I got a copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program. It consists of 27 stories that range from fantasy, to sci-fi, to general fiction. Overall it is an interesting collection of stories.
Most of the stories have some sort of fantasy aspect to them; something fantastical happens, people have special powers, or events defy reality.
For me the highlights of this book were "Wildfire in Manhattan" by Joanne Harris, "Goblin Lake" by Michael Swanwick, "Leif in the Wind" by Gene Wolfe, "A Life in Fictions" by Kat Howard, and "The Devil on the Staircase" by Joe Hill.
The majority of the stories were good reads and the collection is extremely eclectic. It would have been nice to have some underlying theme tie the stories together; but, as stated in the beginning, this is a collection of stories that was made for the love of a story. This collection of stories is definitely intended for an adult audience, there is lots of swearing in some of the stories and some sex and violence.
The stories included are listed below along with a brief description and ratings given.
- Blood by Roddy Doyle (4/5)
Interesting story about a normal family man who craves blood. Love the open ending and the crazy dialogue.
- Fossil-Figures by Joyce Carol Oates (4/5)
About twin brothers that are very different but undeniably entwined.
- Wildfire in Manhattan by Joanne Harris (5/5)
A story about gods in human form trying to outrun Darkness in Manhattan. I loved the sardonic tone of this story, it was a lot of fun. This setting and the interesting characters could make an excellent book.
- The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman (4/5)
Fantasy story about a dwarf seeking a cave full of gold. Not one of Gaiman's best stories, but entertaining all the same.
- Unbelief by Michael Marshall Smith (4/5)
A darkly ironic and somewhat disturbing story about an assassin who is paid to take out a certain well-known old man. I enjoyed it; it was a good story and a fun read.
- The Stars Are Falling by Joe R. Lansdale (4/5)
This is a story about a soldier coming home from four years of war. This one is a bit disturbing as well, but well-written with great description (it is pretty bleak though).
- Juvenal Nyx by Walter Mosley (3/5)
Story about a man that gets turned into a child of the night. I didn't like this story all that much; I just thought it was kind of boring. It is well written though.
- The Knife by Richard Adams (3/5)
Very short story about a bullied boy who takes revenge. It was okay, but nothing special.
- Weights and Measures by Jodi Picoult (4/5)
A heartbreaking story about a couple whose daughter dies. Somehow they are literally physically affected by the death. I didn't really understand exactly what was going on, but the story was well-written and the author captured what it feels like to loose someone very well.
- Goblin Lake by Michael Swanwick (5/5)
A story about a soldier who is pushed into Goblin Lake and finds out his life is not what he thought it was. I really enjoyed this story and thought it was very creative.
- Mallon the Guru by Peter Straub (3/5)
A very short story that was about a man going to seek out advice from a medicine man. This story was very obscure and a bit creepy.
- Catch and Release by Lawrence Block (4/5)
A very creepy story about a man who likes to "catch and release" single women. Super creepy but very well written and overall well done.
- Polka Dots and Moonbeams by Jeffrey Ford (3/5)
Some sort of story done in a roaring twenties style about people pulling a hit job, dancing, and trying to "get out". I never really understood what was going on here.
- The Loser by Chuck Palahnuik (3/5)
About some frat member taking part in a game show. I didn't enjoy this story all that much, it was okay.
- Samantha's Diary by Diana Wynne Jones (4/5)
This is the diary of a girl who gets to play out the 12 Days of Christmas, much to her horror. This started out as a funny story but did get a bit tedious towards the end.
- Land of the Lost by Stewart O'Nan (4/5)
A lady becomes obssessed with finding and digging up the body of a missing girl. It was an okay story, an interesting idea but nothing too exciting.
- Leif in the Wind by Gene Wolfe (5/5)
Very good story about some explorers on a mission back from space. Wonderfully written and excellent characters.
- Unwell by Carolyn Parkhurst (4/5)
This is about a mean old lady who takes a sort of revenge on her younger sister. Nothing really fantasy about it. It is ironic though and it was well written.
- A Life in Fictions by Kat Howard (5/5)
I loved this story. It is about a girl whose boyfriend keeps writing her into his stories, literally...she actually physically ends up in the stories. Very creative and well written, I loved it!
- Let the Past Begin by Jonathan Carroll (4/5)
An intriguing story about a man who is dating a pregnant reporter who may, or may not, be crazy. It is a very incomplete story though.
- The Therapist by Jeffrey Deaver (3/5)
An okay story about a therapist who tries to cure people who are infected with evil neme. For one woman he takes his therapy too far. This story was okay, but kind of boring and drawn out.
- Parallel Lines by Tim Powers (3/5 stars)
Story about twin sisters: one who is dead and one who isn't. Okay story but I didn't find it incredible engaging.
- The Cult of the Nose by Al Arrantonio (4/5 stars)
A man is obsessed with hunting down a cult of people who wear fake noses. This story was well written and engaging, if a bit strange.
- Human Intelligence by Kurt Anderson (4/5 stars)
Very good sci-fi story about an alien spy that has been forgotten by his home planet. Interesting and easy to read, I enjoyed this story.
- Stories by Michael Moorcock (2/5)
I had a hard time getting through this one. It is talking about a group of people who write fiction for a magazine called Mysteries. There is so much name-dropping that it is hard to keep anything straight.
- The Maiden Flight of MacCauley's Bellerphon by Elizabeth Hand (4/5 stars)
An interesting story about a group of guys who try to recreate the first flight of the Bellerphon. It was an enjoyable story and had some interesting twists in it.
- The Devil on the Staircase by Joe Hill (5/5)
I enjoyed this story a lot. It is written in a fairy tale style and was very creative.