Ian Whates of Newcon Press has a new collection, launched at Recombination, in which we are taken from our comfort zones. It has an intriguing set of contributors from the well known to the less so, including Pat Cadigan, Brian Stableford, Chaz Brenchley, Hal Duncan and so on. Apparently it is Hal whom we have to thank for this collection.
His short story, a version of a drunken rant which takes off slightly from some of the themes of his novels, is told in the first person and draws you right in. Its an uncomfortable story but entertaining. Chaz Brenchley has a second sf short story (must be something in the water) which is has a horrific twist but it is Brian Stableford’s short story which, to me, really shines. It extends the theme of immortality but allows us to see that we need to make the most of our four score and ten.
Andrew Hook’s slipstream story threw me as I’ve traveled on the rail line that he talks about so I spent part of the time remembering the journey but its uncomfortable ending which jars slightly.
Amanda Hemingway’s story is labelled a jeu d’esprit but comes across as a less than inviting parody which neither enlightens or raises a laugh. It contains a barelly concealed contempt for the reader who is very likely to be a genre fan.
Apart from that one story, this is a collection to dip into from time to time. I’m not sure it hangs together as well as Time Pieces but when it hits to mark, it does so well.