I know I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of the original anthology, and I’d like to take the opportunity to draw your attention to two new ones that have crossed my table in the last month or so.
The first is Lazarus Risen, edited by Hayden Trenholm and Mike Rimar. Here’s how the editors describe the premise:
Lazarus Risen presents sixteen stories from around the world that explore the economic, political, social and psychological consequences of life extension, human cloning, the hard upload and other forms of The Biological Singularity.
It’s very rare that I find an anthology where I thought every single story was a winner, but this is one of them. Here are some of my favourites: Sean McMullen’s “The Life and Soul of the Party” tells us about the steampunk-style resurrection of Oscar Wilde. Matthew Shean’s “Sylvia and Larry,” where a woman needs a new body before her husband’s Alzeimers makes it impossible for him to recognize her new self, is vaguely reminiscent of Spider Robinson’s “Antimony” but hits harder, I think.
Given the premise, it’s not surprising that a few of the stories verge on horror, like Fiona Moore’s “Seal,” or “Lost Flesh,” by Suzanne Church.
This and other great themed anthologies like Blood and Water and Strange Bedfellows, come from Bundoran Press Publishing House, based in Ottawa, Canada. Bundoran specializes in SF, the harder the better.
The second anthology I’d like to highlight is Strangers Among Us, Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law. Here’s the premise:
Nineteen science fiction and fantasy authors tackle the division between mental health and mental illness; how the interplay between our minds’ quirks and the diverse societies and cultures we live in can set us apart . . .
Though some of the stories feature fairly conventional outcasts, the best were those told from the point of view of people with mental illnesses. Probably my favourite story here is James Alan Gardner’s “The Dog and the Sleepwalker.” This story plays with several themes familiar to the SF reader, such as the necessity to preserve an unaltered version of a biological construct, in this case a human being, and the shortcomings of a digital backup system for humans.
Vying for the position of my favourite story from this collection (I said “probably” didn’t I?) is “Marion’s War” by Hayden Trenholm, which deals with a truly twisted form of brainwashing, or maybe it’s Robert Runté’s “The Age of Miracles” which is frankly too complicated to explain. Whimsical, but complicated.
Stangers Among Us is published by Laksa Media Groups.
Violette Malan is the author of the Dhulyn and Parno series of sword and sorcery adventures (now available in omnibus editions), as well as the Mirror Lands series of primary world fantasies. As VM Escalada, she writes the upcoming Farman Prophecy series. Find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @VioletteMalan.