No Longer Dreams: An Anthology of Horror, Fantasy, and Science Fiction
edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Lee Hillman, Jeff Lyman
Lite Circle Books; 256 pp.
How best to judge an anthology? Is it as bad as its worst story or as good as its best? If I were to stick to those extremes then this is either a 256-page piece of kindling or one of the best anthologies of the year. (Which of those do you think they’ll quote for their website?) Like everything else though the truth falls somewhere in the middle.
This is an odd bunch of stories. Danielle Ackley-McPhail runs an online writers group and that’s where most of the stories originally came from. Needless to say, it’s a rather uneven collection—there are a few stories that should have had another draft or two before ever seeing the light of day—but there are enough quality stories to make it a worthwhile purchase. Heck, the three (!) stories from John C. Wright are reason enough to go out and buy it. Wright’s got a beautifully clear style that reminds me some of Niven’s best short fiction. Other highlights include humorous bits like Darrell Schweitzer’s “Kvetchula” and C.J. Henderson’s “Wezleski to the Rescue” (originally printed in Nth Degree)—whining vampires and wacky scientists, respectively; Steve Johnson’s brilliantly clever H.P. Lovecraft-meets-E.E. “Doc” Smith pastiche, “The Doom That Came To Necropolis”; the tense science fiction culture clash of James Chambers’ “Law of the Kuzzi” and the beautiful historical fantasy “The Poppet” from L. Jagi Lamplighter. So, for a small-press anthology, this is a fun collection with a little something for everyone.