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The New Voices of Fantasy

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What would you do if a tornado wanted you to be its Valentine? Or if a haunted spacesuit banged on your door? When is the ideal time to turn into a tiger? Would you post a supernatural portal on Craigslist? In these nineteen stories, the enfants terribles of fantasy have entered the building—a love-starved, ambulatory skyscraper. The New Voices of Fantasy tethers some of the fa What would you do if a tornado wanted you to be its Valentine? Or if a haunted spacesuit banged on your door? When is the ideal time to turn into a tiger? Would you post a supernatural portal on Craigslist? In these nineteen stories, the enfants terribles of fantasy have entered the building—a love-starved, ambulatory skyscraper. The New Voices of Fantasy tethers some of the fastest-rising talents of the last five years. Their tales were hand-picked by the legendary Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn) and genre expert Jacob Weisman (The Treasury of the Fantastic). So go ahead, join the Communist revolution of the honeybees. The new kids got your back.


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What would you do if a tornado wanted you to be its Valentine? Or if a haunted spacesuit banged on your door? When is the ideal time to turn into a tiger? Would you post a supernatural portal on Craigslist? In these nineteen stories, the enfants terribles of fantasy have entered the building—a love-starved, ambulatory skyscraper. The New Voices of Fantasy tethers some of the fa What would you do if a tornado wanted you to be its Valentine? Or if a haunted spacesuit banged on your door? When is the ideal time to turn into a tiger? Would you post a supernatural portal on Craigslist? In these nineteen stories, the enfants terribles of fantasy have entered the building—a love-starved, ambulatory skyscraper. The New Voices of Fantasy tethers some of the fastest-rising talents of the last five years. Their tales were hand-picked by the legendary Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn) and genre expert Jacob Weisman (The Treasury of the Fantastic). So go ahead, join the Communist revolution of the honeybees. The new kids got your back.

30 review for The New Voices of Fantasy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I love supporting under-hyped books and authors, and these are nineteen up and coming fantasy authors that each contributed a short story for this anthology. I mean, how could I not request an ARC of this? I absolutely love the thought that went in to this, and I'm so very thankful that Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman curated this. Yet, I do think that these curators are being very liberal with the word " ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I love supporting under-hyped books and authors, and these are nineteen up and coming fantasy authors that each contributed a short story for this anthology. I mean, how could I not request an ARC of this? I absolutely love the thought that went in to this, and I'm so very thankful that Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman curated this. Yet, I do think that these curators are being very liberal with the word "new". Some of these short stories were released in 2014 and 2015. Some of these authors are very well known and published. I didn't let this impact my rating or reading experience, but I think it's important to note it is a very loose term here. I also feel like this would be a perfect October/Fall read, because even though this is pitched as a fantasy collection, which it is, but I couldn't help but feel like it had much more of an eerie, almost horror, vibe. Most all of the stories are set in our world, in our time, so if you're looking for dragons, dwarfs, fae, and elves, you've come to the wrong anthology. Yet, a few of these short stories completely captured my heart and very quickly made me a new fan of the authors. The Tallest Doll in New York City by Maria Dahvana Headley, Jackalope Wives by Ursula Vernon, and Wing by Amal El-Mohtar were some of my favorites and I gave each story a perfect five stars. These stories just felt a tier above most and were just so impactful and beautifully written. I am a sucker for lyrical prose, and all three of these authors completely delivered. My personal favorite in the whole collection is, hands down, The Husband Stitch by Carmen Maria Machado. I am in awe of this story and its utter perfection. One of the best feminist works I've ever read in my life, and one of the most powerful pieces of art, too. If you can only read one short story of these nineteen, please pick this one. It's life changing and so very important. I'm going to break down each short story with my thoughts, opinions, and individual star rating! Also, all but three of these short stories can be found and read online for free. I will include a link in the title of the story that will direct you to a source that will allow you to read it for free if you are interested. ➽ Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers by Alyssa Wong - ★★★★ This first short story completely hooked me. A girl uses Tinder to find dates who are petty criminals and feeds off their impure thoughts. Yet, she gets more than she bargained for when she becomes addicted to feasting off an actual killer. Now her hunger knows no bounds, and to protect the girl she secretly likes she has to find another way to sate her hunger. ➽ Selkie Stories are for Losers by Sofia Samatar - ★★ This one for sure feels like it could dip into the horror category, too, but it never really got scary. It is sort of story of stories and the whole theme revolves around the mythical folklore creatures, selkies. Selkies are seals who are able to shed their skin and turn human to dwell on land among us. Sadly, this just didn't work for me, and the buildup left a lot to be desired. ➽ Tornado’s Siren by Brooke Bolander - ★★★ This is a very unique short about a girl that has caught the attention of a tornado one stormy evening. She is only nine at the time, but it follows her periodically through her growing up to become an adult. After years of attempted normalcy, our main character realizes that she doesn't want to be normal after all. I enjoyed this, and I loved the open ending, but it wasn't my favorite in the collection. ➽ Left the Century to Sit Unmoved by Sarah Pinsker - ★★★ This is a very, very short little story about a local pond where only the bravest of townsfolk jump off a waterfall into it. There are rules to jumping in this pond, and this pond is said to just take people. They can dredge it up, but no bodies are every found, only the swimsuits that float to the surface. Our main character is obsessed with jumping in it, ever since her brother went missing after his jump. This story is beautifully written, and the message very strong, especially with the length of this one. ➽ A Kiss with Teeth by Max Gladstone - ★ This story was so difficult for me to read. I didn't connect with the writing style whatsoever, and it felt ungodly longer than the rest of the stories in this collection. This story focuses on a modern day version of Vlad the Impaler, where he is trying to live a normal life, and raise a normal son, while also trying to control his urge to function as a vampire. He becomes obsessed with his son's teacher, and begins to literally stalk her. To drink from? To kill? To fuck? Who knows, but it is supposed to be a "you can work out your problems if you love each other enough, while still being able to be who you are" story, but it didn't work in the slightest for me. Also, I'm just personally so sick of Vlad the Impaler retellings. ➽ Jackalope Wives by Ursula Vernon - ★★★★★ Good Lord, this story was so close to perfect! I absolutely loved and adored it. Twist and turns throughout, with a perfect ending, all wrapped up in such a short tale. This story is about jackalope rabbits, which can turn into very beautiful women, who love to dance the night away. Many men desire to make them their wives, and by stealing the rabbit coats they shed while dancing, but by doing so you will also be trapping them into not being able to shift back into their rabbit forms. Some very cruel men burn their skins, while forcing them to be humans forever. ➽ The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees by E. Lily Yu - ★★★★ This was the first story in the collection that every aspect felt like fantasy. We are thrown into this amazingly beautiful, but ruthless, community of bees and wasps and a couple other insects. We get to see the hierarchy within the wasps, and the demands they make of the bees. We get to see, as the title suggests, their uses of maps and how they take note of the events happening in their world. I really enjoyed this, and the writing was superb. ➽ The Practical Witch’s Guide to Acquiring Real Estate by A. C. Wise - ★ This is exactly what the title implies, a section by section guide on how to buy a residence if you are a witch. Now, I'm sure this will be super cute, charming, and funny to many readers out there, but it totally fell flat for me. It just felt very forced, while trying to be funny, but it just came across as cringey. Plus, (not that I am the expert on witches buying or creating homes) it felt very basic with its "witch knowledge". I feel really bad saying this, but I didn't enjoy this at all. ➽ The Tallest Doll in New York City by Maria Dahvana Headley - ★★★★★ Be still, my heart! This was so amazingly unique! I loved it! This story is set in New York, where the tall buildings and structures move on their own. This tale is told on Valentine's Day, and the storyteller is a waiter in a club that works high up inside one of these moving buildings. I loved seeing all these iconic structures choose one another and pair up for Valentine's Day. And the story is told so beautifully, whimsically, and romantically, that you can't help but fall in love with it. ➽ The Haunting of Apollo A7LB by Hannu Rajaniemi - ★★★ A woman is dealing with the death of her lover from her past, when she gets a knock on her door from that person's moon suit, that she helped sew, which is a little scary because that person has died. At first sight, she believes it to be his ghost, but soon realizes that there is someone else inside of it. The suit is compelling him to do things that he normally would never do, and now it has showed up on her doorstep. This short story definitely talks about differences in races and classes and how far we still need to go, but also about love and how far we are willing to go for the ones we love. ➽ Here Be Dragons by Chris Tarry - ★ This is easily my least favorite in the whole collection. Trigger warnings for child abuse, even though it's written about in a disgustingly light way. This story is about two men who are pretty much medieval con-artists, who "slay dragons" for wealth and fame. Well, now they have come home to actually be fathers to their children, while their wives work, but they can't deal with that apparently, because, you know, sexism, and then they both have separate epiphanies that they aren't cut out for this father thing, when they could have fame, glory, and prostitutes. I understand not every story has to have likable main characters, but I literally hated both of these men from start to finish. ➽ The One They Took Before by Kelly Sandoval - ★★★★ This story was just the perfect about of ominous and eerie. It all starts with a rift in the universe and an ad on Craigslist in Seattle. Our main character is constantly battling her inner feelings whether or not she wants to return to her abductors that are not from our world. It was such a good balance of realistic and whimsical, and my only real complaint is that I wish there was more that I could read. ➽ Tiger Baby by JY Yang - ★★ I feel somewhat torn about rating this story. This short is about a girl who is being constantly haunted by her dreams of being a tiger, which she also believes is her "true form" and aspires to become it. She doesn't have the best life and constantly feels so much different than her peers. All of this, and the many metaphors, could have packed a big punch, but instead it fell short because our main protagonist isn't a teenager feeling like an outcast that can't connect with anyone, instead she is over thirty years old and refuses to seek out help. ➽ The Duck by Ben Loory - ★★★★ This was short and cute and extremely unexpectedly powerful. On paper, this is a story about a duck that fell in love with a rock, but it's truly a story about helping people you love and understanding and accepting them for who they are. With true friends, we can accomplish so much and we can help heal others and make so many people happy. This was really good, and I highly recommend. ➽ Wing by Amal El-Mohtar - ★★★★★ This might be the most beautiful story in the whole collection. This short story is so romantic and so expertly written. My interruption is that soul mates are rare, but always worth the wait, and sharing yourself body and soul with someone else is something indescribable. We will have many loves in our lives, but when you find that person who you can share all your secrets with you will realize why it never worked out with anyone else. I loved this so very much, and I loved the imagery in this, and I loved picturing a girl with a book of secrets around her neck. Seriously, this was perfection. ➽ The Philosophers by Adam Ehrlich Sachs - ★★ This is three mini stories; all surrounding a discussion about boys and their fathers. It's about becoming what they expect you to be, becoming what you have no powering to not become, and how one day the boy will become the father. If I'm being honest, this wasn't bad, but it just tried too damn hard to sound prolific. And it wasn't that I couldn't relate, but I just didn't care to read three stories of different father and son relationships. ➽ My Time Among the Bridge Blowers by Eugene Fischer - ★★ This was just ungodly boring. It's about a man, traveling with another man, to a village tribe that's unlike anything he's ever known, and then closes very mysteriously and very open-ended. Maybe there is some very introspective meaning here that just went over my head, but I just didn't enjoy this. ➽ The Husband Stitch by Carmen Maria Machado - ★★★★★ Oh my God. This was the best short story I have ever read in my entire life. I'm writing this review in tears, because it was so immensely powerful. My hands are shaking, because this story is so real and so relevant. My stomach is in knots, because I'm not sure any combination of words I will create will do this story justice. This story is very feminist and very sexually explicit, but so damn important. It's about the life of a woman, who gives everything to men and never is allowed to keep anything for herself. It's about life's expectations on women, and how society shapes the choices we do and do not have. It's about how, no matter what, giving everything will never be good enough as a woman. It's about enjoying and exploring your sexuality, yet trying to cope with the shame. It's about never fully being able to become the person you are, but becoming the person your husband and/or family require you to be. It's about having children, who will just repeat the same vicious and unfair cycle. I wish I could put this story in everyone's hands. ➽ The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn by Usman T. Malik - ★★★★ This story was so very long, but was rather enjoyable. It's about a boy, who has been obsessed with a story his grandfather has told him since he was young, about a princess, her two sisters, and a jinn that protected them all. This family lives in the states now, but the story is from Pakistan. After a few turn of events, the boy, now a man, picks up his life and goes to Pakistan to see if his grandfather's story was just a story. Also, this story has such a beautiful ending. I gave The New Voices of Fantasy 3 stars overall, because out of a possible 95 stars (5 stars possible for each of the 19 stories) this collection accumulated 60 stars (63%). Blog | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Youtube | Twitch

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    On sale as of August 22, 2017! Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature: This collection of nineteen fantasy short works, edited by Peter Beagle, is definitely worthwhile if you like speculative short fiction. Many of them left an impact on me, and a few are true standouts. These stories are by relatively new authors in the speculative fiction genre and are all fantasy; otherwise there’s no discernable overarching theme. These stories have almost all been published previously ove On sale as of August 22, 2017! Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature: This collection of nineteen fantasy short works, edited by Peter Beagle, is definitely worthwhile if you like speculative short fiction. Many of them left an impact on me, and a few are true standouts. These stories are by relatively new authors in the speculative fiction genre and are all fantasy; otherwise there’s no discernable overarching theme. These stories have almost all been published previously over the last seven years, and several of them are Hugo or Nebula winners or nominees. While a dedicated reader of online short fiction can find many of these short works in free online magazines, it’s convenient to have them gathered together in one volume with other stories that aren’t as readily available. A brief summary of the short stories and the novella in The New Voices of Fantasy and my ratings: 4 stars: “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” by Alyssa Wong. A disturbing vampirish story with an Asian main character, lesbian overtones and highly evocative language. Nebula winner. 4 stars: “Selkie Stories Are for Losers” by Sofia Samatar. When selkie women find their sealskin and go back to the sea, what about the children they leave behind? I appreciated that it explored a different point of view without minimizing the selkie women’s initial lack of consent. Hugo and Nebula nominee. 2.5 stars: “Tornado’s Siren” by Brooke Bolander. A tornado falls in love with a young girl, following her with devotion over the years. I don’t know, it just struck me as kind of a one-note story, with a few too many strained similes (“The sidewalks sweat like her father after a jog.”). 3 stars: “Left the Century to Sit Unmoved” by Sarah Pinsker. Every once in a while, people who dive into a pond in Shay’s small town never resurface, and their remains are never found. We never do find out why people keep disappearing, but the question Pinsker is really concerned with is, why do people still jump in? 5 stars: “A Kiss With Teeth” by Max Gladstone. Vlad the vampire is married to a human (in fact, the woman who was originally hunting him down!). They have a young son, and Vlad tries to live like a regular human, denying his darker self and powers. It all starts to break down when his son starts having problems at school, and when Vlad starts meeting regularly with his son’s teacher … who starts looking incredibly appealing as a victim. One of my favorite stories in this anthology, for its wry look at the question of what it means to be yourself. 5 stars: “Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon. When grumpy Grandma Harken’s grandson catches a jackalope woman by stealing her skin and partially burning it, it’s up to her to try to fix things. Vernon’s writing in this story is fantastic, evoking a Native American-inspired mythology and mixing in humorous but sharp observations about human nature. I’ve read this short story at least five times and adore it more each time. Nebula winner. 4 stars: “The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees” by E. Lily Yu. A fable-type of story about intelligent wasps and bees, with political overtones. Nebula and Hugo nominee. 2.5 stars: “The Practical Witch’s Guide to Acquiring Real Estate” by A. C. Wise. This is a humorous manual advising witches on the best way to get a house (buying, taming, breeding …). It’s a more complicated process than you might think! Cute, but a little weak and one-note for me. No plot. 3.75 stars: “The Tallest Doll in New York City” by Maria Dahvana Headley: One February evening in 1938, the Chrysler Building gets the romantic itch and takes off for a walk to go flirt with the Empire State Building. A sweet and warmhearted fantasia of a story; again, not a whole lot of plot. 4 stars: “The Haunting of Apollo A7LB” by Hannu Rajaniemi. A old spacesuit, haunted by the spirit of the astronaut who once owned it, takes its new (and illicit) owner for unwanted excursions. This is a deeper and more thoughtful story than I expected from the initial premise. 4 stars: “Here Be Dragons” by Chris Tarry. A couple of medieval con men, who made a good living for quite a while pretending to save villages from nonexistent dragons, are now having a difficult time settling down with the wives and kids. It’s told from the point of view of one of the men, who sees his friend’s and his own personal shortcomings, but tries to justify (or at least explain) their behavior. It’s amusing in parts, but also sobering and even appalling. 4.5 stars. “The One They Took Before” by Kelly Sandoval. Kayla feels a compulsion to check out want ads that speak of magical portals, faerie queens and mysterious disappearances. As the pattern builds up, it gradually becomes apparent why. 2 stars. “Tiger Baby” by JY Yang. Felicity has a disappointing job and an isolated life, but deep down she's certain that she's really a tiger, and one day will morph into her true tiger self. This one didn’t quite work for me. 2.5 stars: “The Duck” by Ben Loory. Another fable type of story, this one about a duck who falls hopelessly in love with ... a rock. Told in a deceptively simple fashion, it has some nice insights into friendship. Sadly, this duck just didn’t particularly rock my boat. 4 stars: “Wing” by Amal El-Mohtar. A lovely and very short story about books, and secrets, and people who truly understand you. There’s an intriguingly mysterious element in the small, thumb-sized book that the girl wears around her neck. 3.5 stars: “The Philosophers” by Adam Ehrlich Sachs. This work is comprised of three separate but thematically related stories, just a couple of pages each, about fathers and sons. They’re oddly whimsical and philosophical tales, reminiscent of stories by Jorge Luis Borges. Originally published in the New Yorker magazine. 3.5 stars: “My Time Among the Bridge Blowers” by Eugene Fischer. An explorer-scholar takes a journey to visits a remote, isolated people who have the ability to breathe air that solidifies enough for them to temporarily walk on it. This people, known as the Bridge Blowers, are very leery of visitors, since their society has been deeply damaged by colonial practices. It’s like reading a more enlightened Rudyard Kipling adventure, and what the narrator unknowingly reveals about himself and his prejudices is telling. However, I wasn’t a fan of the inconclusive ending. This is the only brand new story in this anthology. 4.5 stars: “The Husband Stitch” by Carmen Maria Machado. A disturbing, sexually explicit and well-written take on the old horror folk tale about the woman who always wears a ribbon around her neck. Machado weaves in urban legends and some meta aspects, where she addresses the reader directly. This is a strong and overtly feminist tale that takes a dim view of men generally. Nebula nominee. 4 stars: “The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn” by Usman T. Malik. This novella begins as a folk-type tale of the old days, involving a dispossessed Pakistani princess and a jinn who lived in a eucalyptus tree, as told by a Pakistani grandfather to his grandson. It evolves into mind-bending metaphysical science fiction with cosmic implications. Nebula nominated novella. I received a free copy of this book for review from the publisher and NetGalley. Thanks! Content note: These stories are mostly clean, but a few (most notably "Hungry Daughters" and "The Husband Stitch") have strong sexual content and/or lots of F-bombs.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elise (TheBookishActress)

    Average Rating: 3.47. This collection was... a bit of an experience. And meh. While I'll be mentioning thoughts on each story separately, I would like to say a few words about the collection as a whole. First of all, this is more speculative fiction than fantasy. Barely any of these take place in a different world, and barely any have standard plots. Instead, with a few exceptions, most are brief ruminations on a certain topic. I have to admit, I found that element fairly boring. Many of these started fantas Average Rating: 3.47. This collection was... a bit of an experience. And meh. While I'll be mentioning thoughts on each story separately, I would like to say a few words about the collection as a whole. First of all, this is more speculative fiction than fantasy. Barely any of these take place in a different world, and barely any have standard plots. Instead, with a few exceptions, most are brief ruminations on a certain topic. I have to admit, I found that element fairly boring. Many of these started fantastically and ended just blah. ♔ Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers by Alyssa Wong - ★★★★★ This one is basically terrifying. A girl uses Tinder to find dates and feed off their gross thoughts about her body. Yet on one date, she feasts off a murderer and becomes addicted. There's also a maybe-romance between her and her best friend. I adored this story, although I felt that the end fizzled a little. The writing and atmosphere is pitch-perfect, I adored the characters... just great. Probably my favorite of all the stories. You can read this here. ♔ Selkie Stories are for Losers by Sofia Samatar - ★★★☆☆ This follows– um, I'm not quite sure, because this really didn't feel resolved or completed. I liked the writing and the atmosphere, but the execution of the storyline was mediocre. Also appreciate that both of the first two stories were both a little gay. ♔ Tornado’s Siren by Brooke Bolander - ★★★☆☆ This follows a girl in love with a tornado. It's... weird. I love the idea, but I didn't emotionally connect with anything here. The magical realism feel is nice, at least. ♔ Left the Century to Sit Unmoved by Sarah Pinsker - ★★★★☆ This is a slice-of-life about people living near a pond in their small town. I LOVED the beginning. Absolutely adored the writing, loved the themes, was so excited to see what the solution is. I thought this would blow my mind. It unfortunately didn't. These open endings have got to go. ♔ A Kiss with Teeth by Max Gladstone - ★★★☆☆ It's a coming of age story, but with a really old vampire instead of a teen. I was honestly kind of surprised I enjoyed this, after I found the beginning badly written and slightly stalker-ish. But this quickly turned into an interesting story about accepting faults in love. I especially loved reading about Vlad and Sarah's little family. ♔ Jackalope Wives by Ursula Vernon - ★★★★★ This is a story about wanting what you can't have and having what you can't want. It's... eerie. I feel like this will be polarizing, but I loved it. And yes, it is about jackalope wives. Go figure. ♔ The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees by E. Lily Yu - ★★★☆☆ I don't think I understood this? The themes about human empowerment are clear, but there's no thesis to it, I guess. It is very well-written. ♔ The Practical Witch’s Guide to Acquiring Real Estate by A. C. Wise - ★★☆☆☆ Meh. I think I have to agree with Melanie when I say this was kind of pointless. It's a guide for witches building houses. ♔ The Tallest Doll in New York City by Maria Dahvana Headley - ★★★★☆ This was so weird but so creative and atmospheric. It follows a group of buildings that are dating. I said weird, don't blame me. I don't even know if I understood all of it; is it time neutral or something? Yet I ended the story with happiness rather than with a desire for more. ♔ The Haunting of Apollo A7LB by Hannu Rajaniemi - ★★★★☆ The first line of this story is freaking amazing; I actually planned to take a break from this collection until I saw the first line. And thankfully I really enjoyed this!! It's a story of lost love and dreams. Be warned it's far less creepy than its blurb. ♔ Here Be Dragons by Chris Tarry - ★★☆☆☆ This follows a man who is always leaving his parents to make money off townspeople via slaying fraudulent dragons. I thought this was going to be some story of redemption after being a terrible father, but it's so... ugh. There's this vibe of “women are the right parents for children and men pitching in is just a bonus” which... no. I kind of enjoyed the middle of this story, but the end ruined it for me by going back on all the potential for character development. ♔ The One They Took Before by Kelly Sandoval - ★★★☆☆ Maybe more of a 2.5, because I legitimately have no fucking clue what this is about. Nice writing though. ♔ Tiger Baby by JY Yang - ★★★★★ This was so weird, and yet here I am with your latest five-star review. Maybe a 4.5 in reality, but this fucked with my mind. This follows a girl who believes she is truly a tiger. The ending is just as odd as the rest, but I really enjoyed something about it. I'd like to analyze this one. I feel as if it will be quite hit-or-miss. And this will sound odd, but I appreciate the amount of stories in this collection with badass gay Asian girls as protagonists. ♔ The Duck by Ben Loory - ★★★☆☆ This follows a duck who falls in love with a rock. I know what you're thinking - he's weird. An odd duck, if you will. But truly, that's the point. This story is truly about accepting your friends for who they are. It's a sweet theme and a sweet story. Unfortunately, I found this a bit lacking. The themes lacked the depth of development I wanted, due to the ridiculously short length. ♔ Wing by Amal El-Mohtar - ★★★★☆ This is a story about how love should be accepting. Following a girl with a book around her neck, a girl with a secret, we see how love should come about. It's quite short, but I enjoyed this a lot. There are some fabulous and quotable lines in here. ♔ The Philosophers by Adam Ehrlich Sachs - ★★★☆☆ This is a series of vignettes about fathers and sons. And no, there aren't any girl characters. Go figure. The first story is about generations trying to communicate and bad translating methods. The second story is about recognizing parental faults and hats. The last story isn't about fathers at all, it's about creating paradoxes through assassinating your relatives. But it was probably my favorite of all these. ♔ My Time Among the Bridge Blowers by Eugene Fischer - ★★★★☆ This is a story about colonialism. Readers will be drawn to the themes and message of this, as well as the complex and intriguing worldbuilding. Why couldn't this be a full book? ♔ The Husband Stitch by Carmen Maria Machado - ★★★★★ I read this earlier due to Melanie's awesome recommendation. This is a story about being consumed by men and losing your own agency. It's a story about how much you can give before you break. And that's all I'm really going to say about it. This is one you really have to experience on your own. One thing is clear, though; it's worth the read. There were a few metaphors here I only understood on the second go due to sheer exhaustion, which is really upsetting - I feel like this would be my fave rather than my second fave otherwise. You can read this story here. ♔ The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn by Usman T. Malik - ★☆☆☆☆ I'm going to be totally honest here - I hated this. It's really well-written, and I'm sure many will appreciate it if they “get it”. But I could not get past the length. This takes up an entire 25% of the story collection. Twenty. Five. Percent. That's not short. That's a 75 page story. And it didn't need to be so long!! This easily could've been twenty pages and fantastic, if a little confusing. Confusing short stories are fun and make you think. Confusing long stories are annoying. This was the latter. It's an overwritten mess that keeps touching on cosmology but doesn't make any sense. Comment below if you had any similar thoughts on these stories, or different ones!! Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Youtube

  4. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    Sadly uneven. While there were a few really beautiful stories, overall I found this anthology not as great as it could have been. Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weismann collected short stories by authors they think will influence the future of fantasy. As such this is a very varied anthology with different outlooks on what constitutes "fantasy" as a genre. There were some really innovative story telling techniques employed and some stories I really adored - but some felt flat for me. I guess that is Sadly uneven. While there were a few really beautiful stories, overall I found this anthology not as great as it could have been. Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weismann collected short stories by authors they think will influence the future of fantasy. As such this is a very varied anthology with different outlooks on what constitutes "fantasy" as a genre. There were some really innovative story telling techniques employed and some stories I really adored - but some felt flat for me. I guess that is always going to be the case when it comes to anthologies this broad. It took me a while to get into this collection as the first five stories did not particularly wow me. While I thought "Tornado's Siren" (about a tornado who is in love with a girl) had a really interesting premise, the execution, especially in regards to the characters, fell flat for me; whereas "A Kiss with Teeth" just bored me to death - a vampire as a urban dad with midlife crisis just is not something I am very interested in. This is exemplary of how much of the collection read for me: many stories were just boring or not as well rounded as I would have liked. But still, there were some stories I really, absolutely, completely adored: Jackalope Wives by Ursula Vernon: wimsy, sad, poignant, and reminiscent of classical fairy tales with a twist: very much my thing. The Haunting of Apollo A7LB by Hannu Rajaniemi: funny, quiet, political, unexpected, and wonderfully hopeful. The One They Took Before by Kelly Sandoval: mean, sad, wonderful, difficult to get into at first but very rewarding in the end (oh the ending was so beautiful and hopeful and sad). The Husband Stitch by Carmen Maria Machado: stunning, weird, feminist, sad, dark, wonderful. My absolute favourite of the bunch. And I am glad because I have been wanting to read her forthcoming debut collection for a while and now I cannot wait. This is just my type of dark magical realism that I adore in short stories. If you only read one of those stories: read this one. I think this collection is broad enough to offer something for everybody - while this is a strength it also is a weakness as I found the anthology too uneven for my taste. ____ I received an arc of this book curtesy of NetGalley and Tachyon Publications in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for that!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Charlie - A Reading Machine

    If these ladies and gentlemen represent the future of fantasy we are in for a wild and terrific ride. All the stories have been published since 2010 so whilst they might not be technically new, their writers are blossoming, following new and different paths to their humble beginnings. Being excellent examples of their kind you may have come across some of them already but as reader who tends to stick to full-length novels almost all of the writers and all of the stories were unfamiliar to me, so If these ladies and gentlemen represent the future of fantasy we are in for a wild and terrific ride. All the stories have been published since 2010 so whilst they might not be technically new, their writers are blossoming, following new and different paths to their humble beginnings. Being excellent examples of their kind you may have come across some of them already but as reader who tends to stick to full-length novels almost all of the writers and all of the stories were unfamiliar to me, so it’s exciting to go into a little more depth into some of my favourites. Alyssa Wong’s “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” is some horrific shit and I mean that in the best possible way. It is visceral, original, unsettling and wholly unforgettable. The story shows us a glimpse into the world of an extraordinary being that can hear other people’s thoughts and sees them represented as real manifestations. “I nod, half listening to the words coming out of his mouth. I’m much more interested in the ones hissing through the teeth of the thoughts above him.” She seeks the most depraved and vile thoughts because they taste the best, and when she catches her latest Tinder date revelling in the thought of cutting her open later in the night, this blind turns from boring into promising. Let that sink in. Wong set the bar very high here, I felt filthy after reading it and although it was probably edging closer to horror than fantasy I think it was the perfect way to kick things off this anthology. “Selkie Stories Are For Losers” by Sofia Samatar was interesting but completely different from the opening story. It’s about family and lost opportunity and the legend of a people who can remove their skins to take on a human form and the human who inevitably steals a skin to trap a bride. “Tornado’s Siren” by Brooke Bolander was the next story to really catch me off guard. The concept is so fantastic. What would you do if a tornado wanted to be your Valentine? Rhea is nine-years-old and finds herself huddled down in the bath and covered in blankets staring into the eye of a raging tornado when she asks, “Why?” In that moment the storm pauses and then dissipates as quickly as it arrived. Years later upon receiving no Valentine’s cards her high school is blown down with every other kid’s card landing at the doorstep of her house. As she grows up incidents compound leaving her with little choice but to acknowledge what the hell is going on and finally take control of the situation. I loved every second of this one. “Left the Century to Sit Unmoved” by Sarah Pinsker is a real mystery. It’s a beautiful story full of danger and tells of a girl who lives in a place with a very strange pond. It is a rite of passage for the kids in this town to take a huge leap on the rocks above but once in a while the pond takes someone. There is never a sign of struggle and no body has ever been recovered, they simply never come up after breaking the surface. So of course kids want to jump in it to prove themselves, swearing by a set of made up rules that are supposed to increase your chances of breathing air again. They also proudly recognise why they jump, to know what happens if they get taken, because the water is clear and deep, to fly for a moment and just because. This story fills the spirit. “A Kiss with Teeth” by Max Gladstone is great dark fun. It’s about a vampire, possibly the oldest vampire, his name is Vlad after all, and his struggles living a modern life. Sounds a little hooey, like a soap opera featuring Jim Belushi, but at its heart it’s about a man struggling with his true nature in front of the mortal people he loves. His son is ignorant of his past and when they play catch he must do everything in his power to move at snail’s pace to stop the ball breaking the sound barrier and crossing three states. He cannot kiss his wife the way he would like because he still does not know his place in the world and that loneliness is palpable. It leaves him vulnerable and a man out of place. “Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon is another story about mythical beings that become human when they remove their skins. It has a nice twist at the end and is one of the more magical pieces. “The Cartographers Wasps and the Anarchist Bees” by E. Lily Yu was one of the few stories that I had read and I enjoyed it just as much the second time. It is a curious tale of division and individuality and short lived life spans and builds an incredible world in a very small amount of time. “The Practical Witch’s Guide to Acquiring Real Estate” by A. C. Wise was literally a guide to buying a real estate if you were a witch. I didn’t find it fantastical or particularly surprising and to be honest it’s so different from anything else in the book I was left scratching me head unsure of what it was doing in this particular collection. “The Tallest Doll in New York City” is a really weird and beautiful story about a world where buildings can fall in love. They can leave their foundations and wander down the street leaving the people inside watching with a wry delight as they flirt and make their moves. It is delightful and whimsical and the most fun in the whole collection. This was exactly the sort of story I was hoping to find and there was not a moment of darkness, which is a rarity. “The Haunting of Apollo A7LB” by Hannu Rajaniemi was original and interesting but didn’t resonate with me the way some of the others do. A spacesuit, inhabited by its former resident, returns to its maker who was previously also his wife. She made the suit was such care and precision that it is almost a second skin but he also has someone else, a real person, trapped in there with him. “Here be Dragons” by Chris Tarry follows a couple of would be dragon slayers who have cornered the market on protecting local villages without every actually slaying anything. They are meant to be likeable old timey con men but an instant of attempted infanticide, and the reaction to said attempt by the protagonist left me with no sympathy or empathy towards either of them and by the end I couldn’t give two squirts what happened. “The One They Took Before” by Kelly Sandoval went right over my head. A guy posts on Craigslist about a rift in the fabric of the universe but it is a trap set for our protagonist. It is dark and mysterious but I didn’t quite get it. “Tiger Baby” by JY Yang was so magical. A young woman feels the road of a feline in her mouth and the wildness of a tiger straining behind her beating heart. She wakes every morning like a spirit animal returning to its human form and is so sure she is something else. Her ability to attract and almost communicate with street cats only makes her feelings more intense. Will she gives herself up and completely let go? You’ll see. “The Duck” by Ben Loory. Oh my god. A duck falls in love with a rock. He is super embarrassed but because his mates are just sort of dicks. But they aren’t complete dicks, so they decide, with the cajoling of a young female duck who believes his love is genuine, to haul the rock up to the top of a cliff and chuck it off to see if it will fly. There is so much love in this story my heart almost burst. “Wing” by Amal El-Mohtar is another one about magic and love. Or it could be about the unluckiest girl in the world because every time she sits down to read a book someone comes up and asks her what she is reading. This is my idea of hell. It’s lovely though. “The Philosophers” by Adam Ehrlich Sachs is completely mad and brilliant. One of my absolute favourites but to say anything would be to ruin it. “My Time Among the Bridge Blowers” by Eugene Fischer was not one of my favourites and I didn’t really get what was going on enough to have a solid opinion. It is about both the strengths and shortcomings of 19th century colonial fiction made popular by Rudyard Kipling. “The Husband Stitch” by Carmen Maria Machado is lonely and twisted. It’s about a women whose stories can become reality…I think. She wears a ribbon around her neck that can never be undone and her major concern when having a child is that if it is a girl it will have one too. I’ll need to give it another go. “The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn” by Usman T. Malik won the British Fantasy Award in 2016 and gives us something that explores the power of words themselves. It is a fitting end to the collection and shows the strength that a generation of storytellers can achieve. This is an exceptional collection of stories and I highly recommend picking it up upon its release. I was hugely impressed to find a personal connection with almost every piece of fiction contained within and I have no doubt the one’s I didn’t connect with will find eager and appreciative readers elsewhere. It is a certainty that these emerging and flourishing writers will be making more noise in the future. Thank you to Tachyon Publications for sending me an advance copy. This review was originally published at Fantasy Faction here http://fantasy-faction.com/2017/the-n...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alina

    ***Note: I received a copy curtesy of Netgalley and Tachyon Publications in exchange for an honest review. Most of the stories can be read for free online, I linked them in my review for a taste of the collection. Below, each of the stories rated with its own stars and a few words of each, trying to avoid spoilers. Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers by Alyssa Wong - .../5★ (Read it HERE). [...] The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn by Usman T. Malik - 3.5/5★ (Read it HERE). A man decides to follow his grandfather's stor/>The/>Hungry ***Note: I received a copy curtesy of Netgalley and Tachyon Publications in exchange for an honest review. Most of the stories can be read for free online, I linked them in my review for a taste of the collection. Below, each of the stories rated with its own stars and a few words of each, trying to avoid spoilers. Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers by Alyssa Wong - .../5★ (Read it HERE). [...] The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn by Usman T. Malik - 3.5/5★ (Read it HERE). A man decides to follow his grandfather's stories of a jin and a princess. Good writing, but too many specific terms for such a short text. My extended oppinion can be found here. "You can’t stare into the heart of the Unseen and not have it stare back at you."

  7. 5 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    Did I just buy an entire anthology only because it has Alyssa Wong's name on the cover? Yes. Yes I did. On sale for $1.99 in the US Kindle store right now!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lena

    Huge thanks to Latasha, Canavan, Stephanie, and Fiona at Spells, Space & Screams for reading, interpreting, and discussing these stories with me. You made a good book great! Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers by Alyssa Wong ★★★★★ "I feel decadent and filthy, swollen with the cruelest dreams I’ve ever tasted." Oh twisted sister I love you! Gorgeous Asian women in Manhattan eating bad men alive. Yes, yes, yes! Selkie Stories Are For Losers b★★★★★"I Huge thanks to Latasha, Canavan, Stephanie, and Fiona at Spells, Space & Screams for reading, interpreting, and discussing these stories with me. You made a good book great! Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers by Alyssa Wong ★★★★★ "I feel decadent and filthy, swollen with the cruelest dreams I’ve ever tasted." Oh twisted sister I love you! Gorgeous Asian women in Manhattan eating bad men alive. Yes, yes, yes! Selkie Stories Are For Losers by Sofia Samatar ★★★☆☆ "In selkie stories, kissing never solves anything... No one loves you just because you love them. What kind of fairy tale is that?" It’s a sad one. Two girls from broken homes laugh over fairy tales trying to steel themselves to make a go at happily ever after. I don’t think they make it, it’s in the blood. Tornado’s Siren by Brooke Bolander ★★★☆☆ "Take me some place interesting," she whispers. And it does. Well that was an unconventional love story. A step up from storm chasing - storm loving. Left The Century To Sit Unmoved by Sarah Pinsker ★★★☆☆ "There have never been any rules." Kat believes her brother died cliff jumping into a pond the locals are superstitious about. When she finds her brothers listed reasons for jumping she decides to challenge those superstitions. "...a brother is not something that can become nothing." This isn’t an edgy, scary, or even whimsical story but it’s got some feels. A Kiss With Teeth by Max Gladstone ★★★★☆ Well that was fun. Dracula has been trying to live the suburban life but is feeling the ol’seven year itch. How long can you pretend to be something you’re not? Jackalope Wives by Ursula Vernon ★★★★½ “Be cruel or be kind, but don’t be both, because now you’ve made a mess you can’t clean up...” Sometimes short stories feel like cut down novellas, prequels, or generally leave threads dangling. This is a complete and flawlessly executed short story. Desire, magic, rage, history all threaded neatly together. Had it been vengeful, or a little bloody, I would have given it five stars. *The Tomato Thief by Ursula Vernon ★★★★☆ "The world was hard and fierce, but it also contained tomato sandwiches, and if that didn’t make it a world worth living in, your standards were unreasonably high." Well done sequel to Jackalope Wives! Ol’ crotchety Grandma Harken is back defending her territory and helping the magically maligned. Also the world building expanded and I hope that means a novel of the horizon though I’d take a short story collection. *Not technically part of the book but a worthy addendum if you enjoyed Jackalope Wives. https://www.apex-magazine.com/the-tom... The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees by E. Lily Yu ★★★★★ "When the old queen died, they did not mourn." This story was a brutal exploration of nature, politics, and identity. Revolution seems exciting and morally right when you don’t think about the cost or what comes after. I remember the first time I found pictures online of Iran in the 1970s. Beautiful educated women, bikinis, sunny beaches - it looked vacation ready. I was gutted at all they had lost. I look at proud Queen Farah and am reminded that the most appropriate covering for a woman’s head is a crown. The Practical Witch’s Guide to Acquiring Real Estate by A.C. Wise ★★★☆☆ “She was prone to uncontrollable shuddering after even a simple stroll from bedroom to bathroom, haunted by the sensation of her own bare feet walking over her own bare skin.” An imaginative, and disturbing, look at a world of magical real estate. The Tallest Doll in New York City by Maria Dahvana Headley ★★★☆☆ If the previous story hadn’t been about magical homes with a mind of their own I would have been unprepared for this whimsical story of buildings in New York coming life on Valentines Day. It read like an old timey light hearted cartoon. The Haunting of Apollo A7LB by Hannu Rajaniemi ★★★☆☆ My first Hannu story! Someday I hope to read The Quantum Thief. This was a ghost story about old loves, favors owed, and the moon. Here Be Dragons by Chris Tarry ★☆☆☆☆ Oh god what a horrible story of dog killing, child abusing con men. I almost DNF’d but then it looked like the MC was going to make a turn around, realize the importance of family. Nope. The One They Took Before by Kelly Sandoval ★★★★½ Oooh, now that was a nice dark tale of the not so nice, but oh so beautiful, fey. Tiger Baby by JY Yang ★★★★☆ A lovely story of a woman who believes she is a tiger. When her human life cuts ties with her she cuts ties with it. But is she a tiger? 🐈 The Duck by Ben Loory ★★★★☆ That was absolutely adorable and pure of heart without being saccharine. Still smiling over it. Wing by Amal El-Mohtar ★★★☆☆ Well now, that was lovely and short but clear as pond scum. The Philosophers by Adam Ehrlich Sachs ★★★☆☆ Three tiny strange stories about fathers and sons, all sad. My Time Among the Bridge Blowers by Eugene Fischer ★★★☆☆ An anthropologist goes to a remote region to visit the last airbenders. The Husband Stitch by Carmen Maria Machado ★★★☆☆ “...stories can sense happiness and snuff it out like a candle.” If you play it straight it sounds like this woman had a great marriage and life. Pretty close to perfect. Each painful moment is focused on dramatically. I felt she was complaining. But this isn’t a straight story. It veers, dips, and dives with allusions, magical and otherwise. It might have been have a nouveau feminist story but I felt for the husband - that ribbon bullshit would have gotten on my last nerve. I would not have lasted 25 years. The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn by Usman T. Malik ★★★★★ “We will believe. And the glamour of such belief will endure forever.” This took awhile to hook me, but hooked I was. I love generational stories of breadth and depth, of mystery and magic. (view spoiler)[And I haven’t seen such a foreknowledge curse since Stephen Spielberg’s Taken. Anyone else remember that miniseries, lol? (hide spoiler)]

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mel (Epic Reading)

    One or two brilliant stories doesn’t make up for the half dozen not so great ones in this anthology. Overall this is a disappointing set of stories. However, the ones that are worth reading, if you were to say take this out at the library are by: Alyssa Wong, Brooke Bolander, E. Lily Yu, Kelly Sandoval. These four authors I will definitely watch for the future. The rest of the stories either, weren't all that stunning. Some seemed just outrageous or impractical, some were poorly written. In the One or two brilliant stories doesn’t make up for the half dozen not so great ones in this anthology. Overall this is a disappointing set of stories. However, the ones that are worth reading, if you were to say take this out at the library are by: Alyssa Wong, Brooke Bolander, E. Lily Yu, Kelly Sandoval. These four authors I will definitely watch for the future. The rest of the stories either, weren't all that stunning. Some seemed just outrageous or impractical, some were poorly written. In the context of most anthologies I except to have a strong start, an okay middle set of stories and a strong ending. That was not the case here which is too bad. Given that all of these authors are quite new to their genre, style, etc. I wouldn't exclude any of the authors I wasn't a fan of from being read in the future as these are what they say they are; new to the field authors. We have to accept and hope that all of them will improve over time. For this and more of my reviews please visit my blog at: Epic Reading Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC! I really liked, sometimes loved the stories in this volume. A lot of them are reprints, if not all, and I remember a number of them quite fondly from previous reads, such as, and especially, Alyssa Wong and Brooke Bolander. However, there were a number of newcomers (the definition is flexible) that I really enjoyed or I've already had the pleasure of reading some of their actual novels, such as stories from Hannu Rajaniemi, Sofia Samatar, an Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC! I really liked, sometimes loved the stories in this volume. A lot of them are reprints, if not all, and I remember a number of them quite fondly from previous reads, such as, and especially, Alyssa Wong and Brooke Bolander. However, there were a number of newcomers (the definition is flexible) that I really enjoyed or I've already had the pleasure of reading some of their actual novels, such as stories from Hannu Rajaniemi, Sofia Samatar, and Max Gladstone. Hannu is a personal favorite author of mine, and Max is rapidly getting there, too, for me. Let me tell you... I really loved the one from Max. Dracula in the modern city. It was far from being overdone, rather, it was absolutely delightful. :) Ben Loory's short of "The Duck" was an awesome surprise, and I'm really beginning to look forward to every Ursula Vernon story I'm running across, too. All in all, though, I am very impressed and pleased by this collection and if its primary intention is to say, "Hey, look at these authors and revel in their glory!", then I think it did a wonderful job. Most of them have quite a few awards under their wings, too. I totally recommend this for all modern fantasy lovers. (And btw, there's a TON of great OLD fantasy retellings, usually quite unique and unusual tales in their own right. If you love hard to find legends retold for modern sensibilities wrapped and layered in fantastic characters, this is ALSO your book.)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ann (Inky)

    This collection of nineteen fantasy tales is one of the most unique anthologies I have had the pleasure of reading thus far in my humble reading life. Written by exciting new storytellers of the fantasy (and science fiction) genres, these short stories range from vampires and selkies, to walking skyscrapers and a lovelorn duck. I gobbled up these stories in a short time, and enjoyed most of them immensely. However, there arose a nagging question while reading these stories: what defines fantasy This collection of nineteen fantasy tales is one of the most unique anthologies I have had the pleasure of reading thus far in my humble reading life. Written by exciting new storytellers of the fantasy (and science fiction) genres, these short stories range from vampires and selkies, to walking skyscrapers and a lovelorn duck. I gobbled up these stories in a short time, and enjoyed most of them immensely. However, there arose a nagging question while reading these stories: what defines fantasy? What, by definition, even is fantasy? I haven’t really come up with a “right” answer, but rather a paradox to explain what I felt during my read: fantasy is more or less subjective. Sometime during its evolution as a genre, as fantasy has become more and more diverse, so too has it become more subtle. A story which is unexplainable, fantastic, magical, even baffling for one reader may seem rather commonplace to the next. Fantasy is no longer held back by the same medieval settings and formulaic magic systems inspired by (white) European culture of bygone days. Dragons, wizards, goblins, and cursed ancient forests are no longer a requirement to convey feelings of fantastic grandeur in storytelling. Though the traditional “epic/ high” fantasy lives on, we have long broken free from the stereotypical confinements of stories told in rigid, magical worlds. In fact, there is only one story in this collection that even comes close to a classic fantasy, and it is still far from what one would expect from something titled “Here Be Dragons”. I flew from dark urban alleyways to inside a bee hive, from a jackalope-riddled desert to a jungle where a tribe with ancient powers still live. Somehow, even though I have never read anything by Peter S. Beagle (shame!), I was expecting this anthology to play by the ancient “rules” of typical fantasy writing. These burgeoning authors are anything but typical, and I look forward to following these new voices as they continue the battle of crafting fantasy tales. Average rating of all stories: 3.47 // 5 (rounded up to 4!) Below are my notes and favorite quotes for each story. Some spoilers beware! (Major ones are tagged.) “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” by Alyssa Wong - Kickass, faced paced urban fantasy. Love that the MC is a bisexual Asian woman with powers. "I can't stop staring at the ugly thoughts, dropping from her lips like swollen beetles. They skitter over the tablecloth toward me, whispering absurdities at odds with Seo-yun's gentle voice, hissing what they'd like to do to me." 3.5/5 “Selkie Stories are for Losers” by Sofia Samatar- Selkies have such unique lure, and the story was well-written (if a bit choppy), but just felt like too little magic, not enough to sink my teeth into. Not bad by any means just kinda forgettable. 3/5 “Tornado’s Siren” by Brooke Bolander - Short and simple (compared to the others) but quirky and loveable (view spoiler)[...a tornado falls in love with a young human girl and “stalks” her, helps her, she becomes a storm chaser. (hide spoiler)] Such a unique concept, charming. Really want to read more from her! “Bad things happen to good people all the time. Even at nine she’s a little wary about putting all her faith into such a thought she would never say in front of her grown-ups.” “You can’t fall in love with destruction. What would that say about a person?” 4.5/5 “Left the Century to Sit Unmoved” by Sarah Pinsker - Town tradition of jumping off cliff, a common thing (I did this as a teen, like a drunken rite of passage), but this story warps it into a fantasy (urban fantasy again). Okay but certainly not a fave. “I don’t imagine the people who are taken die or are reborn. I think they’re transformed, but I don’t know into what. Rainbow trout, black snake, water molecules. Is that different than dying? To become part of this beautiful pond, to receive the waterfall, to be surrounded always by rock and pine and birch and sky?” 3.75/5 “A Kiss with Teeth” by Max Gladstone - A family drama, but the father is a vampire. Quirky, but for me lacked depth. Reminded me a bit of “Santa Clarita Diet” but less funny. 3/5 “Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon - Love the uniqueness in the mythology (never read a jackalope story before). Again this is “urban” and not “high” fantasy (are any of them so?) but it wasn’t bad. “A little magic is worse than none, for it draws the wrong sort of attention.” 3.5/5 “The Cartographer Wasps and Anarchist Bees” by E. Lily Yu - Extremely original concept (despite the sudden fascination with “saving the bees”), love a perspective I’ve never read before, still felt as though missing something, by the end. Bees’ thoughts are quite poetic. “By the sheerest of accidents, one of the bees trained as a cartographer’s assistant was an anarchist.[...] Anarchism being a heritable trait in bees, a number of the daughters of the new queen found themselves questioning the purpose of the monarchy.” “None had seen a winter before, but the memory of the species is subtle and long, and in their hearts, despite the summer sun, the felt an imminent darkness.” 3/5 “The Practical Witch’s Guide to Acquiring Real Estate” by A. C. Wise - Comical but mostly missed the mark for me. Didn’t feel like a “story”but a few magazine clippings sewn together. “Open your skin so the house may see these truths written on your bones.” “The house may let you live inside it, but it will live inside you as well: an infinite series of nesting dolls, witch inside house inside witch, growing smaller and smaller until where one beings and the other ends is virtually indistinguishable, even on a sub-atomic level.” 3/5 “The Tallest Doll in New York City” by Maria Dahvana Headley - Left me confused, hardly seemed like fantasy...but the building are...walking around (view spoiler)[& they are like horny for each other..? (hide spoiler)] Not my cuppa. 2/5 “The Haunting of Apollo A7LB” by Hannu Rajaniemi - About a haunted moon-suit and the widow of the astronaut who made it. Actually did make me chuckle a few times. Just didn’t connect with this sci-fi-ish one. 2.5/5 “Here Be Dragons” by Chris Tarry - (view spoiler)[Two men are fake dragon slayers. (hide spoiler)] I believe this is the only one with a typical Europeans medieval setting, but ironically it’s written in a more modern way, and the premise is unexpected and well executed. Tackles some issues of modern fatherhood and masculinity as a parent: “‘You’re better at fathering than you think,’ Gerta said. ‘Well, don’t spread it around,’ I said. ‘The kind of men I used to run with would see me beaten for it.’” 4.25/5 “The One They Took Before” by Kelly Sandoval - Existential crisis beginning with a Craig’s List advertisement. Quirky. Like the prose broken up with newspaper articles, etc. Kinda went over my head, though? I think I still don’t really know what it is about. Jumped from scene to scene too quickly. 2/5 “Tiger Baby” by JY Yang - LOVE this one, can VERY much relate to the MC, who feels out of place her whole life, just feels wrong (wants nothing but raw meat (for me, raw fish) in her body (symbolism for dysphoria? Hm!), eventually transforms (view spoiler)[& becomes street cat (not what she expected but okay! Goodbye, human body! Oh, if only!!! (hide spoiler)] ”They invite her to their movie nights, try to get her interested in whatever’s on the television, as if that would settle the wild bones rattling inside her.” 5/5 “The Duck” by Ben Loory - Strange one, literally about a duck. Dialogue without tags, ugh, huge pet peeve. Extremely simple plot (they are ducks, after all), not sure there’s a point to the story other than “aww, it’s cute”? I guess supposed to be like “don’t judge a book by its cover” or some similar effect. “The duck sighed and sat down on the ground. If he hands, he would have buried his head in them.” 2.5/5 “Wing” by Amal El-Mohtar - Short, whimsical, full of random facts or a “story within a story”. Maybe about being so very different from everyone else, and the elevated delight in finding someone who is just as weird as you. 4/5 “The Philosophers” by Adam Ehrlich Sachs - Three shorter stories about fatherhood & father/son relationships. So not my cuppa tea really...BUT the final story was a TOTAL mindfuck, some Black Mirror, time travel paradox shit to make your brain overheat a bit. Would be interested to read more from him for sure. 4.5 “My Time Among the Bridge Blowers” by Eugene Fischer - Sounds like Rupyard Kipling, colonization/racism, very little fantasy elements (the sigils on his body, forcibly gives it to a girl he is creepily fascinated by) very well written, like literature. 3/5 “The Husband Stitch” by Carmen Maria Machado - Full of painful truths about how husbands treat wives, again only a thread of fantasy in this one (pun intended). So well written, words cut into you, but feels out of place here. 4/5 “The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn” by Usman T. Malik - Immediately I am so in love with Malik’s prose...I want to devour everything he has written and will write. I don’t say that about many authors. (I was not even done yet and I knew I couldn’t possibly give this story any less than 4.75 or 5 full stars. It’s a beautiful, chai-flavored mindfuck.) Audibly GASPED out loud nearing the ending, despite my sleeping partner next to me and the late hour. I applaud any piece of writing that can pull such a reaction from me. Just an absolute perfect story, and a wonderful finish to this anthology.5/5

  12. 5 out of 5

    Leseparatist

    Re-reading in The New Voices of Fantasy made me realise that, despite what I'd thought, I never reviewed this when I first read it. But I think that's not a terrible thing; upon re-read, I liked it better. It's satisfying, beautiful and sad. I loved the ending. It's also interesting how, similarly to Sarah Canary, this reads as either genre or mainstream, selkies in the eye of the beholder. Merged review: I received the electronic ARC of this from NetGalley and publisher in ex Re-reading in The New Voices of Fantasy made me realise that, despite what I'd thought, I never reviewed this when I first read it. But I think that's not a terrible thing; upon re-read, I liked it better. It's satisfying, beautiful and sad. I loved the ending. It's also interesting how, similarly to Sarah Canary, this reads as either genre or mainstream, selkies in the eye of the beholder. Merged review: I received the electronic ARC of this from NetGalley and publisher in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are entirely my own. Seriously uneven, but the strong stories outnumber the weak ones. Overall, The New Voices of Fantasy clearly is an accomplished work. It does what it has surely set out to do: offers a strong and relatively diverse overview of some of the most interesting perspectives in the field today. Still, it is not without some problems of its own. I honestly loved Machado's, Wong's, Samatar's, Pinsker's and Vernon's stories, but these were writers (and, in some cases, stories) I was already familiar with. I was very glad to read my first fiction from E.Lily Yu and A.C.Wise, whose stories were clever and touching, and original. I think Malik and Sachs were quite good, though not unproblematic (particularly in Malik's case, where the story erases women both literally and figuratively, and never overcomes that problem). Alas, a few stories felt ultimately skippable, and two made me actively angry (Gladstone and Tarry) and left me thinking that the authors didn't think their ideas and the implications they posed through quite well enough. The best stories of this collection would have been enough to justify its existence; other good stories made for gripping reading; I think a few stories could have been cut resulting in a stronger average, but it was certainly interesting to see what’s happening in the genre right now, according to the editors. What it seems to be is blending of boundaries between literary and genre fantastical stories (as well as horror); significant amount of interest in queer and underprivileged perspectives; a diversity of both authors and subject matter; attempts at grappling with toxic masculinity (unfortunately, not always successfully). That, on the whole, seems to bode quite well. I certainly have been reminded of and acquainted with a few authors to look out for in the future. (For a more lengthy review singling out individual stories, more useful for readers who have already read the stories themselves, see my blog.)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Latasha

    Some great stories. I read this with a group on goodreads. I'm usually a horror gal but decided to give this a try. I'm glad I did. There is some great stories in here and only 1 didn't care much for. So thank you to my book club for introducing me to many new authors. :)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    An excellent collection of contemporary fantasy short stories. I'd already read 8 out of the 19 stories, but I enjoyed rereading them. I'd also already read 15 of the authors, so it's nice to know I'm keeping up with new fantasy authors! If you're on the hunt for some new authors, this is a great collection to read. It's also interesting to note that of the 19 stories, only 2 were 2nd world fantasy. The other 17 stories were rooted in this world. But what all of these stories tend to An excellent collection of contemporary fantasy short stories. I'd already read 8 out of the 19 stories, but I enjoyed rereading them. I'd also already read 15 of the authors, so it's nice to know I'm keeping up with new fantasy authors! If you're on the hunt for some new authors, this is a great collection to read. It's also interesting to note that of the 19 stories, only 2 were 2nd world fantasy. The other 17 stories were rooted in this world. But what all of these stories tend to do is use fantasy as a metahpor for something about living, and I love that. There are some really powerful stories in this collection. “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” by Alyssa Wong: A lot of Wong's short stories (if not all) deal with a monstrous feminine and relationships among women. This is no exception. I mistakenly thought I'd read this before, so I'm glad it was in this collection. 4/5 “Selkie Stories are for Losers” by Sofia Samatar: And the protagonist has good reason for thinking so (the title). I really enjoy this story. This is my third time reading it, I believe. 4.5/5 “Tornado’s Siren” by Brooke Bolander: So good! A tornado falls in love with a little girl, and follows her the rest of her life. Such a fantastic story. 5/5 “Left the Century to Sit Unmoved” by Sarah Pinsker: In a small town, a waterhole sometimes swallows people, and a folklore has developed around it. A teenage girl dares to jump regularly. I've read this before, but had forgotten I had because the title doesn't really hint at the story. I really don't like the title, but the story is great. 4.5/5 “A Kiss with Teeth” by Max Gladstone: A vampire tries to live a normal human life and do the right thing for his family. Fun story. 4/5 “Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon: Animal transformation story set in the West. I love this story so much. Also a re-read for me, but it's just perfect. Moves me every time. 5/5 “The Cartographer Wasps and Anarchist Bees” by E. Lily Yu: A political allegory between bees and wasps. Cool concept. A reread that was better the 2nd time around. 4/5 “The Practical Witch’s Guide to Acquiring Real Estate” by A. C. Wise: A handbook about the ways witches can go about finding a house. I would choose 'Taming.' Another reread, but still cute. 4/5 “The Tallest Doll in New York City” by Maria Dahvana Headley: The Chrsyler Building takes a walk in the 1930s, and waltzes with the Empire State Building. A reread. 3/5 “The Haunting of Apollo A7LB” by Hannu Rajaniemi: A old spacesuit is haunted, and when a rich internet mogul smuggles it, it insists on visiting an old acquintance. First time reading this author. 3/5 “Here Be Dragons” by Chris Tarry: A retired fake dragon hunter returns home to be a stay-at-home dad. But can he settle down to this life? New author for me, and I really enjoyed it. 4/5 “The One They Took Before” by Kelly Sandoval: Oh, those faeries and their pet humans. This short story tells of woman after she returns home from a year in Faerie. How can she ever return to normal? 4/5 “Tiger Baby” by JY Yang: A woman feels she's more tiger than human. 3.5/5 “The Duck” by Ben Loory: A fable about a duck that falls in love with a rock. 3/5 “Wing” by Amal El-Mohtar: A woman wears a book necklace with a secret written inside. Lovely language, as always with Amal. 4.5/5 “The Philosophers” by Adam Ehrlich Sachs: A recursive story about sons translating a book as they slowly acquire a disability that leaves them unable to speak or move anything but a single body part. 2/5 “My Time Among the Bridge Blowers” by Eugene Fischer Original Story: A quasi-anthropologist travels to a remote village to learn the customs of its people, people his culture has attempted to colonize. Good story that felt like something larger. 4/5 “The Husband Stitch” by Carmen Maria Machado: A modern retelling of the folktale "The Girl with the Green Ribbon," one of my favorites growing up. This was my third time reading this short story, and the most effective. I kept thinking about the man who murdered his wife recently on a cruise ship, for laughing at him. 4.5/5 “The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn” by Usman T. Malik: A grandfather tells his grandson a story of a Princess and a jinn, and when the grandson grows into an adult and his grandfather dies, he discovers the story may be a lot more complicated and magical than his grandfather led him to believe. Another reread. 4/5 Thanks to Netgalley and Tachyon Press for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Acqua

    The New Voices of Fantasy is an anthology of 19 fantasy short stories by a selection of new authors. I was already familiar with some of them (mainly Alyssa Wong and JY Yang) but I discovered many other writers, and now I want to check out their other works. As many other anthologies, The New Voices of Fantasy has its ups and downs, with some stories I loved and some I didn't like; my average rating is 3.35 out of 5. Overall, it was an interesting experience. Hungry Daughters of Starving Moth/>Hungry The New Voices of Fantasy is an anthology of 19 fantasy short stories by a selection of new authors. I was already familiar with some of them (mainly Alyssa Wong and JY Yang) but I discovered many other writers, and now I want to check out their other works. As many other anthologies, The New Voices of Fantasy has its ups and downs, with some stories I loved and some I didn't like; my average rating is 3.35 out of 5. Overall, it was an interesting experience. Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers by Alyssa Wong - 5 stars This one was a reread. Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers is one of my favorite stories of all times because of its well-rounded characters and f/f/f love triangle. It's about Meimei, a vampire-like creature who looks perfectly human, but feeds off violent thoughts; her favorite way to hunt is to look for creeps on Tinder. Alyssa Wong's writing is beautiful, sharp, surprisingly dark. Selkie Stories Are For Losers by Sofia Samatar - 3.5 stars After Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers, this was slightly underwhelming - the characters weren't developed at all, we don't know much about them. On the other hand, I loved the writing, the atmosphere and the way many different Selkie stories were woven in. Selkie Stories Are For Losers is about family and about leaving. This one also had a f/f romance. Tornado's Siren by Brooke Bolander - 3 stars This one had an interesting premise, but I didn't like the way it was developed. It was about not settling down and chasing adventures, but it didn't do anything for me. I really liked the idea, the message and what the story was trying to do with them, but the characterization was almost nonexistent. When the writing is unremarkable (it wasn't bad by any means, it was just there) I want at least interesting characters. Left the Century to Sit Unmoved by Sarah Pinsker - 4 stars I wasn't familiar with this author, and this story surprised me. It's about a magic pond that makes people disappear, and the way it affects the people who live near it - who they lost, who they love, why they dive anyway. It's a story about change, about growing up, or disappearing. It's atmospheric and mysterious, but the ending is kind of disappointing. A Kiss With Teeth by Max Gladstone - 3.5 stars If you think vampire baseball died with Twilight, you're wrong. A Kiss With Teeth is a story about a vampire, his wife and his young son, who is struggling at school. The beginning had a lot of potential, then the story took a turn I didn't like (the main character was stalking a teacher, which I understand - vampire - but that's probably one of my least favorite aspects of vampire stories). The ending was perfect. Jackalope Wives by Ursula Vernon - 5 stars I had never read anything by Ursula Vernon before, and now I want to read more. Jackalope Wives is one of the best stories in the collection, and I loved everything about it - the Jackalope Wives, the main character, the ending. I didn't see the twist coming, and it couldn't have ended any better. It's a story about choices, consent and magical creatures. The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees by E. Lily Yu - 2.5 stars. Lovely writing, interesting premise, boring execution. It's about bees, wasps and the politics of hives (and maybe not just hives...), but it didn't work for me. The Practical Witch’s Guide to Acquiring Real Estate by A.C. Wise - 4 stars This is exactly what the title says - a guide about the relationships between witches and their homes. It was a lighter read than the previous story, but it had some creepy aspects (the part about the witch who made a home out of herself, mainly). I liked it more than I expected: it made me smile, and I loved the Baba Yaga references. The Tallest Doll in New York City by Maria Dahvana Headley - 3.25 stars I was already familiar with Maria Dahvana Headley: I've read her YA novel Magonia, and The Tallest Doll in New York City reminded me of it, but I liked this story a lot more. It's about a building who decides to walk around New York to date the Empire State Building on Valentine's Day. It was weird, which I always appreciate, and felt kind of cheesy at times, which I didn't like as much, but it was still an interesting story. The Haunting of Apollo A7LB by Hannu Rajaniemi - 3.25 stars. This is a story about grief, hauntings and black astronauts: a dead astronaut's moon suit tries to go back to the person who had sewn it, a black woman who was also the dead astronaut's girlfriend. I really liked the hopeful ending. Here Be Dragons by Chris Tarry - 1 star I had to skim this one. It's my least favorite story in the collection, and I didn't like anything about it: not the writing, not the themes, not the characters. It's about men who have to help their wives raise their children, and how that's supposedly so, so difficult. I don't know what Here Be Dragons was trying to achieve - if it wanted to subvert misogynistic fantasy tropes, it failed, as the female characters are still ignored by the story itself. The One They Took Before by Kelly Sandoval - 4.75 stars I had never heard of this author or this story before, but I liked it a lot. It's about loneliness, about trying to live a normal life after being abducted by fairies. About addiction and recovery, in a way. It was eerie and sad and well-written and... powerful. Especially that ending. Also, cats. Tiger Baby by JY Yang - 4.5 stars. JY Yang is one of my favorite authors; their Tensorate series is the best novella series I've read so far. Tiger Baby is a really unusual, interesting story. It's difficult to describe, mostly because it was so weird - it's about a woman who is convinced she is a tiger, and who is obsessed with The Tyger by Blake. It's about not feeling right in your own skin, and as usual, JY Yang's writing is beautiful. The Duck by Ben Loory - 1.5 stars I didn't like this one. The writing felt awkward, the story was cliché, and I knew what the ending was going to be the moment I started it. The Duck wouldn't have been out of place in a children's book, but it was in this anthology. Wing by Amal El-Mohtar - 4 stars. Really cute, well-written, short. I knew I loved Amal El-Mohtar's writing, and this just confirmed it. It's about a girl and a book of secrets. I didn't rate it higher just because I wanted it to be longer. The Philosophers by Adam Ehrlich Sachs - 1.5 stars Another one I didn't like. This story was actually three stories, all about families - men and their families, since there are no women here - all of them pretentious. The "fantasy" aspects were barely there, and I was bored. My Time Among the Bridge Blowers by Eugene Fischer - 2.5 stars This is both a fantasy story about a magical culture and a satire of colonialist fiction (the white/white-coded man wants to bring "fame" to a culture he doesn't know and that he sees as inferior). It had an interesting premise and worldbuilding - there are both magical creatures and people with magical powers - but I thought it was too long. The Husband Stitch by Carmen Maria Machado - 3.25 stars I had heard of Carmen Maria Machado and this short story before, and I have read many good reviews of her collection Her Body and Other Parties. Now I can say that this kind of fiction isn't for me. The writing was perfect, the symbolism too, but the story could have been half its length and it would have worked anyway. I understand the point, but when I was halfway through The Husband Stitch stopped feeling like a story and started feeling like a list of metaphors about how society is terrible to women, and how women are expected to give everything. The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn by Usman T. Malik: 3,75 stars. I really liked this one! I do think it was too long for the collection (it's a novella, not a short story), but I love multigenerational stories. The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn is about a princess, a jinn and a magical cup, and it's set both in the United States and in Pakistan. I loved the writing and the ending. I received an ARC (advanced reader copy) from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Wealhtheow

    "Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers"--Alyssa Wong. A girl feeds on the ugliest thoughts she can find. It makes her very lonely. This is a fantastic short story: there's so much imagination here, but the interpersonal and emotional dynamics feel totally realistic and familiar. "Selkie Stories are for Losers"--Sofia Samatar. A girl left behind by her selkie mother connects with a coworker. I love that this story is written about "losers stuck on the wrong side of magic." "Tornado's Si "Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers"--Alyssa Wong. A girl feeds on the ugliest thoughts she can find. It makes her very lonely. This is a fantastic short story: there's so much imagination here, but the interpersonal and emotional dynamics feel totally realistic and familiar. "Selkie Stories are for Losers"--Sofia Samatar. A girl left behind by her selkie mother connects with a coworker. I love that this story is written about "losers stuck on the wrong side of magic." "Tornado's Siren"--Brooke Bolander. A tornado falls in love with a girl. She flees it into a boring life far away, but eventually realizes she wants the excitement and strangeness it brings. Eh. "Left the Century to Sit Unmoved"--Sarah Pinsker. Kids jump into a pool that sometimes takes their lives. I just don't get why anyone jumps in the deadly pool. "A Kiss With Teeth"--Max Gladstone. Opens with a vampire who carefully coffee-stains his teeth every night in a mug with "World's Best Dad" written on it. Fantastic story about a monster and a monster hunter who are trying to be good parents to their normal kid, but fear they're losing themselves in the process. I loved the descriptions of Vlad carefully slowing his speed, pretending to breathe, pretending not to see magic... "Jackalope Wives"--Ursula Vernon. A handsome young man tries to catch a jackalope to be his wife. His grandmother picks up the pieces. I really liked his grandmother and her relationships with the various spirits of the area. This felt like a more American version of American Gods. "The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees"--E. Lily Yu. Driven out by villagers desperate for the miniature maps they make, a hive of wasps emigrates to a new land and takes the nearby bees as their servants. But anarchism is heritable in bees, and when one anarchist is accidentally created, the system will topple...This was such a weird, cool little story. "The Practical Witch's Guide to Acquiring Real Estate"--A.C. Wise. Literally a guide for witches who want to live in houses (since of course houses are living beings just like witches are, and cannot be owned). Surreal, funny, with bits of painful insight. "The Tallest Doll in New York City"--Maria Dahvana Headley. The Chrysler building comes to life on Valentine's day and asks the Empire State building to dance. Told in an exceedingly annoying 1930s slang style. "The Haunting of Apollo A7LB"--Hannu Rajaniemi. When a stolen spacesuit turns out to be haunted, only the seamstress who worked on it decades ago knows what to do. A lovely story of competence being rewarded. "Here Be Dragons"--Chris Tarry. Two peasants perfected the "slaying the dragon" con, but they've been found out. They're back in their old thatched huts again, and finding life at home difficult, unmanly, and boring. I liked the main character's pov: without being heavy handed about it you can really see the alternating selfless and selfish impulses in him. Great worldbuilding of the kind of limited resources available to peasants. The ending is just a little too poetically written--I had to reread it. "The One They Took Before"--Kelly Sandoval. Years after she was first taken to a faerie court, a musician notes the signs of another fey incursion. They tempt her to return to their immortal realm. Well told, and I like seeing all the wonder and beauty of fairies through the lens of someone who's basically in recovery from them. "Tiger Baby"--JY Yang. Felicity lives a repressive life that bores her, until finally one two many stressors catalyze her to give up on humanity and become the tiger she always wanted to be. I was annoyed by Felicity's unchallenged assumption that everyone around her is as actually boring as she pretends to be--if she's pretending to be boring, then why couldn't they also be? And I didn't get why it took Felicity so long to just seize her dream, if it was apparently so simple and easy to transform. She doesn't seem surprised at all when she does so. For my taste I wanted to either see Felicity torn between her dream of becoming a tiger and her affection for her family or parts of her human life, or have some clue as to why she stuck with humanity for so long. "The Duck"--Ben Loory. The forward describes this as "simple words and phrases seem to pile up, almost at random, until something resembling a story for (very odd) children begins to emerge." To my eye what happened was Loory wrote a few words about a duck that fell in love with a rock and then called it a day. It's a total nonentity of a story. "Wing"--Amal El-Mohtar. People keep asking a girl what she's reading. Eventually she finds someone who would rather tell her a story. The book excerpts are way too flowery for my taste, but I basically like the style otherwise. "The Philosophers"--Adam Ehrlich Sachs. Three tales of men struggling with legacies left by their fathers. Clever. "My Time Among the Bridge Blowers"--Eugene Fischer. A historian from an empire ventures into the wilderness to find a hidden tribe of "Bridge Blowers." It's probably a bit difficult to write a story about a character who thinks only he is civilized while showing the reader how wrong he is. But I've read a number of these stories over time and as interesting as the world building is here, I'd rather have had more of that than more of the ironic "lol it is you who are the savage to them" schtick. "The Husband Stitch"--Carmen Maria Machado. A woman tells her own story interspersed with bits of classic horror stories. There's this wonderful sense of unspoken danger to her very ordinary biography. "The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn"--Usman T Malik. A boy's grandfather regales him with tales of an exiled Mughal princess who ran a tea shop. After his grandfather dies, Salman finds his old journals and realizes there was far more to the story than that. He goes on a search for whatever it was that his grandfather found underneath the jinn's eucalyptus tree, and in so doing embarks upon a very weird adventure. I love all the stuff with Pakistan and Salman's memories, but to be honest I could feel myself try to skim all the bits with the jinn. In this story, jinn aren't magical beings, they're like, the beginnings of the universe and it's all metaphysical in a way I just don't connect to. So the story (novella?) is well written but not entirely to my taste.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    As long-time readers know, I have something of a love/hate relationship with fantasy. I love the genre because it is the genre of limitless possibilities—it is literature of the pure fantastic and wondrous, of unlimited potential, of unfettered creativity, lacking even the token adherence to natural laws that science fiction claims to have. I hate the genre because far too often, that unlimited potential is squandered on the same stale cliches: the child of prophecy, the epic quest, the faux-med As long-time readers know, I have something of a love/hate relationship with fantasy. I love the genre because it is the genre of limitless possibilities—it is literature of the pure fantastic and wondrous, of unlimited potential, of unfettered creativity, lacking even the token adherence to natural laws that science fiction claims to have. I hate the genre because far too often, that unlimited potential is squandered on the same stale cliches: the child of prophecy, the epic quest, the faux-medieval world, the many fantastic species defined by a single homogeneous culture and/or silly accent, all of it wrapped up in a trilogy of, err, seven books. For a genre where anything is possible, is this really all there is? Luckily, the genre is more than the admittedly hyperbolic generalization I’ve made above. There’s a lot of innovative work being done in fantasy today, works that break the mold and think far outside the box, injecting wondrous new worlds and insightful ideas into the genre. The New Voices of Fantasy collects stories by nineteen up-and-coming authors, the writers on the cutting-edge of fantasy today and verging on shaping its future. Peter S. Beagle’s previous anthology, The Secret History of Fantasy (also Tachyon, 2010), sought out stories that transcended or rejected all those hoary old tropes and contrivances; New Voices looks to continue the theme, only from the perspective of up-and-comers. Many of these stories do not have the kind of plot that comes to mind when you think of “fantasy,” but they are quintessential fantasy nonetheless. “Tornado’s Siren” is a beautiful and surreal tale of a woman stalked by the weather, as she realizes that a certain cloud formation has a crush on her. “The Cartographer Wasps and Anarchist Bees” follows a hive of imperialist wasps that enslaves a local bee hive, creating a power struggle when some of the bees mutate, their monarchical hive-mind replaced with anarcho-communistic beliefs. “The Tallest Doll in New York City” is a love story between skyscrapers that shamble off their foundations and stroll across 1930s New York. Other tales subvert established tropes, offering new looks at concepts we’ve already seen before. Max Gladstone’s “A Kiss with Teeth” flips the standard vampire story in that its vampire fell in love with his hunter; a decade later, they’ve settled into a normal married life and are trying to raise their seven-year-old son. The vampire’s resolve is tested when he’s tempted by his son’s pretty teacher, and with the lure of her blood he starts slipping back into his monstrous ways. “Here Be Dragons” takes a look at the dragon-slayer theme, where two men who once scammed villages by slaying imaginary dragons find themselves out of a job and forced to adapt to domestic life. The excellent “Jackalope Wives” is a haunting but beautiful take on the selkie story, where a lustful young man tries to steal a jackalope woman’s skin but screws up, leaving her trapped halfway between mortal and magic. Even though they were not my favorites in the collection, I’m drawn to Wise’s “Practical Witch’s Guide to Acquiring Real Estate” and Sachs’ “The Philosophers” because those stories have such non-conventional formats. Wise’s is indeed a guide for newcomer witches, an overview of the trials and tribulations that must be overcome to find and bond a magical house. Sachs’ entry is actually a trio of stories, each one super short but not quite in flash fiction territory. All three have similar themes, dealing with father-son dynamics and the philosophy of becoming something—becoming your destiny, becoming your expectations, becoming your father. I did think it was trying too hard to be profound, but the mini-story style and sense of humor made it stand out. Some of the best stories are saved for near the end of the collection. Amal El-Mohtar’s “Wing” is an ephemeral story of soul-mates and finding the person who truly understands you, when a girl with a book around her neck meets the boy who may be the only one to ever read it. Mohtar just won a Hugo this year, and I can see why: her writing here is beautiful, rich in imagery and atmosphere and (most importantly) feeling. “The Husband Stitch” by Carmen Maria Machado deals with another type of love, where a woman with a strange ribbon around her neck gives everything to her husband and then her child, but her husband’s fascination with her ribbon may push too far and unravel dark secrets. It’s a brilliant take on an old urban-legend, a savvy and beautiful horror story, one with a heavy feminist slant ripe for interpretation along with a heavy dose of metafictional elements and explicit sexually-charged imagery. Both of these are powerful stories, two of my favorites by a long shot. The quality of the stories in New Voices of Fantasy is undeniably high; if these are fantasy’s future influences, then the genre is in more than capable hands. These stories present fantasy that fulfills the genre’s promise and ambition, combining wondrous ideas, ingenious high concepts, and quality prose. Most of all, I’m glad that the stories are presented as “fantasy” instead of taking these wide-ranging, diverse, and creative stories and slapping the “new weird” label on them. Overall it’s a collection I ended up greatly enjoying and would give it a hearty recommendation, not surprising given the pedigree of its authors and editors. I’ve added several promising authors to my to-read list based on their stories here, and I look forward to reading them.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Roxana Chirilă

    I usually enjoy short story anthologies - you get a collection of all sorts of things, some better, some less good. I often compare them to finding a chest full of stuff in the attic and being excited to discover trinkets and gems and stuff that kind of sucks, but you can't have it all in life. Well. This chest felt a bit like a dud, even though it started off exciting. I see a few other reviewers say the "new" in the title is a bit deceiving, because this is a book publish I usually enjoy short story anthologies - you get a collection of all sorts of things, some better, some less good. I often compare them to finding a chest full of stuff in the attic and being excited to discover trinkets and gems and stuff that kind of sucks, but you can't have it all in life. Well. This chest felt a bit like a dud, even though it started off exciting. I see a few other reviewers say the "new" in the title is a bit deceiving, because this is a book published in 2017 which contains stories published 2014 and 2015 - this issue didn't bother me, really. I've read Homer and Dickens and H.G. Wells, and Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Ursula K. LeGuin, so I think a "new voice" can belong to anyone who started publishing in the past decade or so. No, what bothered me was that these stories... lacked luster? Felt tame? Felt strangely similar in their approach, even if they were very different? For some time, I couldn't put my finger on it, but the collection made me feel a bit bored overall, even if I enjoyed some of the stories. I don't usually review on a story-by-story basis, but I'm on vacation, so I did just that. And after thinking of each of them in turn, I realized what it was that bothered me: a number of these stories have Points. And by that, I mean that they have one thing they want to say, and tend to focus on that. You might read about ducks, or ribbons around one's neck, or old philosophers, but there isn't a lot of magic there. Many of the stories aren't so much stories, as they're allegories, which takes away from the richness they might have otherwise held. Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers by Alyssa Wong I really enjoyed this one. When I started reading this book, it struck me with its grittiness and its innovative imagery - a sort of vampire who feeds off people's souls enjoys eating petty criminals, to feel the taste of their vileness. But when she discovers a murderer, she becomes addicted. It's so well-written that I didn't mind reading it twice. And I read it twice because... Selkie Stories are for Losers by Sofia Samatar As this book informed me, Sofia Samatar wrote "A Stranger in Olondria", a novel which I'd started reading on my Kindle and hadn't finished yet. Remembering the novel, I went and finished that one first and ended up loving it in a strange way, before returning to this story collection (and re-reading the first story). However, while I really enjoyed Samatar's novel, this story didn't really touch me. It's interesting, but I didn't feel it too deeply. Tornado’s Siren by Brooke Bolander A tornado falls in love with a girl. The girl rejects the tornado. Later on, she decides she misses the tornado. If this were about a boy and a girl, there would be nothing special here, so it felt like a one-trick story without much to offer beyond the gimmick. Left the Century to Sit Unmoved by Sarah Pinsker There's a pond which sometimes makes people who jump into it vanish without a trace. But people keep jumping into it anyway. It's an interesting story, well-written, pondering, psychologically intriguing. A Kiss with Teeth by Max Gladstone Vlad the Impaler, a vampire, is now married and has a child. He's trying to pretend he's normal, so he moves slowly, he acts slowly, he acts normal. It's somewhat fun, but it's the same old, same old "we're a married couple in a bit of relationship trouble, and there's some trouble with the son, and there's another woman on the horizon" thing. I'm a bit bored of that. Jackalope Wives by Ursula Vernon To me, this was the best story in the volume. Do you know those fairy tales, in which men fall in love with otherworldly women who turn into animals, so they hide the women's skins, who are now unable to shapeshift? And then those women marry them? Well, this is a take on that. A young man falls in love with a jackalope (a cross between a jackrabbit and an antelope), and decides to take her skin away and burn it - and she probably wants to be with him, too. However, he botches things up badly, ending up with a half-animal, half-human woman, and he takes her to his grandmother, begging her to fix everything, and running away from responsibility. The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees by E. Lily Yu This is a story that's probably about some sort of real-world politics, but I'm not entirely sure what it's supposed to be. Anyway, the wasps are determined, imperialistic, ruthless bastards, and bees are an old-style, hierarchical community. When the latter are conquered by the wasps, they start taking on their new masters' culture, but botch it at all up. The Practical Witch’s Guide to Acquiring Real Estate by A. C. Wise This is exactly what it says in the title. It's cute, but nothing special. The Tallest Doll in New York City by Maria Dahvana Headley It's Valentine's Day and some buildings in New York are falling in love and taking strolls together. It's an... interesting... story, I guess, but it felt just odd to me. Especially the bit about two buildings having sex, unless I misread that. The Haunting of Apollo A7LB by Hannu Rajaniemi A haunted astronaut suit comes to visit the woman who made it - probably because the astronaut had been in desperate love with her, even if they ended up marrying different people, since he was white and she was black. I keep hearing Hannu Rajaniemi is unreadable, but this story was quite nice (and readable), and cute. Here Be Dragons by Chris Tarry Two men have a thing going on: they pretend to be dragon slayers. They go into town, create a fake dragon attack, then rescue the town from the dragon and collect a large and comfortable fee for it. The main character was the "knight" of the tale, and his partner was the mechanical genius who invented all sorts of crazy fake dragon stuff to fool villagers. Alas, they got found out and their "business" failed. So they went back home to their wives and their children. The main character came to enjoy being a father, but didn't want to let it show, while the mechanical genius just hated everything about it. The story was interesting, but, like many others in this collection, it didn't quite do it for me. There was something missing. The One They Took Before by Kelly Sandoval She was taken by the fairies in order to sing for them, and she hated it. Now that she was allowed to leave them, she longs for their world again, trapped between two worlds, and no longer quite sane. Tiger Baby by JY Yang A woman dreams about being a tiger - and she *knows* she's one deep inside. But maybe she's wrong. The Duck by Ben Loory A duck fell in love with a rock. A lady-duck helped him out. This felt like it should have a moral attached at the end, because it's explicit enough in its lesson. Wing by Amal El-Mohtar Another story that feels like it should have a moral attached at the end, because the lesson was explicit. A young woman has a tiny book of secrets around her neck and she waits until the right man with a book of secrets around his neck comes along to open it. The Philosophers by Adam Ehrlich Sachs Three absurdist stories about fathers and sons, exploring the paternal relationship in an allegorical fashion. My Time Among the Bridge Blowers by Eugene Fischer A very boring story about a man who travels to a village of air mages. It's advertised as doing the Victorian Style Thing, but somehow it feels fake, as if it were written by someone who doesn't really enjoy Victorian fiction at all. Or maybe I'm wrong and I had this feeling because I was mostly bored. The Husband Stitch by Carmen Maria Machado This is a story intertwined with urban legends and commentary on people's expectations from women. It felt a bit didactic in the latter endeavor (are you trying to educate me about women's feelings, story?), but the urban legends thing worked quite well. The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn by Usman T. Malik The longest story of the bunch (a full quarter of the book!), but more interesting than most. A grandfather tells his grandson a story about a pauper princess who sold tea in a stall in a land far, far away. A few years after that, when the grandfather dies, the grandson discovers that the princess might be his grandmother, and there might be a huge secret his grandfather had hidden from him, so he travels to the old land to discover it. And it's quite magical.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    While a few of these have popped up in other places - Tor's free stories featured at least a couple of the stories found here - having them collected all in one place really does showcase some excellent writing and imagination. The standouts for me were A Kiss With Teeth and Jackalope Wives, both of which I've reviewed elsewhere. Both were completely original, and striking in the absolutely gorgeous emotion they managed to evoke. It's also a well-balanced book as far as rep While a few of these have popped up in other places - Tor's free stories featured at least a couple of the stories found here - having them collected all in one place really does showcase some excellent writing and imagination. The standouts for me were A Kiss With Teeth and Jackalope Wives, both of which I've reviewed elsewhere. Both were completely original, and striking in the absolutely gorgeous emotion they managed to evoke. It's also a well-balanced book as far as representation of female or otherwise "diverse" authors go; and it never felt like there was a secret checklist they were working to fulfill. All round definitely one to keep on the bookshelves and recommend as many times as possible.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mir

    The best couple stories here ("Selkie Stories are for Losers" and "Jackalope Wives") I'd already read elsewhere but overall a strong collection of stories. Of authors I hadn't read previously the most interesting was Sandoval's "The One They Took Before". I also liked Wise's writing style, although it wasn't a story per se and there was one section (Breeding) where I wasn't sure what they allegory was.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kavya

    I received this copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review A collection to highlight upcoming voices in fantasy. I know a lot of these authors from being a fan of some of these authors. They all write in what could be considered a new era of fantasy, one that tries to push the boundaries of the already fantastical. A couple of these stories I'd read before and loved. I enjoyed quite a lot of them, although I am not sure a few are fantasy as much as about human nature, and some are o I received this copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review A collection to highlight upcoming voices in fantasy. I know a lot of these authors from being a fan of some of these authors. They all write in what could be considered a new era of fantasy, one that tries to push the boundaries of the already fantastical. A couple of these stories I'd read before and loved. I enjoyed quite a lot of them, although I am not sure a few are fantasy as much as about human nature, and some are on the border of speculative, scifi and fantasy, which I'm not too much of a stickler to care about. Individual story reviews below. My favorites were Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers, Tornado's Siren, Left the Century to Sit Unmoved, A kiss with Teeth, Jackalope Wives, The Tallest Doll in New York City, The One they took before, The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn. Overall, a great collection that encapsulates the breadth of what is being done with fantasy in today's publishing. Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers by Alyssa Wong is one of the best stories in the collection, an extraordinary idea written well, a protagonist who can see, and likes to eat, the dirty/evil thoughts of others. Selkie Stories are for Losers by Sofia Samatar I didn't like this much, mostly because I tend to sympathize with Selkie's and hope for their escape, whereas this protagonist holds a grudge against her mother for doing so. Tornado's Siren by Brooke Bolander I'm still marveling at how well this worked. A Tornado fall in love with a girl. Just the kind of strange idea is perfect in short fiction. Left the Century to sit unmoved by Sarah Pinsker - I loved this one. About a pond that occasionally takes people who dive into it, a missing brother, and why we risk things. A Kiss with Teeth by Max Gladstone - It's no secret that I love everything Max writes. I've read this one before, a tale about Dracula, the seven year itch, and being true to yourself. Jackalope Wives by Ursula Vernon. So So good. Reminded me of Pocosin, another story by her, since they both have grandmothers.Old powers, myths and sense. The Cartographer Wasps and The Anarchist Bees by E. Lily Yu. Really well written, but I felt like I missed the point of this. Story as per title, about Cartographer Wasps that colonize a beehive. The Practical Witch's Guide to Acquiring Real Estate by A.C. Wise. Written like an actual guide. Cute but forgettable. The Tallest Doll in New York Cityby Maria Dahvana Headley. 1920's voice, story about how the Chrysler building decides to confront her crush on Valentine's day. Brilliant, fanciful, I'm now in love with Maria Dahvana Headely's writing. The Haunting of Apollo A7LB by Hannu Rajaniemi. A smalls story about a haunted spacesuit and its maker. Here be Dragonsby Chris Tarry. I actually really liked this one. Biting examination of male toxicity and fatherhood through the tale of two con men who pose as dragon hunters. The one they took before I haven't read enough fae stories to be bored by them yet. A fascinating short story of the signs of fae taking people in urban landscape. by JY Yang. Well written, but I couldn't sympathize with the protagonist, who believe's she is a tiger, not a person. The Duckby Ben Loory. A cute little fable about love. Wing by Amal El-Mohtar. Prettily written, but I feel like I missed the point again. About books and secrets and meeting a person to share them with. The Philosophers by Adam Ehrlich Sachs. A set of 3 stories, and I didn't think they were fantasy at all, except for the last which was more scifi by association. All examining the father son relationship. My time among the bridge blowers by Eugene Fischer. Written well and imagined, but felt a little lacking of a point. Literally a small travelogue by a man wanting to study the bridge blowers, a hidden community that can suspend themselves in air by blowing. The Husband Stitch by Carmen Maria Machado. A creepy body horror story. Immersive, but not my kind of thing. The Pauper Prince and Eucalyptus Jinn by Usman T. Malik. Read last year and considered as one of the best short stories I have read. Its a gorgeously written story set in our time, about a family secret, art, and a creation myth. It leaves you in awe.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Rose

    Thanks to Netgalley for the Arc! This collection of short stories from relative newcomers in the fantasy field is a great introduction to some very talented new authors, only one of which I'd read anything from before. All of the stories, as the title of the collection would suggest, are fantasy. However, the vast majority of the stories are set in the modern day, with little in the way of classic sword and sorcery. There's also a lot of speculative fantasy and stories verging on the Thanks to Netgalley for the Arc! This collection of short stories from relative newcomers in the fantasy field is a great introduction to some very talented new authors, only one of which I'd read anything from before. All of the stories, as the title of the collection would suggest, are fantasy. However, the vast majority of the stories are set in the modern day, with little in the way of classic sword and sorcery. There's also a lot of speculative fantasy and stories verging on the horror genre. Regardless of the similarities in genre, however, all of the stories are original and enjoyable, written and edited well. Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers Alyssa Wong The first story in the collection had me instantly engrossed, introducing us to a woman who uses tinder for something other than casual hookups. This story is dark, creepy, and more than a little gross, with some interesting characters and imaginative writing. Selkie Stories are for Losers Sofia Samatar Based on the selkie legends - seals that can shed their skins to become human - this story has some sympathetic characters but was a little vague and lacking in magic for me. However, stories within a story are something I always enjoy thanks to my incredibly short attention span, so it kept me reading up until its conclusion. Tornado's Siren Brooke Bolander Brooke Bolander was the only author whose work I had read previously (And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead) - which I loved, so I was super excited for this one. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed by this one. It was whimsical and open ended, things which I enjoy, but I was hoping for a little more substance and grit from Brooke. Left the Century to Sit Unmoved Sarah Pinkser This story was a little creepy, about a woman obsessed with jumping into a lake which sometimes appears to swallow the jumper. A list of rules for the lake provided towards the beginning of the story filled me with anticipation: 2. No skinny dipping, so your friends will know if you were taken or if you just drowned. (Clothes don't get taken.) A Kiss with Teeth Max Gladstone This was probably my favourite of the entire collection, imagining Vlad the Impaler/Dracula as a married man in modern day New York. We are treated to how he adapted to his new life with his terribly badass lady love and his young child, who is having some trouble in school. I'm a fan of Dracula anyway, but I enjoyed the breath of fresh air this imagining gave him. Jackalope Wives Ursula Vernon Vernon is clearly a very talented author and here weaves a wonderfully moral folk tale style story about a grandmother who has to deal with her foolish grandson's mistake of trying to catch himself a Jackalope wife. The less said the better about this one - rest assured, it's beautiful and surprising and original. The Cartographer Wasps and Anarchist Bees E. Lily Yu I loved the fantasy of this short; a sad, politically charged story about wasps and bees who make incredibly intricate maps within their nests while exploring the world around them. It's ruthless and the writing is beautifully rich with wonderful imagery. The Practical Witch's Guide to Buying Real Estate A.C. Wise This one I found a little disappointing, but it was a nice break from a collection which is otherwise fairly serious. It's exactly what it sounds like - a guide to real estate for witches, with many humorous anecdotes and fun ideas. The Tallest Doll in New York City Maria Dahvana Headley Probably one of the most original stories in the collection, The Tallest Doll is set on Valentines Day, when the Chrysler Building decides to go on a date with the Empire State Building. It's sweet and utterly unique, a nice little romance. The Haunting of Apollo A7LB Hannu Rajaniemi About a supposedly haunted moon suit who turns up at the house of the woman who helped sew it, this story is a sweet commentary on romance with some commentary on race and class. Enjoyable. Here Be Dragons Chris Tarry This was probably my least favourite story in the collection, which was a little surprising because it's also one of the only stories not set in the modern day, and I'm a big fan of medieval fantasy. However, the reason I didn't enjoy it is not because of the story or setting, it's because I found the characters so horrendously unlikeable that I simply did not want to spend a spare moment with them. The One They Took Before Kelly Sandoval A young woman is driven to look for ads and listings regarding rifts in the universe, faerie queens, and missing persons, fighting the urge to follow them up. I wholly enjoyed this strange story about this person's foray into the fae realm, and loved the strange, ambiguous hints interspersed throughout. Tiger Baby JY Yang A short story about a woman who believes she is a tiger, I was totally into this one up until the very end, but may be alone in that. The Duck Ben Loory I adored this very short and sweet fable about a duck that falls in love with a rock. Yes, really. Wing Amal El-Mohtar This one is even shorter than The Duck, and written very, very beautifully and sincerely. It's a quiet story about love, soul mates, and secrets, and has convinced me to look for more by El-Mohtar. The Philosophers Adam Erlich Sachs Another favourite of mine in this collection, The Philosophers is actually 3 short stories about fathers and sons, each with just my kind of dry, Neil Gaiman-esque humour. My Time Amongst the Bridge Blowers Eugene Fisher Honestly, I skimmed through this one a little. It follows a scholar who meets a strange village tribe with incredible abilities in the mountains. The writing was a little stuffy and slow for my liking, reminding me of Jonathan's diary entries in Dracula. Not for me, unfortunately. The Husband Stitch Carmen Maria Machado I wondered where this one was going for a little while, but it had me hooked with its wonderful, flowing prose so instantly that I didn't care. A wonderfully feminist story about a young woman with a ribbon around her neck which she forbids her husband to touch. Even the more ordinary aspects of this story were written with such easy readability and such a quiet yet relentless note of tension that I couldn't put it down. The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn Usman T Malik The last, and the longest story in the collection, this is a fun, twisty story about a young Pakistani man who tries to discover the secrets of his late grandfather. It's a fun story with a beautiful ending, worth the word count.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Artur Nowrot

    I believe this is the way to start one of those, so: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. (Wow, that feels good to write). This is not fantasy in the sense of “imaginary adventures in secondary worlds”. This is fantasy in the broader sense of “writing about impossible things”. A lot of the stories in the collection take place in the real world and combine pressing personal/social issues with strange, fantastic occu/>I I believe this is the way to start one of those, so: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. (Wow, that feels good to write). This is not fantasy in the sense of “imaginary adventures in secondary worlds”. This is fantasy in the broader sense of “writing about impossible things”. A lot of the stories in the collection take place in the real world and combine pressing personal/social issues with strange, fantastic occurences. At worst, they are brief flights of fancy or allegories where you think “oh, right, X stands for Y” – but that’s only a handful. At best, they create complex knots of meaning that cannot be reduced to a simple moral, ones that you’ll be able to tease out over many evenings, while feeling them instantaneously on a gut level. The anthology as a whole goes to the very limits of what fantasy can do. A lot of the stories are award-nominated or -winning, so I feel they merit going through one by one. Here’s what I thought about all of them. Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers, by Alyssa Wong – a vampire story with a twist: the protagonist feeds on dark, violent impulses and thoughts. She swallows the darkness, but the darkness threatens to swallow her when she feeds on thoughts of a killer. I loved her complexity: she is broken and flawed, and pushes people away, but we learn a lot about what made her be that way. The story has great wordlbuilding, slowly opening to show us a glimpse of a whole society of people (beings?) that are like the main character. With all the darkness, the story never loses its humanity: it’s a very touching tale about the struggle to allow yourself to be loved. Selkie Stories are for Losers, by Sofia Samatar – this story shares a few elements with the previous one: it is also about the relationship between mothers and daughters, about stuff that screws you up. The protagonist embarks (tentatively) on a new relationship, all the while remembering how her mother, a selkie, abandoned her. The narrative is quite fragmented, woven through with different stories about selkies and the narrator’s thoughts and responses to them – the result is aching, urgent and full of longing and resentment. As much as you wish the protagonist could be healed, you fully understand why she won’t, at least not any time soon. A sweet and quietly heartbreaking story. Tornado's Siren, by Brooke Bolander – a tornado falls in love with a girl. At first she runs, trying throughout the years to lead a “normal” life, not even realizing how stiffling it is for her. The main idea feels a bit like a clever spin on The Wizard of Oz, and it’s a fascinating concept, but the story suffers in comparison to the previous two stories, as it’s not nearly as complex. And the message ends up being very simple as well: don’t be afraid to lead a different life. Left the Century to Sit Unmoved, by Sarah Pinsker – there is a pond outside the town. When people jump in, sometimes it swallows them and they never return. People jump in anyway. Much like that pond, the story is simple and unassuming on the outside, but quietly opens onto vast reservoirs of emotion. Accepting loss, feeling young and on the cusp of growing up, being alive. Rather than telling you about all those things, the story makes you feel them, with all of their enormity. One of the best stories in the collection for me, thanks to its sheer evocative power. A Kiss With Teeth, by Max Gladstone – a vampire leads a quiet, suburban life with his wife (former vampire hunter) and son. He’s feeling dissatisfied with his life, but tries to contain those feelings. Then, when his son struggles at school, he meets one of his teachers and starts to get the cravings. Much as I like the portrait of marriage this story presents in general, the resolution to the protagonist’s issues, and the whole concept of suburban vampire, the relationship between the real-life issues the story portrays and the fantasy elements is quite simple, so this one is not as good as the more thorny and complex stories mentioned earlier. Jackalope Wives, by Ursula Vernon – the jackalope wives take off their skins and, as beautiful women, dance in the night. A young man tries to steal and destroy the skin of one of them – with disastrous results. Grandma Harken – a brusque, no-nonsense figure – takes it upon herself to fix the resulting mess. The story is steeped in American folklore, at times feeling not unlike American Gods, but deeper, more mysterious. Like it was part of folklore itself, rather than just a post-modern variation on it. Very good and very touching. The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees, by E. Lily Yu – a story of political turmoil, imperialism and striving towards a utopia. And yes, it really is about wasps and bees. This again feels like a more complex story, without easy correspondences – this is not Animal Farm – but with a lot to say about how the seeds of change might be sown, even when its initiators perish in the process. A tale as glorious as the revolution. The Practical Witch's Guide to Acquiring Real Estate, by A.C. Wise – exactly what it says on the tin, and not much more. There are several tiny tales, or anecdotes, embedded inside, and I wish there were more of them, because they demonstrate what could have been done with the premise. Other than that, I don’t have much to say about this one. The Tallest Doll in New York, by Maria Dahvana Headley – on Valentine’s Day, the buildings come alive. This is a sweet, charming story, where everything works as it should. A nice, satisfying breather after the first half of the collection. The Haunting of Apollo A7LB, by Hannu Rajaniemi – by turns funny and quite touching, this is a story of a haunted space suit that comes to visit a person important to both it and the person who once occupied it. I like the light infusion of racial politics that helped to deepen the story a little. Here Be Dragons, by Chris Tarry – two wandering conmen pretending to save towns from dragons of their own making return to their families and struggle with settling down. As much as I like stories that deal with masculinity (because it is in crisis and we – by which I mean men, who much too often try to put that burden on the shoulders of feminists as a way of impeding the struggle for women’s rights – should be analyzing it and proposing ways out), this was a bit challenging for me to read, because I like stories where people do manage to change and adapt and become better. This story, while it did a very good job with portraying the narrator’s struggles with his new role as stay-at-home father and homemaker, as well as the temptations that his old lifestyle offered, did not give me that. The One They Took Before, by Kelly Sandoval – a woman thrown out of Faerie browses Craigslist in search of hints of their presence. This is an affecting story of loss, trauma and addiction. In that last respect it bears passing similarities to Here Be Dragons, while the emotional tone was more like Selkie Stories are for Losers. The contrast between the subtle, wondrous magic of faeries and the mundane realities of internet advertisements worked well, and the portrayal of the protagonist’s struggle no to give in to the allure of her past was very affecting. Tiger Baby, by JY Yang – a young woman working a boring job dreams of being a tiger. Loved the quotes from Blake’s The Tyger woven into the narrative, as well as the evocation of the protagonist’s feelings of disaffectedness and disconnect from her job and family life – as much as I thought the text looks down a little on those who adapt and somehow push on through the dreary realities of life, I felt on a visceral level the main character’s desire to escape in a way that I didn’t in Tornado’s Siren. The ending was surprising and funny, with the protagonist’s wishes coming true, although not quite in the way she expected them to. The Duck, by Ben Loory – a duck falls in love with a rock. This is a very short story, written in a children’s-book style (and with a similarly simple message) that throws enough weirdness and even genuine pathos into the mix that it doesn’t outstay its welcome, even though it really is quite simple in the end. Wings, by Amal El-Mohtar – this is Amal El-Mohtar, so of course it’s poetic and extremely well-written, but it didn’t speak to me at all. It seems to me that it was about fleeting moments of instantaneous connection, when the right person (not necessarily in the romantic sense) comes along and you instantly click, but it was too impersonal. We never learned anything about the main character – maybe that was part of the point, as she only ever told her secrets to one person, but in that case, well – I’m not going to feel guilty for not connecting with her. I tried. The Philosophers, by Adam Ehrlich Sachs – three very short stories about fathers and sons, and philosophers. I love, love, love this sort of thing, which brings to my mind short pieces of Calvino and Borges. In this instance, they are all very well executed, slightly absurdist parables that illuminate some aspects of the themes of the whole, but defy succinct interpretation. My favourite of the three was The Madman’s Time Machine, which plays with the Grandfather Paradox in a very interesting way. My Time Among the Bridge Blowers, by Eugene Fischer – a pointed satire on “benevolent” colonialism, written as a diary from an expedition a man undertakes to a remote mountain village of the titular Bridge Blowers. He is generally a good person and quite oblivious to the problems of his attitude, and the narrative does a stellar job of portraying the dissonance between how he sees himself and his actions and how he comes across to the villagers. A quietly funny story with a lot to say. The Husband Stitch, by Carmen Maria Machado – a woman with a ribbon that she never takes off her neck (if you’re into urban legends, you probably know what’s up with that) tells a story of her marriage. A wonderful, sex-positive, bittersweet and scary story that excels at portraying the small horrors of patriarchy, where men (even, as the story explicitly points out, and it’s that insight that makes it brilliant and absolutely soul-shattering, good men) feel entitled to the entirety of a woman’s body and soul. The Husband Stitch was thoughtful and excellently written, and now I am very happy that I have Carmen Maria Machado’s short story collection on pre-order. Also, men should be forcibly made to read that story (and, I don’t know, write a 3,000-word essay on it to demonstrate they understood). The Pauper Prince and the Eucaliptus Jinn, by Usman T. Malik – a grandfather tells his grandson a story that launches the latter on a search for his legacy and, possibly, the key to metaphysics. This story introduces a huge imbalance into the collection (at over 20,000 words it takes up a quarter of the whole book and qualifies more as a novella than a short story), but I get why the editors wanted to put it in the book. The main character’s (a Pakistani American) struggles with his identity are portrayed in a very affecting way, and the story successfully mixes his personal quest to get to know his family history with the fate of a much larger (though largely unseen *wink wink*) part of the world. Reminiscent of Gaiman and G. Willow Wilson, but very good in its own right. In short: this is 100% the sort of anthology that you would expect Peter S. Beagle to put together. If you know and love his writing, read it. If you want to broaden your understanding of what fantasy can do, read it. PS. An overwhelming majority of the stories gathered here have been published first in online magazines. That tells you a lot about where to find the best speculative fiction nowadays, I think.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gray

    Short-story collections can often be a mixed bag of good stories as well as not so good ones. After reading The New Voices of Fantasy, I can say that every story in here is worth reading if you have an interest in fantasy or modern fairy tales. Peter S. Beagle is an author I really admire, so seeing his name attached as one of the editors drew me to this volume. I’ve highlighted the stories that stood out the most for me and would love to hear which stories you enjoyed or didn’t enjoy. “Hungry Daughte/>“Hungry Short-story collections can often be a mixed bag of good stories as well as not so good ones. After reading The New Voices of Fantasy, I can say that every story in here is worth reading if you have an interest in fantasy or modern fairy tales. Peter S. Beagle is an author I really admire, so seeing his name attached as one of the editors drew me to this volume. I’ve highlighted the stories that stood out the most for me and would love to hear which stories you enjoyed or didn’t enjoy. “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” by Alyssa Wong I’d read this one before. I bought the “Queers Destroy Horror Special” edition of Nightmare magazine just to read this story because I’d heard how good it was. It’s a modern re-imagining of a vampire story which pulses with sexuality and horror, while also commenting on dating in the modern era. A brilliant, dark and humorous story with prose to die for. This is one of my favourites. “Selkie Stories are for Losers” by Sofia Samatar A selkie is a mythical creature that lives as a seal in the sea but sheds its skin and becomes human when it leaves the water. This is a story about loss and how we cope with it. The narrator does tell a few selkie stories and they are intriguing as well as tinged with sadness. I enjoyed the frank, easy style of the writing which creates a believable narrative voice. Recommended. “A Kiss with Teeth” by Max Gladstone What would happen if a vampire settled down with his hunter and they strived to make a “normal” life together? This modern vampire tale is so good that it led me to seek out and purchase author Max Gladstone’s ‘Three Parts Dead’, the first novel in his highly-rated ‘Craft Sequence’. “Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon This is another terrific story which features skin-changers called “jackalopes” and a young man determined to catch one. How he goes about this is captured brilliantly by the author resulting in a truly harrowing scene. The story contains a great character in Grandma Harken who reminded me of Terry Pratchett’s wonderful creation Granny Weatherwax. I’m looking out for more by Ursula Vernon. “The One They Took Before” by Kelly Sandoval Kayla is released from the Twilight Land but struggles to readapt to ordinary, mortal life. She is tempted by the fae to return to faerie and finds herself considering it, despite what happened before. There’s a real sense of longing for the forbidden as well as a desire to recapture what has been lost. Sandoval varies the style from simple narration to brief, beautiful descriptions to help contrast the mundane with the fantastic. “The Husband Stitch” by Carmen Maria Machado Wow! This is a mesmerizing story that deserves to be read more than once. It is in equal parts fascinating, unsettling, arousing, and terrifying. It tells the story of a young woman who wears a green ribbon around her neck and how her life unfolds after she meets her future-husband. It is a tale about trust, desire, love, and marriage told in the style of the best fairy tales. In my opinion, The New Voices of Fantasy is a very fine collection of short stories. It has introduced me to some new authors, which is no doubt one of the goals of such story collections. Looking at the reviews of this book on Goodreads I have read some rather harsh, negative critiques among the majority of positive ones. Rather than criticizing the quality of the writing, the main complaint seems to be that some of these stories are not “Fantasy-enough”. I’m not sure what that means and have no desire to start debating about definitions of genres. A lot of these stories focus on families and familial relationships, which gives them something we can all relate to. They may be fantastic tales, but they almost always contain things which are familiar to us. I think this gives the collection more of a modern fairy-tale or folk-tale atmosphere, so perhaps this is what those “where’s-the-fantasy?” critics meant. Nevertheless, I found much to enjoy in The New Voices of Fantasy and recommend it to readers seeking an entertaining volume of fantastic stories from the last seven years! Originally reviewed on my blog: https://biginjapangrayman.wordpress.c...

  25. 4 out of 5

    R.S. McCoy

    Sometimes as a reader, I feel way behind. There are simply too many books and too few of me! My Instagram is full of gorgeous pictures of books I'm dying to read and can't get to. Hell, I didn't even start The Raven Cycle until The Raven King was already published!  So last month, book shopping for an upcoming cruise, I was stoked to find this little gem: The New Voices of Fantasy edited by Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman. Now, I'm not much of a short story reader (I tend to prefer Sometimes as a reader, I feel way behind. There are simply too many books and too few of me! My Instagram is full of gorgeous pictures of books I'm dying to read and can't get to. Hell, I didn't even start The Raven Cycle until The Raven King was already published!  So last month, book shopping for an upcoming cruise, I was stoked to find this little gem: The New Voices of Fantasy edited by Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman. Now, I'm not much of a short story reader (I tend to prefer trilogies and longer series), but if you're going to branch out you might as well go all the way, right? (Side note: This cover is super stunning and I love, love, love this alien leaf girl and I want a poster to put in my room!) The New Voices of Fantasy is my attempt to get ahead of the fantasy genre and see who are the up-and-coming names. While the editors do a great job of indicating which authors won which awards (of which there are many), I had honestly not heard of a single author in the collection before cracking it open. I call that a win! As a contributor to several anthologies and collections myself, I always appreciate a review that will itemize each story and tell readers (and authors) which stories worked and why. So here it goes! 1. Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers by Alyssa Wong This was my favorite story in the collection, no joke. It tells the story of a woman who can see negative thoughts and personality flaws like living creatures that hover over the heads of everyone she meets. But not only can she see the darkness and corruption of others, she feeds on it. She even keeps it all in jars! The imagery of this piece was stunning and the writing was so delicious. Definitely a winner! Rating: 10/10 2. Selkie Stories Are for Losers by Sofia Samatar I didn't quite get this one. It's a few dozen or so smaller segments that seem to fit into a larger fabric that I didn't fully grasp. Just as I thought I might be starting to catch on, it was over! I did really like the idea of the Selkie, a seal that wears human skin and eventually returns to the ocean. That was a new-to-me lore that I was really interested in learning about, though I wish the story had explored them a little more. Rating: 4/10 3. Tornado's Siren by Brooke Bolander What could be cooler than a tornado that loves a woman? This is the unique story of a woman who finds herself the object of affection of a recurring tornado. It compares the white picket fence life to something more unorthodox. I really admired the way Rhea thought about her life and made decisions. She was very relatable and I loved the overall story.  Rating: 8/10 4. Left the Century to Sit Unmoved by Sarah Pinsker The title of this one throws me off and is probably my least favorite thing about this story. It's about this local pond that kids jump into and every once in a while, someone vanishes. Now kids jump in as a sort of dare or to prove themselves or some other reason. In fact, at it's root, the story examines why people go in and what it means to them when they come up again. A really interesting piece.  Rating: 7/10 5. A Kiss with Teeth by Max Gladstone This was my second favorite piece in the collection. Vlad (assumed to be the Vlad) is a modern day vampire struggling to keep his identity a secret for the sake of his son. However, after years of marriage to a once-exciting woman, Vlad feels the itch for some interest and intrigue in his life, and targets his son's teacher. I found this piece to be a really fun and interesting examination of how people change over time and how marriages really work. And there was a twist on the usual vampire tale and that's always a plus! Rating: 9/10 6. Jackalope Wives by Ursula Vernon Jackalope Wives was another story I really enjoyed. I thought it was going to be a love story between a boy and the jackalope wife he captures, but it was really a story about belonging and bravery. The lore behind the story was new to me and I really enjoyed the legend feel of the piece. And the big reveal at the end left me tearing up. Rating: 10/10 7. The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees by E. Lily Yu This one was another miss for me. It has a really distant narrative voice and tells the story of two warring insect colonies. There was a moral of the story unfolding, about rising up against tyranny, and then the problems just disappeared and everyone went back to being happy. The ending was underwhelming and I am really left confused about what the story was trying to say.  Rating: 2/10 8. The Practical Witch's Guide to Acquiring Real Estate By A.C. Wise This is a kind of funny piece giving advice to witches about how to take or grow houses. It treats houses like predatory and emotional pets, which makes it humorous. But the joke gets carried on too long and I found myself wishing it had stuck to a shorter punch line. Not a total miss, but not a piece that I was particularly drawn to.  Rating: 5/10 9. The Tallest Doll in New York City by Maria Dahvana Headley I liked this one. It tells the story of a lady building who is jonesing for a guy building and they start getting it on while the buildings are still occupied. Funny and cute and interesting.  Rating: 6/10 10. The Haunting of Apollo A7LB by Hannu Rajaniemi I really liked this one! A space suit is haunted by the astronaut who wore it and returns to the woman who made it (and the astronaut loved). A sweet sort of haunting that's entertaining and unique.  Rating: 8/10 11. Here Be Dragons by Chris Tarry I really, really did not get this one. It tells the story of a man who made a career fighting fake dragons who has to leave his business to be a parent. It feels like he's going to decide to be a good dad and focus on his family instead of cheating people out of money, but then he goes right back to dragon 'fighting' so I'm not really sure what the message was supposed to be. That guys are jerks no matter what? I just couldn't get on board with this one at all. Total miss.  Rating: 1/10 12. The One They Took Before by Kelly Sandoval Hell to the yes. This one was strange in all the best ways and at the end I was all OH MY GOD. Go read it. Now.  Rating: 10/10 13. Tiger Baby by JY Yang I liked this cool little piece. A woman who feels like she's a tiger hangs with neighborhood cats until she transitions into her true feline form. But it's not what she expected. Really interesting and enjoyable read.  Rating: 7/10 14. The Duck by Ben Loory Apparently the author writes children's books, and I definitely got that feel from this piece. While it was sweet and interesting to read about a duck who falls in love with a rock, the ending left me feeling like I missed something. Another paragraph or two would be all that was needed to really solidify the conclusion, but without it, the story just isn't complete. Cute though. Rating: 7/10 15. Wing by Amal El-Mohtar This was a short and unique piece about a girl who a book around her neck who tells stories. They're all beautifully interwoven and at the end, I was left feeling a big 'wow' about how it all worked together. Flawless.  Rating: 10/10 16. The Philosophers by Adam Ehrlich Sachs This was actually a trio of slightly odd stories that examine the relationship between father and son. They are all complex and mostly negative, but otherwise they didn't seem to really relate in any way. Interesting but disconnected.  Rating: 5/10 17. My Time Among the Bridge Blowers by Eugene Fischer This was one of the longer pieces in the collection that had a lot of unique aspects. A researcher with some strange tattoos visits a colony of people who can create territories and structures with breath. It's a really interesting concept that I was excited to explore, but the story seemed stuck on some of the more commonplace aspects of the traveling experience. It could have been really stunning but it was just lacking that something to make it pop.  Rating: 6/10 18. The Husband Stitch by Carmen Maria Machado A woman with a ribbon around her neck with predictable results. However, the story itself was spectacularly well-written with a delicate balance of flashback, current action, summarizing spans of years, and off-beat stories. It has a serious feminism streak and explores how women have a tendency to give everything (and eventually too much) to the men they love. Really, really well done though sadly an ending we all saw coming a mile away.  Rating: 9/10 19. The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn by Usman T. Malik  This story is easily the longest in the collection and at first feels like the classic pilgrimage story. A young boy raised on his grandfather's stories of old Pakistan returns to fetch a secret item. However, it is rather long-winded and in many places feels preachy (This isn't how jinn lore works, thisss is the right way!). In the end, the secret was so abstract and far-fetched that I found myself groaning and wishing it was over. Which is a bummer! I really loved all my recent jinni/djinn reads (The Golem and the Jinni, Rebel of the Sands, etc) but found this one was less about expanding jinn lore and more about rewriting it in a long, twisted, uninteresting way.   Rating: 6/10 Overall, I thought the collection was well done. The cover is stunning. I didn't find a single typo in the whole dang thing, and never did a read a story that I felt needed another pass at editing. One of the cleanest and most polished collaborations I've ever read. Like all collections, it had a few stand out stars and a few that didn't resonate for me, but that's the reality of these collections. It's nearly impossible to put together a group of stories in which every reader loves every piece. It's just not feasible. But The New Voice of Fantasy accomplished its mission of introducing this fantasy lover to new voices in the genre and giving me some fodder for the Christmas list.  Overall Rating: 7/10

  26. 5 out of 5

    Shari (colourmeread)

    ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It had me at Fantasy. And the cover because look at it! This anthology is a collection of short stories by nineteen breakout writers in the genre. I didn’t know any of these authors going in, but I now have a few I’m watching out for in the future. I’m a big reader of epic fantasy so it did take me by surprise when I realized these stories were more on the contemporary side of things. I’m also so used to readin ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It had me at Fantasy. And the cover because look at it! This anthology is a collection of short stories by nineteen breakout writers in the genre. I didn’t know any of these authors going in, but I now have a few I’m watching out for in the future. I’m a big reader of epic fantasy so it did take me by surprise when I realized these stories were more on the contemporary side of things. I’m also so used to reading long books that many of the stories felt too short/underdeveloped for me. Here’s a breakdown of my individual ratings: Hungry Daughter of Starving Mothers by Alyssa Wong | ★★★★ This story is about a world where certain people have the ability to read people’s vile thoughts and feed off of them. This was one of my favourites stories. I was a fan of Wong’s word choice, vivid imagery, and chilling prose. I felt and saw what the character did and I was glued to the story from start to finish. I was quite sad when it ended because I wanted more of it. I hope Wong goes back to this with a full length novel because it’s hands down one of the best fantasy x horror stories I’ve read. Selkie Stories are for Losers by Sofia Samatar | ★★ I don’t think I really understood what this story tried to achieve. It’s about a woman who works at a restaurant and whose mother disappeared. This then reminds the woman about selkies and their disappearances, and how this may affect a potential relationship with a coworker. Tornado’s Siren by Brooke Bolander | ★★ A tornado falls in love with a girl and follows her at different points in her life, resulting in disaster each time. I loved the idea but found the execution lacking. Left the Century to Sit Unmoved by Sarah Pinsker | ★★★ A story about a place where people jump in a pond with no certainty of ever coming back up. Some people disappear with only their clothes to leave behind, while others tempt fate and jump just to see if they’ll have the same fate or not. There’s no rhyme or reason to the disappearances and the story ultimately focuses on why people still jump in. Overall, mysterious and intriguing. A Kiss with Teeth by Max Gladstone | ★★★★ I really liked this one. I haven’t read a vampire story after the Twilight and Shadowhunter series so this was quite refreshing. This story focuses on a vampire living his day to day life with his human family. He has to keep reminding himself things he should be doing to avoid raising suspicions, such as breathing or controlling his strength. It might sound boring and nothing out of the ordinary, but I enjoyed Gladstone’s style of writing and really loved the ending. Jackalope Wives by Ursula Vernon | ★★★★★ I absolutely loved this one! Jackalopes are mythical animals from North American folklore that look like a jackrabbit with antler horns. In this story, jackalopes often have a night of dancing where they ‘shed’ their skins and look like beautiful women. A young man steals the skin of one of the jackalopes and partially burns it in the process. He then turns to his grandmother for help and I just love what Vernon writes about human nature. The Cartographer Wasps and Anarchist Bees by E. Lily Yu | ★★ I could not get into the story. For some reason it just didn’t connect with me. The Practical Witch’s Guide to Acquiring Real Estate by A. C. Wise | ★★★ This was amusing and entertaining! While there was no plot or action, I appreciated the humour in this one. The Tallest Doll in New York City by Maria Davana Headley | ★★★ An adorable Valentine’s Day story about buildings falling in love and what it’s like for the people inside them to witness it all. It was predictable and a little cheesy, but I loved the idea. The Haunting of Apollo A7LB by Hannu Rajaniemi | ★★★★ This was another favourite! An old spacesuit is haunted by its previous owner, resulting in unexpected and troublesome acts for its new owner. Here Be Dragons by Chris Tarry | ★★ I had high hopes for this one, mainly because it was the only story that somewhat resembled epic fantasy. It focuses on two men with past reputations as ‘dragonslayers’ and what their life is like now that they’re jobless and stay-at-home dads. There was character development for one of the characters, but the ending ruined it all for me. The One They Took Before by Kelly Sandoval | ★★★★ I loved this one too. It’s about a woman who now lives in the real world, after she lives in a world with magic. The story slowly unravels her past and what happened, and constantly touches on her struggles of wanting to go back while knowing it’s better if she doesn’t. Tiger Baby by JY Yang | ★★ I wasn’t a fan of this one. It’s about a woman who believes her true form is that of a tiger. It sounds interesting at first, and I think it ends on a hopeful note, but something is just so sad about it all. The Duck by Ben Loory | ★★★ A duck falls in love with a rock, and everyone makes fun of him for it. I love how this touched on themes of friendship and acceptance, and I would love to see this illustrated. Cute, touching, and impactful. Wing by Amal El-Mohtar | ★★★★★ This was so beautiful. It’s about a girl with a necklace of a book, and people often ask her what’s written inside it. ‘It’s a secret’ she says and they often leave her after that. I love the idea of keeping parts of ourselves, our deepest dreams and desires, and waiting until the right person comes along, to see if we want to share it with them. The Philosophers by Adam Ehrlich Sachs | ★★ Three short stories focusing on father and son relationships and the cyclical nature of passing things from one generation to another. My Time Among the Bridge Blowers by Eugene Fischer | ★ I don’t think the story was bad, I just found it so boring that I often tuned out just for the sake of finishing it. I can’t even tell you what I got from it, because it was that unremarkable. The Husband Stitch by Carmen Maria Machado | ★★★★ This one was quite sexually explicit and as someone who’s always preferred fade-to-black scenes when it comes to sex, I often felt uncomfortable reading this. That aside though, this story was brilliant and powerful. It’s about a woman who gives everything to the men in her life, but it never seems enough. Very thought provoking ending. The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn by Usman T. Malik | ★★ A man is fixated on a story his grandfather told him as a boy, so he goes on a quest to find out if there’s any truth in it. I think this is the longest story in the whole collection, and it bored me the longer it went. The story had potential, but I couldn’t connect to the characters and I couldn’t care less. This was a mixed bag of goodies with stories I loved and ones I didn’t. I also think it was more a ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ kind of experience, because I just prefer a different kind of fantasy. I recommend all stories I rated 4-5 stars, of course. They’re certainly worth checking out.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    This is a collection of stories by authors who have recently hit the upper levels of speculative fiction writing - publication in the top venues, award nominations, and so forth. I'd read several of these before, mostly in the The Long List Anthology Volume 2: More Stories From the Hugo Award Nomination List; some of them were good enough that I read them again. I skipped Alyssa Wong's "Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers" (which was more horror-like than I prefer), Carmen Maria Machado's "The Husba This is a collection of stories by authors who have recently hit the upper levels of speculative fiction writing - publication in the top venues, award nominations, and so forth. I'd read several of these before, mostly in the The Long List Anthology Volume 2: More Stories From the Hugo Award Nomination List; some of them were good enough that I read them again. I skipped Alyssa Wong's "Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers" (which was more horror-like than I prefer), Carmen Maria Machado's "The Husband Stitch", a magic-realist story that didn't have a strong enough payoff for me to want to read it again, and Usman T. Malik's "The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn," which was good but, let's say, took a lot of words for the amount of story in it. I did re-read Maria Dahvana Headley's "The Tallest Doll in New York City," a lovely Runyonesque that I'd previously read in the Tor.com anthology, and Max Gladstone's "A Kiss with Teeth", which I'd read twice before in other anthologies. It's that good. His novels are, for me, a frustrating blend of brilliant and flawed, but this story is excellent. Even though a lot of its excellence is in the masterfully maintained tension, and even though I (obviously) already knew the ending, it rewarded rereading. The other story I re-read was Sofia Samatar's "Selkie Stories Are for Losers", which, the first time I read it, didn't do much for me. I appreciated it more on a re-read; like most of these stories, what it's about is human relationships, and it takes an allusive and indirect approach that, for me, needed a second read to get. As I write this review, I'm partway through reading Event Horizon 2017, a collection of stories by authors eligible for the Campbell Award - that is, people who've recently made their first professional sale. I'm trying to figure out what the difference is between those stories and the ones in this volume; haven't quite put my finger on it yet, but it's something to do with having a second level to the story, and and extra degree of skill in weaving it together. While I didn't necessarily like every story in this volume, I appreciated the authors' ability.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Review originally written for my blog So my bf bought this book a while ago and was raving about how incredible it was after reading just a few stories and kept recommending it to me (partially because he knows how much I love Selkies and any story containing them but also just because I love Fantasy in general) and I was super lucky to get an ARC from the publisher a few days ago and I just devoured this collection. It’s always hard to review short story collections, and it’s eve Review originally written for my blog So my bf bought this book a while ago and was raving about how incredible it was after reading just a few stories and kept recommending it to me (partially because he knows how much I love Selkies and any story containing them but also just because I love Fantasy in general) and I was super lucky to get an ARC from the publisher a few days ago and I just devoured this collection. It’s always hard to review short story collections, and it’s even harder to review this one because I absolutely adored every single story in it and just wouldn’t know where to start. They are all so creative and fantastic and well written and I’m definitely going to hunt down more work by all these authors! I’d heard of quite a few of the authors already, and indeed had actually already read the short story by Ursula Vernon (which is probably one of my favourites of the collection). Really, my review for this is simply just “read them” because each story is so different and so magical that you can only experience it by reading. For those that don’t read much Fantasy, it’s also an excellent introduction to some of the authors to keep an eye on that might not be as well known as they deserve. For those that are keen Fantasy readers, you’ve likely also heard of a lot of these authors and these pieces are all fantastic introductions to their work and will definitely leave you wanting more from all of them. The editors did a fantastic job selecting all these stories with the result being an incredible book that is just overflowing with such fascinating and varied stories. In short, I highly, highly recommend this book and indeed I enjoyed it so much I can see myself re-reading and reviewing some of the individual stories later just so I can keep telling people about how fantastic this collection is.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    Another disappointment for me this week. After a month of 5 Stars, this is disappointing, to say the least. I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Simply the stories just weren’t good. As a huge fantasy lover and as my favorite genre I gotta say if these are the new voices it’s a little disheartening. Thank God there are still many people around writing fantasy. Some of the stories were so good (and literally only some like one or two), but most were really bad. Most of Another disappointment for me this week. After a month of 5 Stars, this is disappointing, to say the least. I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Simply the stories just weren’t good. As a huge fantasy lover and as my favorite genre I gotta say if these are the new voices it’s a little disheartening. Thank God there are still many people around writing fantasy. Some of the stories were so good (and literally only some like one or two), but most were really bad. Most of them ended so oddly. I know they are short stories but they didn’t even feel complete. Then on top of that, they were rather confusing. Just because a story is a fantasy doesn’t mean it needs to be nonsense and that’s how most of these felt. I was really hoping to love this and I’m sad I didn’t but it just wasn’t for me.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sibil

    Thanks to NetGalley and to the editor. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book was a big disappointment, I am sorry to say. It’s true that I am not a big fan of collection of short stories, but sometimes I read them because you can discover some new author, or some new series, or you can read about the POV of some peculiar character in the series that you follow and love. So, even if I have not great expectations, I hope to find something good and interesting. Thanks to NetGalley and to the editor. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book was a big disappointment, I am sorry to say. It’s true that I am not a big fan of collection of short stories, but sometimes I read them because you can discover some new author, or some new series, or you can read about the POV of some peculiar character in the series that you follow and love. So, even if I have not great expectations, I hope to find something good and interesting. And, sure as hell, I do not expect to find boredom in every single story! I know that I would not like all the stories, that not all of them would be interesting to me, but usually, I don’t actively dislike them, or at least, not dislike them so much as with this book. I can’t say that all the stories were bad, because I loved The Practical Witch’s Guide to Acquiring Real Estate by A. C. Wise. For me, this one was a 5 stars rating. It was funny, quirky, original and now I have to check out this author! But this was the only one I really liked. There were a couple of stories, three of them to be precise, of which I liked the idea: Tornado’s Siren by Brooke Bolander, The Tallest Doll in New York City by Maria Dahvana Headley and The Duck by Ben Loory. But that’s it. I liked the idea behind them, but not the stories. It’s true that I have found a new interesting author. But there were 19 stories in this collection and one out of 19 it isn’t good. All in all, it was quite a dull read. and I had a hard time to push my way through it.

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