DARK DUETS: New Tales of Horror and Dark Fantasy will be published in January, 2014 by Harper Voyager. Edited by Christopher Golden, it features an extraordinary lineup of collaborative stories, with the authors of each story collaborating for the very first time. And here they are!
-TRIP TRAP by Sherrilyn Kenyon & Kevin J. Anderson -WELDED by Tom Piccirilli & T.M. Wright -DARK WITNESS by Charlaine Harris & Rachel Caine -REPLACING MAX by Stuart MacBride & Allan Guthrie -T. RHYMER by Gregory Frost & Jonathan Maberry -SHE, DOOMED GIRL by Sarah MacLean & Carrie Ryan -HAND JOB by Chelsea Cain & Lidia Yuknavitch -HOLLOW CHOICES by Robert Jackson Bennett & David Liss -AMUSE-BOUCHE by Amber Benson & Jeffrey J. Mariotte -BRANCHES, CURVING by Tim Lebbon & Michael Marshall Smith -RENASCENCE by Rhodi Hawk and F. Paul Wilson -BLIND LOVE by Kasey Lansdale & Joe R. Lansdale -TRAPPER BOY by Holly Newstein & Rick Hautala -STEWARD OF THE BLOOD by Nate Kenyon & James A. Moore -CALCULATING ROUTE by Michael Koryta & Jeffrey David Greene -SISTERS BEFORE MISTERS by Sarah Rees Brennan, Cassandra Clare, and Holly Black -SINS LIKE SCARLET by Mark Morris & Rio Youers
CHRISTOPHER GOLDEN is the New York Times bestselling, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of such novels as Road of Bones, Ararat, Snowblind, Of Saints and Shadows, and Red Hands. With Mike Mignola, he is the co-creator of the Outerverse comic book universe, including such series as Baltimore, Joe Golem: Occult Detective, and Lady Baltimore. As an editor, he has worked on the short story anthologies Seize the Night, Dark Cities, and The New Dead, among others, and he has also written and co-written comic books, video games, screenplays, and a network television pilot. Golden co-hosts the podcast Defenders Dialogue with horror author Brian Keene. In 2015 he founded the popular Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival. He was born and raised in Massachusetts, where he still lives with his family. His work has been nominated for the British Fantasy Award, the Eisner Award, and multiple Shirley Jackson Awards. For the Bram Stoker Awards, Golden has been nominated ten times in eight different categories. His original novels have been published in more than fifteen languages in countries around the world. Please visit him at www.christophergolden.com
Anthologies can be hit or miss for me. Often, they seem to be positioned as a way to introduce readers to series and authors. Now this is just my opinion, but too many times short stories aren’t as engaging and just don’t pull me in like a novel. The characters may not be as well introduced because they exist in a series or novel already. There are exceptions of course. For example, Alice Munro, Patricia Briggs and Jim Butcher write beautifully executed short stories. But honestly, too often there are so many authors in an anthology that I don’t care about with only one or two authors I do care about. Oh and many times, I feel forced to read the short story if it takes place between a series, because I worry that I will miss out on a crucial series development if I miss reading. What struck me about Dark Duets is that the stories can be read as standalones. But I should say upfront, I did not read all the stories. I read the stories by authors I love. The theme for each story in Dark Duets is that two or three authors team up to write a horror story collaboratively. Two out of the three I read were 5 star reads, the third below average. The beauty of the three stories I read is that no one author’s style shows through but it reads as the best of each author.
Dark Witness - 5 stars by Charlaine Harris and Rachel Caine I feel like every time I read something new by Charlaine Harris I am hoping that what I used to love about her is evident in the text and there is none of what I came to strongly dislike toward the end of the Sookie series. Well BAM. I loved this story. This story is not obviously written by either Caine or Harris. I couldn’t recognize either authors’ style. It is spooky and well developed and it begins with a nightmare. There is a hint at the coming apocalypse and it is not romantic. The characters are there to allow the story to unfold, rather than the story being about the characters. This is just a darned good spooky tale.
T. Rhymer – 5 stars by Gregory Frost and Jonathan Maberry So I read this story because I love Maberry’s Rot and Ruin series. I know nothing of Gregory Frost (but now I will seek out books by him). Again, this story is really good and very well done. Maberry’s writing style was not obvious in the story, the authors blended so well together. This story takes what we usually read about elves, the fae, and hell – - and turns it on its head. T. Rhymer is a character in the story and I would love to read more of him. There is non stop action and some interesting surprises. I could not put this one down.
Sisters Before Misters - 2.5 Stars by Sarah Rees Brennan, Cassandra Clare, and Holly Black Love the title and I love the line-up of authors that contributed to this story. Ultimately, Sisters Before Misters was just okay. I didn’t think it was funny – -I saw what the authors were trying to do but for me it just didn’t work. I think it is worth reading if you have the anthology as it is a quick read. But if you are looking to read it because it is authored by Holly Black or Cassandra Clare, then you should know it doesn’t read like one of their novels.
I love love LOVE horror anthologies and this one did not disappoint! Truly creepy stories that kept my attention, especially the story of the troll living under the bridge. *Insert muah ha ha ha e-veeeeel laugh here* 3.5 stars-ish!
I was fooled into thinking because of some of the authors I recognized (Golden, Caine, Harris) that these would be of the dark fantasy/urban fantasy genre. Further fooled by talk of angels, demons and such on the back cover.
But it's not. It's horror. And worse off, it's sick and twisted horror (like a B&B keeping humans in cages for decades as breeding stock or kidnapping women to mutilate them on camera while they are subject to shock collars) that was utterly disgusting. It was NOT what I thought it was going to be at all and I gave up halfway through the book because it was just disturbing and highly unpleasant.
Beyond the graphic nature of the stories, they just weren't very good. I did not find any of the ones I read to have any solid depth or world creation. I know it's hard to make a complete world in a short story, but these didn't even seem to try.
Total pass. Didn't even finish. Would not recommend.
This anthology of collaborative works between authors of dark fantasy and horror includes "T. Rhymer," a novella written by me and Jonathan Maberry. We had great fun doing it and hope to pursue Rhymer further in a few novels-to-come.
Christopher Golden explains in his introduction to Dark Duets that writing is a solitary occupation right up until that moment an alchemical reaction takes place and a bolt of inspiration simultaneously strikes two writers who are friends. Golden has found that the results of collaboration are often fascinating and sometimes magical, as when Stephen King and Peter Straub teamed up to write The Talisman. Writing is an intimate, very personal process, Golden says, and finding someone to share it with is difficult but exciting. Golden therefore undertook to create a book full of such difficult, magical, exciting stories, and Dark Duets is the result.
Many of the stories in this anthology are solid, engaging works. As a general rule, I found the stories in the first half or so of the book to be better than those that came later, suggesting to me that Golden may have used a different structure than the usual one followed by editors in ordering stories. Normally an editor places the best stories at the beginning, the end and in the middle; Golden seems to have started with his strongest stories and worked to the weakest, with a few exceptions.
The anthology begins with “Trip Trap” by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Kevin J. Anderson. A homeless man living under a bridge encounters a homeless family living in their car in a nearby highway rest stop, starting with a little girl’s asking him, “Are you a troll?” In fact, he is — or at least, that’s how he thinks of himself; it’s not clear whether we’re in a fairy tale where trolls eat little girls or the real world where bad men do horrible things to little girls that are almost as bad. Through a sequence of encounters between the family and the homeless man, we’re never sure, in fact, whether “troll” is a metaphor or, perhaps, the reality of a mental illness afflicting the homeless man, or the story’s reality. It’s handled beautifully.
“Welded” by Tom Piccirilli and T.M. Wright is very dark, telling “a familiar story” in which “Kid and girl fall in love. Homicidal maniac kidnaps and butchers girl….” The boy survives the encounter with the serial killer, who staves the boy’s head in to get to the girl. The homicidal maniac is finally caught after nine more murders. He writes to the boy, who writes back, and then begins to visit the murderer in prison. On the day the murderer is to be executed by lethal injection, the boy is there, listening to the murderer whisper exactly what he did to his victims and how they resisted. The boy suffers from migraine headaches, which he often develops on his visits to the prison, and Execution Day is no exception — at least not in that way. But the boy doesn’t just get migraines, and this day is like no other. It’s a haunting story about whether the boy actually survived or is just living — or, perhaps, has been completely transformed by evil into something that is evil itself. This black tale will stay with you for a long time.
“Dark Witness” by Charlaine Harris and Rachel Caine explains those crosses you sometimes see by the side of the road, the ones you think mark the site of an automobile accident where someone’s loved one died. One morning Emma dreams about a pair of crosses and the faceless woman who is planting them as she watches from her car; a handsome man with yellow eyes sits next to her. The horror comes as much — or more — from the presence of that man as from the sight of her name, and her daughter’s, on those crosses. Emma manages to dismiss the dream when she sees two crosses on her way to work, reasoning that they must have triggered the nightmare. That night, Laurel brings friends home for dinner, one of whom is Tyler — the first time a boy has ever made an appearance. Things go well until Tyler catches her alone and asks why she gave him up. This seems like a common tale of a teenage mother who could only manage to raise one child; but that assumes that Tyler and his father are human. Things unravel quickly and horribly. The story ends a little too neatly, but it is powerful nonetheless.
“Replacing Max” is a Weird story by Stuart MacBride and Allan Guthrie. Wesley and his eleven-year-old daughter, Angelina, squabble as they drive about why she has to be with him instead of her mother and stepfather this weekend. There’s something fishy about that, and Angelina senses it, and she pushes Wesley as hard as only an 11-going-on-40-year-old can. It’s snowing and they’re lost when they come across a bed and breakfast that seems like an ideal place to wait out the storm — both the one involving the weather and the one involving their relationship. It helps that the owners of the B&B breed Maine Coon cats; Angelina is fascinated. But things fall apart for Wesley in fairly short order, and it seems he’s likely to get what he deserves. The real question is whether he genuinely deserves what he actually gets.
Gregory Frost and Jonathan Maberry get inside the head of a young woman looking for a good catch among the males in an Edinburgh club on the night before Halloween in “T. Rhymer.” That cute guy over there who’s been giving her the eye all night suddenly seems irresistible, and Stacey finds herself wandering over to him in spite of herself— indeed, in direct opposition to what she really wants to do. Something’s telling her to run, but she can’t. Those golden eyes on him have her in some sort of spell. Stacey follows him out of the club before they even say a word to one another. Fortunately for Stacey, there’s another man watching, and he’s heavily armed with the right sort of weapons for the situation. Those who have figured out the title of this tale know where things go from here, and it’s a fine updating of the old story. And it’s nice to see a woman who acts, rather than merely being acted upon.
“She, Doomed Girl” by Sarah MacLean and Carrie Ryan, is about a woman headed for a Scottish island castle to which she holds the key, crossing the North Sea through a rolling fog. It’s to be a new start for her. But when she gets to her new home, she finds it comes complete with a man demanding to know what she’s doing in his house. A very good looking man, as it turns out, who knows how she came to have the deed and key to the home he calls his own. His mood varies between amusement at her circumstances to cold and demanding that she leave in the blink of an eye. But the ferry she took over was the last of the night and there is nothing else on the island, so she must stay the night. The story has all the trappings of a Gothic romance, which is precisely what this turns out to be. It’s too sappy for my taste, and strikes me as less than original, well-written though it is.
Things pick up a bit again in “Hand Job” by Chelsea Cain and Lidia Yuknavitch, in which we’re once again in Weird territory. One day, the protagonist’s hand starts to speak to her — more specifically, her pinkie finger, which complains about the protagonist’s strictly domestic life. And then physically attacks her. What can she do, as the finger lops off parts of her body? She has to fight back! “Hand Job” is one of the stranger stories I’ve ever read, fulfills the promise of its double entendre title, and is a lot of fun.
“Hollow Choices” by Robert Jackson Bennett and David Liss is as dark a story as I would expect from those two writers. As the story opens, the narrator is leaving prison at long last, but is feeling strangely unjoyful about it. The world outside feels like a foreign country, and it’s just about impossible to find a job. Almost without his willing it, he becomes fixated on a particular woman. “You got the offer and you took it,” he accuses her, and she admits it, saying she’d have been a fool not to. We don’t know for sure what they’re talking about for a while, but the experienced fantasy and horror reader will figure it out. What I find fascinating is how the old tropes play out, and the philosophical discussion of just what happiness means.
Amber Benson and Jeffrey J. Mariotte put their female protagonist through the wringer in “Amuse-Bouche.” She wakes up after a night out to find herself bound, in the dark, and on the verge of complete panic. Her captor, the male protagonist, has created a narrative in his head in which the woman is an actor, and he is shooting a scene. It’s not surprising that he’s gone ‘round the bend, given his upbringing. But this isn’t the standard tale of a vulnerable woman destroyed by a rapacious man; nature also plays a role. The story doesn’t work well, with two first-person narrators in an unconvincing situation.
When I came to “Branches, Curving,” and found that the writing team was Tim Lebbon and Michael Marshall Smith, I was excited: two of my favorite authors working together promised something special. Unfortunately, the story didn’t deliver. Jenni, the protagonist, has been dreaming about a particular oak tree for a long time. She thought it entirely a piece of her dream world until one day she catches a glimpse of it in a random search of the internet. We never learn why Jenni is interested in the tree, though we learn more about the tree. It seems that the authors were searching for bittersweet, but the story never quite gets there.
“Renascence” by Rhodi Hawk and F. Paul Wilson begins in New York in 1878, at a wake for Graziana Babilani. Rasheeda Basemore is the owner of the funeral parlor, an unusual profession for a woman in the late 19th century; but there is more to Rasheeda that at first appears. We get a hint when she appraises the corpse in the same way one might examine a servant or slave, pronouncing her condition “perfect.” Things get even clearer when she sends her assistant out to “fetch us a warm one,” and the assistant asks if he can be the one to “do the ritual.” Sure enough, Rasheeda is a resurrectionist of sorts, bringing select corpses to a sort of life and leasing them for manual labor. Rasheeda must anoint each of these slaves once a month to keep them from becoming berserkers. Things are going well until the wrong corpse is reanimated. It’s a fine, amusing story, carrying a strong flavor of Wilson’s Repairman Jack novels.
The father and daughter team of Joe R. Lansdale and Kasey Lansdale authored “Blind Love,” which was clearly intended to be zany rather than scary. What else could you expect from a story that begins with a way for singles to make a connection that involves merely staring into one another’s eyes? One man mesmerizes every woman who gazes at him except for the first-person protagonist. Which leaves it up to the protagonist, of course, to rescue all the other women from his clutches. It’s a mildly funny tale.
“Trapper Boy” by Holly Newstein and Rick Hautala is set in a coal mining town. John’s father thinks it’s time John started working in the mines, while his mother would like to see him go to school. John himself would like to study to become an artist, but he’s nine years old already, and it’s time for him to contribute to the family’s budget. Mr. Comstock hires John as a trapper for sixty cents a week, working 12 hours each day for six days a week. That means John sits in the dark and cold, waiting to open the mine shaft doors for the mules bringing coal to the surface. Things are looking grim for John until his mother buys him a box of colored chalks, and he uses them while on the job to draw animals on the doors by the light of his small lantern. It seems like a sentimental story until the sharp edges come through. This is one of the best stories in the book, a stand-out in the otherwise weaker second half of the book.
Nate Kenyon and James A. Moore team up for “Steward of the Blood,” in which Christian inherits a substantial property known as Glen Ridge from his grandfather. His grandfather had stipulated that Christian was not to be advised of the death and inheritance until five years after his grandfather’s death. In the intervening years, the house on the estate has fallen into disrepair — in fact, it looks far more decayed than five years should have caused. A letter from his Christian’s grandfather, delivered by Talbot, the executor of his estate, contains directions and strictures on his inheritance, particularly in that it requires that he not leave Glen Ridge again. While Christian is reading the letter, a storm comes up, catching his daughter in the woods, where she is having an odd sort of orientation, a reordering of her world to better align with nature. What lurks in those woods, and how will it affect the family? The reader is not surprised by anything that happens here, for the story is not a new one, though it is well-told.
Michael Koryta and Jeffrey David Greene offer “Calculating Route,” about a GPS that eventually takes its owners to abandoned land originally intended for real estate development before the market collapsed. Several fall victim to the strange machine before we find out what’s behind it. I was disappointed at such a mundane answer to the mystery.
“Sisters Before Misters” by Sarah Rees Brennan, Cassandra Clare and Holly Black is a tale of three witches, one of whom makes off with the trio’s single eye one day when she sees a fine hunk of man. This is clearly another story that is supposed to be funny, but falls short of the mark.
Allan Strand is dying of cancer in “Sins Like Scarlet” by Mark Morris and Rio Youers. He makes it through the days only with the help of liquid morphine, which he carries in a flask. He wants to make peace with his ex-wife before he dies; their marriage had not survived the murder of their only son, who was only seven years old. Allan moved to Canada following his son’s death, but now he is traveling back to England to see Holly, because he has something important to tell her. He moves through not only a fog of pain, but a miasma of self-pity that makes the reader impatient with him instead of sympathetic. It’s a fine trick to pull off, but the authors succeed in making Allan thoroughly dislikeable. Is it because the sin he has come to confess is so dark? It is a finely wrought story, making a strong conclusion to the anthology.
Since this is an anthology, I read a story or two a day. I don't usually read anthologies, but there was such a great list of authors paired up with other great author, that I couldn't resist. Some of the stories are really short, while some are pretty long. Either way, I enjoyed them all.
I love this collection of short stories because they all feature some sort of classic campfire horror stories full of evident warning signs or fantasy stories with creative magic. These short stories are also wonderful because they start and end at the right time: start late by jumping right into the world, away with lengthy introductions, and end early by leaving a lot of after story up to the reader's imagination (and it's so tantalizing when you want there to be more of the world&characters but the story ends! there!)
Anthologies are like neighborhood garage sales. You're not going to like everything at every house, but you can find some true gems if you're willing to look.
Christopher Golden has well established that his story neighborhoods are well stocked. And I was infinitely intrigued by the idea of this anthology, there are some well established authors in here, as well as some I've never heard of. And they're all pairing up to bring you one story. Some of these combinations are truly magical.
As with all garage sales, not all houses had something I wanted. But I'm beyond certain that the person coming up the drive behind me is going to love them. There's one story in here that was kind of overwrought and not interesting to me in the least, but lovers of the more fantasy side are going to dig it big time.
I am of the opinion that what scares you in real life is what makes you love a horror novel. I'm scared of everything, but it's really, really hard for me to find a horror story that scares me. Movies are easy, because you have the visuals and the jump scares and the DUN DUN DUN music. I have loads of sympathy for authors of horror, because it takes so much work to really make it good.
Calculating Route (by Michael Koryta & Jeffrey David Greene) scared the piss out of me. It didn't help that I listened to it while driving, with occasional GPS interruption of the narration, in dark neighborhoods. I'm afraid of the dark. I'm afraid of getting lost. And I'm afraid of using GPS to go somewhere I'm unfamiliar with, and it getting me terribly, unbelievably lost.
Yeah. That story gave me a serious case of the heebie jeebies.
Also, why were there two damn stories featuring noses being cut off? Why? Why would you do that to me? Why?
I didn't pay much attention to the authors of the short stories when queuing up the audiobook. When I added it on GR, I spotted one in particular, and made a very careful note to listen for that story introduction.
A lot of these authors I've heard of but never read. I'm interesting in reading more by a lot. The story written by Amber Benson and Jeffrey J. Mariotte was amazing and gross and disturbing. I love Amber Benson to death, both acting and her writing, so I was doubly pleased that the story she co-wrote was my favorite after Calculating Route. So gross. So disturbing. So good.
A highly recommendable book. Though keep in mind that, as with all neighborhood garage sales, there are some roads you never need to drive down. Sometimes you just skip them because you know who they are, and you know their history.
Christopher Golden explains in his introduction to Dark Duets that writing is a solitary occupation right up until that moment an alchemical reaction takes place and a bolt of inspiration simultaneously strikes two writers who are friends. Golden has found that the results of collaboration are often fascinating and sometimes magical, as when Stephen King and Peter Straub teamed up to write The Talisman. Writing is an intimate, very personal process, Golden says, and finding someone to share it with is difficult but exciting. Golden therefore undertook to create a book full of such ... Read More: http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi...
Pretty good short horror stories. Some of them were way out there. Crazy imaginations. OMG moments and even some LOL moments. Great reads. Fast paced horror stories and dark fantasy. If you like the horror genre then you will like most of these short stories. Some of them were not to my taste but not too bad either. I made sure to read them all completely. Even when I thought I didn't like it from the beginning, sometimes the story would turn out to surprise me. Incredible imaginations.
I guess I was focusing more on the DARK FANTASY part, rather than the HORROR part. Some of the horror-ish stories were more gore than others, which I was not prepared for. I do enjoyed some of them, especially Dark Witness and Steward of the Blood.
Rating by story: Trip Trap ⭐⭐⭐ Welded ⭐⭐⭐ Dark Witness ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Replacing Max ⭐⭐ T. Rhymer ⭐⭐⭐⭐ She, Doomed Girl ⭐⭐⭐ Hand Job ⭐⭐ Hollow Choice ⭐⭐⭐ Amuse-Bauche ⭐⭐ Branches, Curving ⭐⭐⭐ Renascence ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Blind Love ⭐⭐⭐ Trapper Boy ⭐⭐⭐ Steward of the Blood ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Calculating Route ⭐⭐⭐ Sisters Before Misters ⭐⭐⭐ Sins Like Scarlet ⭐⭐⭐
I only liked a few of these stories, and couldn’t get into many of them. All but one had dark endings. Trip Trap by Kenyon and Anderson (both authors i’ve read) was my favorite, about an exiled troll. It had a happy ending. Welded was disturbing. Dark Witness by Harris and Caine (both authors I’ve read) was about a mother protecting her daughter from her son and brother, Replacing Max was about a sullen teenager of a divorced couple, until it takes a morbid turn. She, Doomed Gurl was a sad ghost story. Typo: For making me need.s Trapper Boy was about an unfortunate boy whose drawings saved his life. Stewart of the Blood was a man returning home to accept his heritage. Calculating Route was ok until the end. It was about a possessed GPS device. Sisters Before Misters by Reese, Claire, and Black (I’ve read all but Claire) was about three sisters who realize they’re happiest by themselves, after ruining other people’s lives in the process of discovery. Sins Like Scarlet is about a man seeking forgiveness but who doesn’t get it.
Did not finish. Got part of the way through Replacing Max and then just... put it down. Looked like another depressing one, figure the father did something to the ex and took the teenaged daughter, but I'll never know now. AND I'M OK WITH THAT.
DARK WITNESS by Charlaine Harris & Rachel Caine - well, that's a ... downer. This wee story is about creatures who pretty much sound like demons with "piss yellow" eyes who go around raping women who are the descendants of angels in order to have a son who they can then transfer their being into when their current host gets old.
"Trip Trap - Sherrilyn Kenyon & Kevin J Anderson - Short story of the life of a troll under a bridge guarding an evil gate. Ending too quickly.
Welded - Tom Piccirilli & T.M. Wright - WTF did I just read, other than one giant long run on sentence?
A solid selection of horror stories with a wide-ranging mix of subgenres and moods. Several quite original premises. Because of this variety, most horror fans will find something to love and something to dislike about the book, but I'd rather have that than a buffet where everything tastes the same. I especially liked "Renascence" (funeral home owner has a sideline in creating zombie servants for the rich), "Dark Witness" (a tale of demonic possession and mother-love), and "Steward of the Blood" (mysterious family legacy). You can skip through the torture-cannibalism stories and still get a lot out of this anthology.
My overall reaction to this anthology was mixed, as you may expect from a collection of stories by different authors. And I guess I’m not as much of a fan of horror as I thought as some of the books were just too gruesome for me. I liked Trip Trap; Dark Witness; T Rhymer; She, Doomed Girl; and Steward of the Blood best.
I thought some of the stories started out promising but I wasn’t thrilled with the ending. And some of the stories that I thought I wasn’t going to care for ended up as one of my favorites. All in all, it was an interesting mix.
Way more horror than fantasy. At least a couple of truly fucked up stories. However, I have to say that they were all well-written, and while some were better than others, none were bad or boring. Creativity was on full display in this group of stories, that’s for damn sure. The worst was just weirdly absurd and not my thing (and it was short).
There was only one I nearly couldn’t get through just because it was so fucked up, but regular fans of horror probably wouldn’t be fazed by it.
My faves were: Dark Witness T. Rhymer Hollow Choices Renascence Trapper Boy Sisters Before Misters
It took me four years to finish this book because every time I read a story, I was honestly discouraged from continuing to the next one. There some interesting ideas presented by some of the authors, but a lot of the problems happen in the execution of the plot . . . or the fact there really isn't a plot to a particular story. I know there's a finite amount of time in a short story, but that should encourage the writers to be extra methodical when constructing the story they want to tell and if a short form is the appropriate medium.
A wildly inconsistent set of stories. The gamut encompasses everything from Internet creepypastas to horny YA fantasy to black comedy. They’re all quite readable but not many of them stand out for me. I feel that a lot of these entries don’t make proper use of the short story format — most of them felt like worldbuilding sheets, conceptual what-ifs, or condensed novels. My favourites were Hand Job, Hollow Choices, Renascence, and Sisters Before Misters.
This took me so long to read partly because I lost it for about three months. Not really what I was expecting, as I was expecting stories with two distinct voices. Instead everyone worked well together and produced seemingly individual stories. As with every book of short stories, some were great, some were good, and some were meh.
Was going to read the stories but there was a yikes one about cat and human breeders and I lost all inclination to read this book. Read the Sarah Maclean and Sherrilyn Kenyon and Sarah Rees Brennan ones and they were just ok. Didn’t like it didn’t read the others.
"Sins Like Scarlet" by Mark Morris and Rio Youers - Allan is terminally ill so he returns to his ex-wife Holly after twenty-six years to confess that he accidentally killed their son and then framed a local child molester for the death. Holly tortures him to death.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.