Next SFF Author: Gena Showalter
Previous SFF Author: Martin L. Shoemaker

Series: Short Fiction


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Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse

Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse edited by John Joseph Adams

John Joseph Adams assembles a wide variety of apocalypse-related fiction in Wastelands. some of which are older than I am, while others are more recent. What you end up with is a diverse anthology covering topics such as religion, war, and exploration while containing horror, comedy, and a sense of wonder.

The majority of the stories are easy to get into. Some stories are more subtle than others. Overall, Wastelands is an enjoyable read and the selection seems balanced.


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The Drowned Life: Each and every story is rich

The Drowned Life by Jeffrey Ford

Jeffrey Ford‘s The Drowned Life is as engrossing as his previous short story collections, immediately ensnaring the reader with his detailed prose and characterization. One noticeable trend is that while Ford dabbles in clear-cut fantasy with stories such as “The Manticore Spell” or “The Dismantled Invention of Fate,” much of his work deals more with the mundane sprinkled with just the right amounts of magic and the surreal. The titular piece for example, “The Drowned Life,” seems like the narrative of the common Joe,


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Harrowing the Dragon: A story collection by Patricia McKillip

Harrowing the Dragon by Patricia A. McKillip

Patricia A. McKillip is the author of several wonderful books (my favourites being Alphabet of Thorn and Winter Rose) and is one of the few fantasists in the publishing world that is original. Although her stories may contain typical fantasy elements (dragons, heroes, kingdoms, quests, good versus evil, etc) they are written in such beautiful poetic-prose that the stories transcend the clichés they stem from; reading more as luminous fairytales than hum-drum fantasy. Although the prose is beautiful,


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The Return of the Sword: An Anthology of Heroic Adventure

The Return of the Sword: An Anthology of Heroic Adventure

I read and have read a lot of anthologies. They’re great for “in-between-books-reading” and are perfect when you just want a story that you can start and finish in one sitting. Anthologies are also a great source for sampling different writers.

Jason M Waltz did a great job of picking out the stories to use for The Return of the Sword. Except for only one or two stories (even the ones that weren’t particularly something to my personal taste) I found these to be very well and interestingly written.


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Mythic: Quality makes up for quantity in this anthology

Mythic edited by Mike Allen

While a relatively short anthology, what Mythic lacks in quantity is more than made up for with the quality of its selections. Each poem and story stands out as well as fitting the “mythic” tone the book is attempting to capture. Right from the very start, I was already enamored by the opening poem, “Syllables of Old Lore” by Vandana Singh and Mike Allen keeps the interest, flow, and beat consistent throughout the volume.

There are some editorial choices I’d like to highlight.


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Across the Wall: A Tale of the Abhorsen and Other Stories

Across the Wall: A Tale of the Abhorsen and Other Stories by Garth Nix

Most fans will find that the most exciting feature of this Garth Nix collection is undoubtedly the short story “Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case,” set in the world of the Old Kingdom (the setting of the Old Kingdom trilogy; Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen) and acting as a type of coda for the character of Nicolas Sayre, left damaged and traumatized in the last book.


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The Bone Key: Tales of weirdness and horror

The Bone Key by Sarah Monette

I’ve been seeing Sarah Monette’s name for a while but, for the most part, this collection of short stories was a blind purchase. The Bone Key deals with the exploits of Kyle Murchison Booth which are homages to M.R. James and H.P. Lovecraft. Now I’m not familiar with the former but I can attest that Monette captures the mood of the latter with this book. Even the protagonist himself is similar to Lovecraft’s “heroes” although Monette improves upon the concept and provides us at the very least with an interesting character instead of simply delivering a verbose narrator who can’t hold a decent conversation.


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The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories: A wonderful companion to Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories by Susanna Clarke

The moment I finished Susanna Clarke’s wonderful first novel Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, I wished that there was more of it. It was a long wait, but finally the fans of Clarke’s magically-soaked nineteenth-century Britain have a sequel — of sorts. Clarke presents eight short stories concerned with the presence of Faerie in England, and its influence on human inhabitants, all set in the same universe (with the same magical structure) as her previous work.


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The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Two

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Two edited by Jonathan Strahan

The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Two is one of several anthologies that collects the best science fiction and fantasy of 2007. I’ve read many of the stories included, yet revisiting them actually made me appreciate them more rather than feel exhausted. One thing I noticed is that there’s a stronger science fiction balance in this anthology compared to the previous volume, although that might also be because the lines between science fiction and fantasy easily get blurry.


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Bad-Ass Faeries: Pretty good collection, despite the title

Bad-Ass Faeries by Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Although I disapprove of the title, I still found Bad-Ass Faeries edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail, to be a pretty good collection of stories. At least, that’s true if you discount the one or two stories that really boiled down to faerie porn. Which, ironically, is part of the humor in the story by Den C. Wilson, “Heart of Vengeance” (Well, elf porn, anyway). All, in all though, the collection is pretty good. It is targeted in its concept, but broad in its application.


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Next SFF Author: Gena Showalter
Previous SFF Author: Martin L. Shoemaker

We have reviewed 8299 fantasy, science fiction, and horror books, audiobooks, magazines, comics, and films.

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