This anthology features writing by many new authors: it mentions in several cases that a story is the author’s second published work.
Highlights – four-star range
- Elites – Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Veterans and PTSD – the narrator is running a successful halfway house but with everyone having blocked memories of what the stress was, it’s too hard to get over the past. ‘Hitting her in home’ means triggering the ‘mama bear’ instinct. The writing is terse and true to the character, and very effective. A classic babes with blasters story.
- Sweeter far than flowing honey– Stephen Leigh. War is virtualized, and you teleoperate drone-ships in to bomb the ‘Ghastlies’. The story intercuts with an ancient Celtic warrior heading into battle. I don’t recall what on earth the title meant. I was expecting a temporal or cross-species ‘gotcha’, but I don’t think I ever saw the real hook coming. Made me tear up a smidge even: now that is a succesful short story.
- Token – asian/indian lottery to go protect the country as the mystic defender. Was promising, but did not live up to its potential.
- Fighting chance – Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
- Yes, there were some I could not finish
- We’ll let them with just a stern warning and no permanent record – especially as this was a first offence for some.
- Sadly, many of the pieces were not polished enough – too studied an approach with adjective-studded prose, or too many thwacks with a heavy baton of exposition.