4 out of 5 stars ★★★★☆
Award-winning, bestselling author Neil Gaiman demonstrates why he’s one of the hottest stars in literature today with “The Thing About Cassandra,” a subtle but chilling story of a man who meets an old girlfriend he had never expected to see. International blockbuster bestselling author Diana Gabaldon sends a World War II RAF pilot through a stone circle to the time of her Outlander series in “A Leaf on the Winds of All Hallows.” Torn from all he knows, Jerry MacKenzie determinedly survives hardship and danger, intent on his goal of returning home to his wife and baby no matter the cost. New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher presents “Love Hurts,” in which Harry Dresden takes on one of his deadliest adversaries and in the process is forced to confront the secret desires of his own heart. Just the smallest sampling promises unearthly delights, but look also for stories by New York Times bestselling romance authors Jo Beverley and Mary Jo Putney, and by such legends of the fantasy genre as Peter S. Beagle and Tanith Lee, as well as many other popular and beloved writers, including Marjorie M. Liu, Jacqueline Carey, Carrie Vaughn, and Robin Hobb. This exquisite anthology, crafted by the peerless editing team of George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, is sure to leave you under its spell.
I guess I’m a person who enjoys short stories now. This love story anthology written by sci-fi and fantasy writers of many different backgrounds was pieced together by editors George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. Many of the stories were tragic, so I hope readers do not go into it thinking it will be “happy endings,” like I naively did (I had enough hints, but chose to ignore them).
The main ticket was Diana Gabaldon’s short story “A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows,” an Outlander short, but I did not read it because I have not caught up on the series and prefer to be spoiler free! (Though I’m sure it’s wonderful.)
This collection featured many great fantasy and sci-fi writers, many of whom I did not know, but now want to read their work (already started reading Jim Butcher because of it). I particularly enjoyed “Love Hurts” by Butcher, a vignette in the Harry Dresden world, where there’s a person creates a cupid spell and makes people fall stupidly in love, then kills them. It’s only when Lt. Murphy and Dresden begin to fall for each other that they realize they are victims too.
“Rooftops” by Carrie Vaughn was a stand out favorite for me about a woman who falls for the local vigilante (who turns out to be a better boyfriend than the person she’s with). It’s a star-crossed lovers, destined to never be together type of love story.
“Blue Boots” by Robin Hobb was interesting. I have heard of Hobb before, but never read anything of hers. “Blue Boots” was about a girl who worked in the kitchens of a large estate after her family dies and the only thing she had from her family was her boots, which makes her stand out to the local singer/story teller (her crush). Bad things happen to the girl, including losing the shoes, but in the end everything works out.
“Under/Above the Water” by Tanith Lee was excellently written. I was instantly transported to the planet with three moons and the lake with the old man. I was instantly drawn to the protagonist, suffering after losing her love. Then the story took a turn and we see that the love was a reincarnation of itself and everyone has a place in time. The story was surreal, eloquent, and beautiful.
“Kaskia” by Peter S. Beagle seemed to be more “classic” sci-fi, reminding me of Edgar S. Burroughs. An older man gets a second hand computer and starts randomly pressing a blank button, which is a receiver for communications with an alien. He’s able to speak with the alien and this changes him to the point his wife leaves him. The alien also leaves him, but he has a final goodbye. Not so much a love story as a story of friendship.
Leave a comment on any particular short stories you liked or if you have any other short story collections you think I should check out!