Short Story Collections

Legends

LegendsLegends edited by Robert Silverberg

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I love anthologies, and this is one of the defining reasons why. This is a great book, with a series of well-developed novellas by well-known authors in the fantasy and science fiction genres. The contributors include such respected writers asStephen King, Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind, Anne McCaffrey, Tad Williams, George R.R. Martin, Raymond E. Feist, Terry Pratchett, and Ursula K. Le Guin, as well as the inclusion of Orson Scott Card (this was before my awareness of his extremely vocal and frequently-blogged politics overwhelmed my enjoyment of his writing).

The best thing about Legends, to my mind, was that each of the authors chosen has a successful book or series out already, and the novella for this book was based in whatever world that author had already conceived. It was a great way of introducing me not only to previously un-read authors, but also introducing me to intriguing characters and storylines that I can now explore in more depth.

I fully recommend this book to any fan of fantasy or sci-fiction. It is also available in e-book, and there’s a Legends II. I really hope they come out with another volume, featuring authors like Patrick Rothfuss and Brandon Sanderson.

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Orbital Hearts

Orbital HeartsOrbital Hearts edited by Thaddeus Rice

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I didn’t know quite what to expect when I opened this. A friend sent me the ARC and asked that I read it, review it, and let him know my thoughts. I was mostly excited because it’s the first ARC I’ve ever gotten. It was described to me as an “anti-Valentines day anthology,” but that didn’t tell me much. I wasn’t sure whether I was about to read a series of stories about how much Valentines Day sucks or what.

Anyway, it has nothing to do with Valentines Day, other than apparently being released in February and being about love. Of course, it’s about love in the same vein that Bangs and Whimpers: Stories About the End of the World is about the apocalyptic scenarios. In other words, it’s unexpected, marvelous, and brilliant.

The stories all feature a love that cannot, for whatever reason, be. Some of them feature characters or couples from classic mythology, some of them look to parallel universes, magic, or sci-fi futuristic differences to explain the divide between the doomed lovers. But every story is thought-provoking, beautiful, and realistic in a larger-truth sort of way.

The writing style varied from author to author. All of the authors were extremely talented, able to highlight the unique settings and characters in the brief word counts allotted to anthologies. There were definitely some authors I enjoyed more than others, and I will say that I was somewhat disappointed in the style of the short featuring the Norns/ Fates — it was such a great concept, but the writing style itself was somewhat off-putting.

That’s the only complaint I have, though — out of 10 stories, I disliked only the writing style of 1, although I thought the concept and characterization was brilliant. Overall, this is a treasure of an anthology, featuring extremely talented authors who portray love and relationships with a sort of graceful dark humor and a subversively melancholic beauty. I found the collection disturbing, entertaining, impressive, and ultimately thought-provoking, and I highly recommend it.

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The Eternal Kiss: 13 Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire

The Eternal Kiss: 13 Vampire Tales of Blood and DesireThe Eternal Kiss: 13 Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire by Trisha Telep

♥ ♥ ♥ – –

It had some neat little stories and some that were just irritating. I like anthologies for two main reasons: One, they’re short stories. I prefer my short stories not to have dangling, empty endings, and far too many of these felt like a chapter pulled from a book. No real context or story arc to them.

The other reason I like anthologies is because I find new and awesome writers that way. Unfortunately, none of the authors whose work I wasn’t previously acquainted with caught my eye.

Still, for being a book of vampire short stories (which I already have an innate bias against), it wasn’t bad. I just don’t think vampires are particularly suited to short stories — these all hinted at some larger, more important backstory. Some forward-shooting story arc. They were unsatisfying because they felt unfinished.

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Lips Touch: Three Times

Lips Touch: Three TimesLips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

First off: Illustrations. Beautiful. Marvelous. Incredible. They’re two-tone, and they are just lovely. There’s about 5 or 6 pages of illustrations prefacing each of the three short stories, and the illustrations all tell a sort of short story in themselves.

For instance, the first short story is based on the poem “The Goblin Market,” by Christina Rossetti. While Taylor references this background in the story proper and even outlines it a little, she just outlines it as needed for the backstory. What’s beautiful is that the prefacing illustrations tell the story of the poem in and of themselves, without words but with all the emotion. It’s beautiful.

Each story is similarly two-layered, a feast both visually and literally. It’s a great book and I fully recommend it to anyone.

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Single White Vampire Seeks Same

Single White Vampire Seeks SameSingle White Vampire Seeks Same by Martin H. Greenberg

♥ ♥ ♥ – –

It’s cute. It’s a series of short stories by various authors, each story built on the premise of a personal ad placed (or answered) by a supernatural being. There were only a few stories I didn’t like, with “Someone to Share the Night,” and “Deja Vu,” being the two that left me with the most negative impression.


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Bangs & Whimpers: Stories about the End of the World

Bangs & Whimpers: Stories about the End of the WorldBangs & Whimpers: Stories about the End of the World by James Frenkel

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I think I’ve mentioned before that I love short story anthologies, especially by well-established authors in the field. They’re great because I don’t end up spending an entire day reading instead of doing chores and homework and other necessary stuff. Short stories = quickly wrapped up slices of interest that send me back on my way.

Of course, I still love long books, I just often don’t have the time. The difficulty with short story anthologies is finding absolutely brilliant, thought-provoking ones that showcase both up-and-coming and established authors. It can be a bit of a gamble.

Bangs and Whimpers delivers on all fronts. Every time I’ve started to tell someone about this book, intending to tell them about just one short story in particular I think they would find of interest, I find myself saying something like, “Oh, yeah, and there was this other one that explored an end-of-the-world scenario where we planted the seeds to a new creation by . . . “

This book is amazing. Each short story approached the Ending of All Things from a different vantage point and perception. Where one author chose to think that the annihilation of life on earth meant the end of life forever, another author saw a thin thread of hope in the distant future. Where one author wrote with detached omniscience, another wrote in intimate first-person. Each story has a unique style and vision, but they all have one thing in common — they are brilliantly, captivatingly written. This book should not be missed.

A word of warning, though — this book is out of print, not available in e-book, and is extremely hard to find at an affordable price. I happened to stumble across it in my local library, and I’ve been looking for a copy to purchase since. No luck. 😦

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Fantasy Gone Wrong

Fantasy Gone WrongFantasy Gone Wrong edited by Martin H. Greenberg

♥ – – – –

I like to get short story anthologies, because they’re interruptable (I have issues with putting a book down mid-plot to go do something else; I’m not good at it), they often introduce new writers or allow a favorite and much-read author to explore genres other than what I normally see them in, and they’re just all around cool.

This one was something of a disappointment. The stories weren’t all that interesting, and I often found myself bored or irritated only a few paragraphs in. It wasn’t captivating, descriptive writing. It just didn’t deliver — fantasy gone horribly wrong, in a nutshell.

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Smoke and Mirrors

Smoke and MirrorsSmoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Want to know how good this book is? Well, I bought it because it’s a book of short stories. My husband and I were going on a trip to Hawaii, and I figured I’d read it on the plane.

Which I did. I then kept reading it — in our hotel, in the car, on the way to the beach, at the beach. My husband was getting so irritated at me because I was spending our vacation on the island of Oahu reading a book.

That is how great this book is. I picked it over snorkeling.

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