The debut fiction collection from an inimitable critic, Truth & Dare is a deeply personal and fantastical ride through gender, trauma, queerness, science, history, and religion.
Cornish mermaids take to the football pitch to protest warming seas. Trans students in Manchester searching for the perfect dick accidentally warp the fabric of spacetime. England's worst pogrom comes for York's particle collider, powered by bread and gender energy. On Bournemouth beach, a storm delivers an ancestor across oceans of time to sire a drowning descendant. The devil stands a drink at London's famous gay pub, The Black Cap, while Artemis, in the guise of Joan of Arc, roams a life-or-death night in East Sussex.
Remember the Witchcraft Act of 1927, and the refugees that fled via cinema to defend the Republic of Catalunya? Of course not, it's been written out of history. This is England, (but not?) as we know it.
A queer quantum tour through what was, what is, what could have been and may yet still come to pass, in a collection that braids high-wire believe-it-or-not memoir with cutting-edge science fiction (or is it?) from alternate timelines that vibrate very close to ours. Truth or dare? Both, always.
So Mayer is a writer, indie bookseller, film curator, and pencil stan. Their most recent books are A Nazi Word for a Nazi Thing (Peninsula, 2020), a short essay on queer art, censorship and resistance, and <jacked a kaddish> (Litmus, 2018), a poetry sequence about interwar masculinity, technology and hats, and their BFI Film Classics on Orlando is forthcoming. Their work across genres and forms has been published internationally, including in Roxane Gay's anthology Not that Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, in several Criterion DVDs, and in Ignota Press's Spells: 21st Century Occult Poetry. Plus their poetry once appeared on hoardings in Dublin. With Adam Zmith, they collaborated on Unreal Sex for Cipher, an anthology of queer SFFH, and on the BBC Sounds podcast The Film We Can't See, a tour through queer film history.