3 out of 4 stars
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NovoPulp 2013/14 Anthology by Various, an eclectic collection of Speculative Fiction short stories.
From reading the bio’s of the author’s involved, there’s a diversity of writer experience involved in the anthology, although it is highly evident that all are heavily into their speculative fiction/science fiction.
There isn’t a bad story on show, although not all are to my taste. To get this one out of the way, it was Journey by Micha Fire. It’s very well written, but it’s far too frantic for my tastes, and, for a short story, I also think that it’s too long.
As mentioned earlier, it’s a thoroughly eclectic mix of stories, from the straight Science Fiction-type expectation – for example, Another Exile by Michael David Matula, an excellent short story, with a good twist at the end – to some unexpected offerings. The Cancer by Niamh Brown is a thoroughly depressing offering with Queen Elisabeth III as a major protagonist – it’s depressing, but very readable.
No Speculative Fiction or Science Fiction offering such as this would be complete without something that makes you go “What the hell?!” The Legacy of New Star by Lacerant Plainer is that offering, and I had to read it twice, still not really getting it, whilst still enjoying it thoroughly.
My personal favourite was Every So Often by Rich Larson, an intriguing tale revolving around the maintenance of the time line, and I also enjoyed The Twitching by James Gilbraith, an alternative story about twitching (bird watching!), which is a naughty secret of my own.
Human by Laston Kirkland was an odd affair, with an excellent twist at the end, and I would love to know who 'they' are in Patriot by M Stange. On The Hill by David R Grigg is a macabre, excellent little story centred around global warming.
I only have one small gripe: the anthology is too short, and one story (On the Edge by H David Blalock) didn’t feel like the syntax was great, nor, for that matter, perfect punctuation. It’s only a minor issue with the story, however.
One bonus throughout was the very nice artwork – all of it very much to my fantastical leanings and my love of black and white 'ink' type drawings.
If there could have been a few more stories of equal quality, I would not have hesitated in giving 4 stars, but, as it is, I can only give it 3 out of 4 stars.
(footnote: at a current price of £3.76 on Amazon UK, it would get a firm four stars!)
NovoPulp 2013-2014 Anthology
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