TITLE: Diet Riot: A Fatterpunk Anthology
EDITORS: Nico Bell & Sonora Taylor
AGE RANGE: Adult
“Diet Riot: A Fatterpunk Anthology” features twelve fat-positive horror tales of people who come into their own, celebrate their curves, and save the day. There are babysitters and bakers, thieves and roller derby stars. Young women unsure about their bodies meet demons and water spirits who offer assistance–in their own way, of course. Danger lurks in hospitals, in the mysterious occult shop in the local mall, and in a house filled with cats. Campers, trash collectors, and house flippers alike uncover nasty secrets underground. A myriad of horrors await you–none of which comes at the expense of fat bodies.
It’s time to reclaim the “f” word.
I feel like I should preface this review by saying that Diet Riot was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, not only because I love the editors who compiled this anthology, but also because positive fat rep in horror is so rare! I adore the horror genre, always have and always will, but it’d be lying if I said that it isn’t historically unkind to anyone who isn’t thin and able-bodied. An entire anthology subverting that by giving us fat protagonists, some of whose stories are directly impacted by their sizes while others are simply mentioned in passing, just to remind us that these people exist and deserve stories, too — I loved everything about this idea.
Unfortunately, though… Diet Riot didn’t always deliver what I hoped it would. While a few stories in the collection stood out as absolute delights, I was dismayed by how many of the stories I didn’t enjoy much, for one reason or another (anticlimactic endings, mediocre writing, etc.) — perhaps the most common reason being that I wanted so much more horror from these stories, but several of them felt more like fantasy or “horror lite”. I’m not a fan of the gatekeeping “it didn’t scare me, so it isn’t horror” rhetoric we see in the community so often, but this isn’t about that. A few of these stories simply just didn’t feel like they fit in a horror anthology to me, and I was let down by that.
Negatives aside, there were a few stories I absolutely adored in this collection (and I promise it wasn’t intentional that 2 of the 3 favorites I’m going to list were the editors’ own contributions, but they really were that good!):
• ‘The Lake House’ by Nico Bell: Gorgeous, sad, and downright terrifying. We do love a good revenge story.
• ‘The Floor is Lava’ by Nikki R. Leigh: A group of roller derby girls getting trapped in a cemetery as a meteor shower turns deadly — this was somehow equal parts endearing and disgusting, and I loved the characters.
• ‘Easy Bake’ by Sonora Taylor: I’m a sucker for fucked up contest/game plots, and I love a good baking competition, so it’s no surprise that the final story in this collection was my favorite of them all.
While Diet Riot wasn’t a total win for me, I’m happy to have discovered some new authors I want to read more work from, and most of all, I’m elated to have seen so much diverse body representation within these pages. I still highly recommend grabbing a copy of this anthology, and I hope Nico and Sonora will co-edit more collections together in the future, because I’ll be happily there to read those, too!
Thank you to the editors for the review copy! All thoughts are honest and my own.
fatphobia (internal and external), descriptions of food and calorie contents, homophobia, transphobia, violence, murder, cannibalism, brief mentions of child death, descriptions of HIV/AIDS infections and related deaths, medical trauma, kidnapping
all protagonists are fat; multiple queer protagonists and side characters; multiple BIPOC protagonists and side characters
— destiny ♥