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24 April 2012

softcover, published by Science Fiction Trails, April 2012.

Reviewed by Steve Johnson.

This was an excellent compilation, there was only one story that I thought wasn’t  a reasonable  read, and all were definitely weird. Don D’Ammassa’s Drawn Out was, I thought, the best in the anthology. It produced an aspect of ‘weirdness’ that I haven’t seen before. (Yes, there may be other writers doing the ‘drawing shows the inner person’ aspect, but I haven’t read them and I liked (a lot) what he did with the story and characters.) With Lyn’s story I’d have preferred the torture to be a bit less graphic but it was a good tale and covered possible aspects of time travel outcomes very neatly. Feeding Pluto was a fine example of the ‘killer cannibals run residential accommodation’ sub-genre, as was Hell Home on the Range. Each came at their story from a different angle, and both stories were fun to read. And finally I enjoyed Art Lessons; short, clever, and interesting, and A Walk in the Woods: dog saves the day.

On the other stories I would note that I found A Quarter Past Death and Trail of the Brujo both well-written but just a little generic. The Judiciales was a good story and I was enjoying it right up to the final words, which left me sitting there saying “What?” I may have missed something, but they explained nothing to me, left me hanging, and that isn’t a good ending. I mentioned this to Lyn and she said that she’d had that complaint a few times with her submissions, thatwhen that happened it usually came from the writer knowing what was going on, and now and again forgetting to make it plain for the reader. Her take on the story was that the main character was being tried in limbo on his way to Hell. I thought that was possible although not certain, but I still didn’t like the vague ending. Considering the anthology itself, this had an excellent cover with good suitable artwork and graphics. It was a nicely presented book and well put-together. A handful of typos/errors, bought instead of ‘bout for example, but even the big publishers don’t entirely eliminate those. And as always I liked seeing short bios for those involved. A good anthology.

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