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The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves The World Again Paperback – October 20, 2015
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''I didn't realize how much I needed these women and their stories in my life until I started reading, at which point I found it very difficult to stop. Thank you, A. C. Wise!'' - --Jim Hines, Hugo Award winner and author of the Magic ex Libris books
''What Wise does in this book is build a deeply unconventional though not unfamiliar, at least to those of us who are queer--chosen family. She pits them against a range of monsters disguised as comic and film tropes...or perhaps they're tropes disguised as monsters. There are times when the storytelling veers ever so slightly into metafiction. Like its unabashedly long title, The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again gives the reader so many things. It's your basic superhero-drag show-family drama-Fifties monster movie-bittersweet coming out story-archaeology adventure-political thriller-alien invasion-mash-up.'' --Alyx Dellamonica for Tor.com
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The camp trappings of rubber-monster-heroine-in-heels B-movies meets the optimism and glamour of late-nineties-early-oughts queer lit (thinking I Married an Earthling and Femme's Guide to the Universe) in The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again. A rotating cast of roller disco queens, strongwomen cat burglers, secret agents and drag kings team up to save the world from horrors with tentacles, alien technology, ancient Egyptian curses, and plain old 'isms and 'ists of the modern world. The love, they battle, they even redeem their villains. It's a fast, funny romp with great costuming and even cocktail recipes from Glitter Squadron member Sapphire, who gossips about her team members between stories.
With the joy and fun that comes along with nineties/oughts queer aesthetics comes a lector emptor: some of the writing around identity feels more of that time period than what a modern reader would expect. The cast is diverse, loving, and quick to rescue those who need it--they're an endearing bunch, and I loved reading their adventures (and would really love to see them as a graphic novel!) I loved it, and can't wait to read The Kissing Booth Girl and Other Stories, A.C. Wise's newest collection.
The author populates the world with outcast near-super-powered characters that can be familiar when reading genre fiction... but this author's outcast characters are not the geek and nerd outcasts of prior simpler days, but various members of the LGBT community. However, the overarching community that the characters may belong in does not matter one whit to the stories that are being told. And the characters themselves will transcend any label or boundary that one may wish to apply to them, quite happily.
Lastly, and unusually for most genre fiction, the author is working on a deeper level, examining definitions and names and categories and how her characters fit into, outside of, or shatter those same definitions/names/categories. The author is speaking here about diversity, inclusion, self-definition, self-awareness, and confidence, and the inversions thereof. But the deeper ideas will slip up on you, and you'll find yourself pondering deeper thoughts than the harpies attacking the president.
I know the author professionally (I run a small press that has published her work) but have nothing to do with this book.