothic but with a new twist. You’ll see quite a few classic tropes in these stories, particularly haunted houses, deadly monsters, and murders most foul. But many of these tropes are played with and turned on their heads—especially the idea of what it means to be monstrous. And in contrast to the tragic endings you tend to see in early queer Gothic, most of the stories in this coll ...more
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyable anthology!! My favourite stories include Brideprice, Hearteater, and Quicksilver Prometheus!
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Unspeakable is an anthology of short, queer stories with a Gothic slant, so I knew this one would be right up my alley. The stories are pretty broad: from dark fairy tale retellings, to haunted houses, to melancholy reflections. The tone ranges from Jane Eyre through darker fantasy and mild horror, so there’s pretty much something here for everyone.

As with all anthologies, I found that I enjoyed some more or less than others, but overall I thought that the stories in Unspeakable were very strong
Charlie Bramald
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This collection of stories is one of the best examples that I can think of of wide-ranging LGBT+ representation in any literature. Gay, non-binary and trans characters feature and I was even pleasantly surprised to find ace representation in the lovely The Dream Eater by Anna Moon. As an anthology, it lives up to its promise by offering such a rich variety of stories and characters for the reader to enjoy.

And that's before you get to the gothic themes, which are married up with the freshness of
Dec 11, 2020 rated it really liked it

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representation in fiction has always been a most-talked about topic. for years, people from marginalized backgrounds ask for reps, which boost empowerment and recognition. this anthology is doing it! venturing into each title, you will find different characters, who represent unique individuals. aside from their identities, their situations can also
Briar Page
Dec 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
A solid anthology of new and emerging writers, with a wide variety of styles and interpretations of the "gothic" theme on display. Stories range from light, fluffy romance (albeit with spooky monsters/creatures) to traditional ghost and vampire tales with crumbling castles etc., to melancholic horror. Settings and types of queerness are nicely diverse here, too. I doubt anyone will enjoy every story in the anthology, but if "queer gothic" sounds at all like Your Kind of Thing, there's probably a ...more
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt, horror
I was just going to give this five stars and done but actually I HAVE to talk about The Ruin because I'm completely obsessed with it. All that end of the world imagery? The lingering sense of foreboding and something about to go disastrously wrong? Engaging characters with an engaging relationship between them? Old English poetry? Completely skewed moral compasses? The utter skill with which it was written? I'm living for it. It's not just one of my favourites of this anthology, it's now one of ...more
Feb 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book for those seeking to be seen

Every single story in this anthology is absolutely incredible and bursting with energy and emotion, demanding to be felt. Each one is unique and so well told that you will not want it to end. Everyone did such an amazing job, and I loved every moment!

I'm not an anthology kind of person; I like long winding tales oversaturated with descriptions and adventure — but this...I needed to read this. 💖
Lauren (Northern Plunder)
My review was first posted on Northern Plunder, you can read more of my reviews there too.

You never truly know what you’re going to get when picking up an anthology, only a glimmer of knowledge of what could be inside.

To open with Let Down by Claire Hamilton Russell was, in fact, a brilliant decision.

As a result we are greeted with familiarity, with a reimagining. Yet one with an even more horrifying underlying truth. A person can not be held in a tower and remain the beauty they once were. Not
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Once again I let my finger blindly dictate where I would begin this anthology and Laguna and the Engkanto written by Katalina Watt is my first stop. Watt writes a descriptive story about a girl not only exploring her body, but who she might be. While embracing each new discovery, she unwittingly welcomes an unknown into her mist. Then ends up facing a very unexpected discovery. Yeah, let’s just say I was ready to scream with her (laugh).

Still stunned by Watt, I rolled right into death and marri
Dec 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: queer-books
This anthology was such an excellent read! It's rare that I enjoy an anthology as a whole because there's inevitably one or two of the stories that I don't enjoy. But this one was absolutely fantastic. There is such a wide range of identities from story to story, plus a lot of sapphic stories which I feel we always need more of! Since this book declares itself a gothic anthology, I was sure that I was mostly in for creepy and dark stories with a less than happy ending. And while there were those ...more
Dec 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There is a long history of LGBTQ horror and fantasy creaters and dramatisers within the field, so the idea of an anthology centred around queer characters and themes is not so surprising as it might first appear. It still means that we dive into the familiar territory of old houses, murder and dark secrets. Some familiar monsters turn up as well, but the different authors are able to find new approaches to these and their associated tropes. Among the highlights of the stories are ‘Quicksilver Pr ...more
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Queers and goths make natural friends, and many are both. The extraness, the melancholy, the outsider status, "accept me as I am and then let me be."
This delightful anthology out of the UK skews more comfy-camp or heart-wrenching than earnestly horrifying, and dark lord knows we could use that these days. As with all anthologies, some pieces will be more for any reader than others, but this was overall very consistently high quality, well-edited, and a real bummer to be finished with.

More an ob
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
A great variety of different stories, some hopeful and some filled with despair, but all delightfully queer
Lauren Leshley
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
This anthology was creepy, queer, and unspeakable, as promised. There are some delightfully horrifying tales toward the end of the book and a few touching romances that had me in tears. Highly recommend for the aesthetic alone.
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great varied collection of ghostly tales and while may not be full on gothic in each of them - some brilliant tales
Of the supernatural

Full review -
Sam Hirst
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
As with every anthology, not every tale is going to be to your personal taste but this is a well-curated collection which covers a range of manifestations of the genre and represents a diverse range of sexualities and gender identities. It was particularly nice to see some asexual representation although my heart belongs to all the murder ladies to be found in this volume!
C.M. Rosens
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved every story in this anthology and that's INCREDIBLY rare for me to say. I love the concept, the queering and subverting of Gothic tropes and settings, the mix of haunting atmospheres, modern-day tales, period pieces, mysteries and secrets, unreliable narrators, romance and dark romance, and a hundred other things that I find hard to talk about without major spoilers for each story.

I am in a position where I can't choose a stand-out favourite. They all had something about them that I lov
Megan Hex
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Obviously this was written just for me! ;) I love it. Good mix of creeping horror and a few dark but happy endings. More contemporary-setting stories than I’d have expected. The breadth of queer identities represented here is also very good.
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