Uncommon Lands (Release Date: August 22, 2017)
UnCommon Lands presents 20 unique depictions of fantastic places and alien landscapes. These stories of the human (and inhuman) experience transcend time and place and will transport you to worlds you’ve never imagined. Including new and veteran voices, our UnCommon authors bring you stories which span multiple genres, but hold together on a framework of quality storytelling and a solid theme. UnCommon Lands reminds us that where we are from isn’t as important as where we are going.
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Looking for a way to escape from reality as you know it? Take the plunge into this vast collection of other worlds and dimensions full of imagination—concluding sometimes with a happy ending, or a little bit of mayhem. The beginning of the anthology includes a story summary, giving readers a sneak peek into what’s in store. Also, it allows you to pick and choose based on the types of tales that might tickle your fancy. I found it to be a welcome feature.
Some stories that stood out for me: “The Rite” by Christopher Godsoe presents a dystopia where at the age of eighteen everyone must choose between the grim reality of life as he or she knows it, or an idyllic hologram existence. We follow Nyla and her choice, which is a well-written adventure making us question what it is we truly value. I really like fiction that makes me reflect, which is exactly what happened here. “Dragomir” by Tausha Johnson is an excellent trip into another time that’s chocked full of ancient traditions and superstitions. We learn what can happen when one gets lost in the bowels of the forest. I really enjoyed this dark story where nothing is really what it seems. Johnson craftily tells the tale through the disoriented main character, making for a great surprise ending. “Anderson’s Necessaries” by Jon Etter is a fun love story set around a five-and-dime store that sells just what the small town customer needs. Ruth comes in looking for colored chalk that the owner orders for her. But the store is sneaky in weaving a happily-ever-after. “No Small Favors” by Anne Skinner really drew me in. The main character is lured to the Room that promises to give her a year of happiness. All she has to do is give up one year in exchange. Despite her instincts to run for the hills, she makes a bargain that makes us question whether or not we should embrace our seemingly hum-drum existence or go for the fantasy life. This story really had me waxing philosophical.
Overall, these tales are mostly sci-fi. So, if you are a fan of the genre, you won’t be disappointed. I fully recommend diving into the pages of this book. You might even find a favorite author to follow, as I have.
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