What do you think happens when 21 authors, writers of different genres from all over the globe, collaborate to put together a collection of short stories? Magic – that’s what happens. Awesome Allshorts: Last Days, Lost Ways, was edited by acclaimed author Tahlia Newland, with the able assistance of Dixiane Hallaj and Richard Bunning, all three of whom contributed stories as well.
Published by AIA Publishing (part of the Awesome Indies family), this eclectic anthology has a little bit of everything. The diversity of the genres – from funny to far out – and the international nature of the authors, makes this a collection of short fiction that is unique. As it says in the introduction, “Awesome Indies listed fiction is often unique and sometimes ground-breaking. Our authors are the bold new voices in fiction . . .”
I got my start writing short stories, winning a national Sunday school short story writing competition when I was in my teens. For the past decade or so, I’ve concentrated on novel-length fiction and non-fiction, as well as blogging, but when I saw the call for stories for this volume, I decided to take a flyer.
I’d been working on a piece for several months about a zombie – but, I was trying to write a different kind of zombie story. I’d read an interview with comic mogul Stan Lee in a magazine in my wife’s doctor’s office while waiting for her one day, in which Lee had told the interviewer he didn’t like zombie movies or stories because they were always portrayed as shuffling flesh eaters. His view was, if someone has been given another shot at life, even as a zombie, they’re more likely to want to make up for the things they didn’t do in their first life – and chasing people down to eat their flesh wasn’t one of them.
So, I’d been working on this story about a zombie that knows he’s dead, but not how or when he died. He finds himself stuck in a strange city and his impulse is to help the weak. He runs into this girl who is not freaked out by his zombie status, and – well, you can guess how it might go from there. I’d actually written two stories, the second being a sequel to the first. I submitted the first, and the response was, ‘it’s nice, but can you make it longer?’ So, I combined the two stories, and I had to admit, it did read better that way. What was really surprising to me – it was accepted for the anthology. ‘I, Zombie,’ became one of 26 stories by 21 authors to be included in Awesome Allshorts: Last Days, Lost Ways. It’s not kosher to review your own work, so I won’t tell you how fantastic I think ‘I, Zombie’ is. Instead, I’ll recommend ‘Cut Throat’ by Joan Kerr or ‘Clearing The Shed’ by Tahlia Newland. Hell fire, why don’t you just read the whole thing. It’s a surefire winner – you can take my word for it.
The e-Book version will launch at the end of October 2014, followed shortly by a paperback version. If you’re a fan of short fiction, and you’re looking for something awesome to curl up with as the days grow short and the temperature plummets, this book will warm you up like nothing else. Check it out – you won’t regret it.
Awesome Indies Site to Relaunch!
In addition to coming out with this amazing anthology, Awesome Indies will be re-launching it’s Web site November 1 – 2, with giveaways, contests, and lots of other interesting stuff. don’t miss it.
Have you been laid off, downsized, or undersized? If you have, you might want to think twice, and then again, before accepting a job offer from Limbus, Inc. If, on the other hand, you’re into reading shared-world stories with a dark twist, you need to run, that’s right, run to the nearest computer and order a copy of Limbus, Inc.: Book 1, an anthology edited by Anne C. Petty of JournalStone, and containing cutting-edge tales by four award-winning authors.
Limbus, Inc. is a mysterious employment agency that offers specific jobs to specific people, but there is often a deadly catch in the fine print. The book opens with an prologue written by Brett J. Talley, with passages inserted throughout, and then ends with Talley’s epilogue. In between these two macabre bookend offerings is a series of tales, though written by different authors, including editor Petty, come across as if they’d been either written by the same person, or a team working in close collaboration.
Each story, though, is self-contained, and masterfully done; from the prologue, when Matthew Sellers, a bookstore owner down on his luck, is given a strange and tattered manuscript by an unkempt stranger, to Benjamin Kane’s ‘Slaughter Man,’ Dean Fulsome, or the PI in Jonathan Maberry’s ‘Strip Search.’
Limbus, Inc. has something for just about every flavor of reader. Time travel and a space ship inhabited by a voracious, flesh-eating alien princess, arcane sacrificial cults, and ageless gamins who work as company recruiters. Every candidate for employment by Limbus is a loser, but every story is a winner. Tight dialogue, fully-formed characters, and settings described in a way that makes it easy to suspend disbelief.
Brew a pot of coffee, or mix your favorite brew; slip your feet into your most comfortable slippers; sit back and prepare to be transported to a realm where reality has taken an extended holiday. But, before you start reading, you might want to check the locks on all the doors and windows, and turn on a few extra lights.
Five stars to everyone involved in this precedent-setting work.