Curiosity Quills: Chronology

Curiosity Quills: ChronologyThis anthology contains 24 short stories of speculative fiction in a range of genres and styles.

  • ‘Draconic King’ by James Wymore: seeing weakness in a neighbouring country, a young king attempts to convince the dragon who aided his ancestors to join his invasion.

  • ‘Wind Up Hearts’ by Stan Swanson: two people, granted longevity by an experimental clockwork heart, seek a future defined by more than their mutual technology.

  • ‘Flight of the Pegasus’ by Darin Kennedy: a government agent attempts to convince a savant to aid him in a mission against a super-villain.

  • ‘That Which is Hidden’ by Julie Frost: A werewolf resolves to track the killers of the only woman who didn’t judge him by his condition.

  • ‘Whitechapel’ by Andrew Buckley: when the forces of darkness clothe themselves in the form of prostitutes and the downtrodden, a man is forced to keep the streets of Victorian London safe.

  • ‘The Lair’ by Tony Healey: an adventurer flees an ancient temple with a fabled idol, but the journey back proves to be more dangerous than the one there.

  • ‘Signs Unseen’ by J.P. Moynahan: a man who values money above race falls foul of unspoken “laws” about segregation.

  • ‘In the Clutches of the Mummy Prince’ by B.C. Johnson: a lantern-jawed manly hero and his long-suffering manservant investigate a plot to release the undead throughout Chile.

  • ‘Bait and Witch’ by J.P. Sloan: a classically trained sorcerer accepts a job to protect a witch from her purportedly Christian neighbours.

  • ‘Inmate #85298’ by Andrew J. Rausch: a prisoner survives his execution; but – unlike the urban myths suggest – the state wants to keep trying.

  • ‘Lava’ by Piers Anthony: a man in love with spirit of a volcano must find a middle ground between flesh-searing heat and dead rock.

  • ‘Strange Flesh’ by Katie Young: three members of a very exclusive dining society travel to a Scottish island in search of a mysterious fish mentioned in one of Darwin’s diaries.

  • ‘Wampus Cat’ by Scott Nicholson: a young woman joins her new boyfriend on a trip to the wilderness, only to discover he is neither over his ex nor a woodsman.

  • ‘Yours Until the Ink Dries’ by Jordan Elizabeth: a girl from a poor family escapes drudgery and bullying by drawing the fairies that others seem to not see.

  • ‘The Room Below’ by Wilbert Stanton: a young woman is committed to a mental institution after a suicide attempt. When a lurking terror begins to take inmates at night, she is forced to question whether she wants to die.

  • ‘The Comeback’ by Tara Tyler: a young man with terminal cancer is offered a second chance at life by a backwoods shaman

  • ‘The Bull’ by J.R. Rain: a superhero tells his tawdry origin story.

  • ‘After-Party’ by Mark W. Woodring: when a physics experiment goes wrong, two brothers with very different lives try to make sense of the new world.

  • ‘The Unattended Life’ by J.E. Anckorn: a man who spends his life cleaning away the signs of violent death discovers that hiding the signs doesn’t solve the problem.

  • ‘The Colorado King’ by Nathan L. Yocum: a preacher leads his daughter across a post-apocalyptic wasteland in search of his wife’s family.

  • ‘Gookie Visits Her Moma’ by G. Miki Hayden: when a family from her home planet seek the return of their son, it seems an easy way for a bounty hunter to earn money and visit her mother.

  • ‘Above the Clouds’ by Richard Roberts: a sentient aircraft struggles to escape negative comparisons with his predecessor.

  • ‘Innocent Deception’ by Matthew S. Cox: the daughter of a bioengineering magnate is kidnapped by terrorists. But is she really who she seems or one of the many duplicates rumoured to exist?

  • ‘Limited Liability’ by Matthew Graybosch: an entrepreneur planning to move a small moon loses his investors one by one to a mysterious circumstances.

The range of tones, from lightly comic to bleak, and genres are well-distributed through the collection, creating a solid contrast between one story and the next. Therefore, even if reading back-to-back without a break, readers are unlikely to suffer the theme-fatigue that can come from some anthologies.

However, this variation of voice, theme, and such also increases the risk a reader will not enjoy every story. With many stories to choose from, this is more likely to be a minor rather than significant issue, if it is an issue at all.

A number of these stories are set in the same world as novels penned by their authors. Each of these functions narratively as a stand-alone; however, depending on which contributors a reader is already familiar with, some readers might find nuances of background and detail confusing.

Of those authors I have read, the stories seemed to represent a contributors works making this a useful introduction.

Overall – while some of the stories were more to my taste than others – I enjoyed this anthology. I recommend it to readers seeking a range of speculative fiction or new authors to stalk.

I received a free copy from Jordan Elizabeth in exchange for a fair review.

One thought on “Curiosity Quills: Chronology

  1. Reblogged this on Mirymom's Blog and commented:
    What I love about anthologies is the opportunity to get an introduction to several writers’ works in one single book. That way you can fill up your TBR list with the stuff you like best.


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