Saturday, October 7, 2017

The New Voices of Fantasy

I love anthologies for a lot of reasons.  It's always nice to find new authors to follow.  I enjoy short fiction as a break after having so many back to back longer pieces (or trilogies + series); especially in the speculative fiction genre, I can't remember the last time I picked up a new truly one-off standalone novel. It's always exciting even with known authors to see how they react to and solve the different problems inherent in short fiction. I also use anthologies as 'crib notes' to cheat a bit and find out what and where my favorites have published before, for further reading.  In short, it's -exactly- the same reasons supermarkets give out taste samples.  They know you're hungry, you taste one chili-cheese-nugget and go buy a 5 pound bag. *cha-ching!* Everyone goes home happy.

I love Peter S. Beagle.  I've loved (and read, and owned) pretty much everything he's ever published.  He's permanently on my shortlist to automatically buy whatever he puts his name on.

I have loved so many Tachyon press books that again, basically anything they stick their imprint on, I'll line up at the bookstore, wave my filthy lucre and hop up and down impatiently. Tachyon's catalog is impressive and a no-fail reading list for speculative fiction fans. It would be fun to just start at one end of the list and read to the other end.  

So getting this book was an automatic "Yes, please, with sugar on top"! 

There's something for everyone in this anthology.  I found myself checking my reading notes and except for two entries which were  '2/5' for me personally, they were all easily in the 4-5 range.

There are 19 stories in the collection, with background info and a short bio included in the intro for each one. 
Table of Contents:
“Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” by Alyssa Wong
“Selkie Stories are for Losers” by Sofia Samatar
“Tornado’s Siren” by Brooke Bolander
“Left the Century to Sit Unmoved” by Sarah Pinsker
“A Kiss with Teeth” by Max Gladstone
“Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon
“The Cartographer Wasps and Anarchist Bees” by E. Lily Yu
“The Practical Witch’s Guide to Acquiring Real Estate” by A. C. Wise
“The Tallest Doll in New York City” by Maria Dahvana Headley
“The Haunting of Apollo A7LB” by Hannu Rajaniemi
“Here Be Dragons” by Chris Tarry
“The One They Took Before” by Kelly Sandoval
“Tiger Baby” by JY Yang
“The Duck” by Ben Loory
“Wing” by Amal El-Mohtar
“The Philosophers” by Adam Ehrlich Sachs
“My Time Among the Bridge Blowers” by Eugene Fischer
“The Husband Stitch” by Carmen Maria Machado
“The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn” by Usman T. Malik

Most anthologies have a thematic cohesiveness.  This one's stated purpose was to pass the baton to the next generation of authors and though many of the authors included are well known, they are the 'up and coming' or relatively newly arrived standard bearers.   

There are some exquisitely written pieces in this anthology.  All of them are worthy.  

Four stars!

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.

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