benpayne (ex_benpayne119) wrote in lastshortstory,

  • Music:

You're just a number it's all the same you just gotta love to play the game

So my favourite anthology of the year so far is the Paper Cities anthology, from Senses Five Press. Edited by Ekaterina Sedia, it's firmly in the genre of the new fantasy trends toward "New Weird" for want of a better descriptor; fantasy that at least toys with, sometimes utterly undoes traditional fantaasy tropes. Paper Cities is without doubt one of the most consistently good collections I've read in the genre thus far, and I hope that it is the beginning of more collections from Senses Five.

Cat Rambo has started the year strongly, for my money, and I really enjoyed her story here; The Bumblety's Marble. It's very much a simple YA story. A young girl finds a strange marble which leads to her engagement with a strange new world. The characters are likeable and the writing is nice.

Courting the Lady Scythe by Richard Parks is another of the book's standouts. It tells of a young man and his desire for the mysterious Lady Scythe, and what happens when he gets his wish. The story works on both literal and metaphorical levels. I found it an imaginative and intriguing story.

Ben Peek's The Funeral, Ruined is another entry into his red sun world series, and is perhaps my favourite of those stories so far. In this story a young woman must deal with the death of a young man she cares for, and what comes after that. This story stands out because it creates an engaging central conflict, with both sides interesting and believable. The world-building is also fascinating. Probably the strongest story in the anthology. Well-crafted and moving.

Kaaron Warren's Down to the Silver Spirits is an excellent horror tale. A couple who have failed to have the child they so desire go along to a group of similar couples. There they are confronted by a young man who offers them a tempting possibility, a mysterious method which may help. The only question is what the consequences of their decision will be. The characterisation of the central couple is very believable, and the central mystery is captivating and chilling.

These four were the standouts for me. But there wasn't a bad story in the anthology and other readers will find other favourites. Definitely one of the must-haves of the anthology scene thus far in 2008. An imaginative and engaging collection.
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