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Cone Zero: Nemonymous

01/08/2009. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy Cone Zero Nemonymous in the USA - or Buy Cone Zero Nemonymous in the UK

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pub: Megazanthus Press. 268 page enlarged paperback. ISSN: 1474-2020. Price: 10.00 (UK).

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An anthology of fifteen stories by different authors whose names aren't listed with them but only on the back cover and six of them called 'Cone Zero' suggests there is a common theme in here. You don't really get much information as to what is actually going on here. Looking at their website, 'Cone Zero' also appears to be one of a few anagrams of these letters. I get the overall impression that the publisher wants to prove that the point that the stories shouldn't be trapped by who wrote them and any influences that can be on whether you read them or not.

On some levels this could be seen as a noble gesture and who wrote what is revealed is revealed in the next volume. As such, I can only address my comments to the stories not who wrote them here. It appears that some of the authors involved in this anthology decided to have cones as a contribution to their stories but others ignored it completely. I'll pick and choose a few of the stories that worked for me.

'The Point Of Oswald Masters' is about an eccentric artist setting up a display forgets to include the sixth cone before a press showing and with the help of the curator suggests it's infinitely small. His assistant then decides to take credit. In some respects, this story could have raised the eccentricity levels a bit more, even so it's an interesting read.

The first of the actual named 'Cone Zero' stories actually starts off well with a recovering patient discovering that he is in a ward governed by people who aren't actually qualified to give medical treatment and only learning from books. It's a shame that this imaginative idea wasn't developed sufficiently to take its own direction rather than a standard escape by one of its patients.

'Always More Than You Know' tells of a Hollywood stuntman and the mysterious star he stunts for. The research in this story makes the tale very vivid with an interesting Twilight Zone-like ending. It might have deserved a stronger twist at the end but that's more to do with keeping the word-play up rather than end abruptly.

'Cone Zero Ultimatum' is a future where the AIs of future household appliances seek their own freedom in something resembling 'Watership Down'. It was only towards the end that I noticed the similarity. Most of the time, though, this story speeds along with some funny dialogue and funny AIs as they seek release from oppression from their flesh owners. The ending could have been sharper but its author shows great promise.

I came away from this book with a feeling some of the stories were either there to keep the numbers up or appeal to different types of readers. Certainly, my three choice examples are of note. There are few anthologies out on the market and the fact this series gives exposure to new names on the block deserves encouragement and your support.

GF Willmetts

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This book has 58 votes in the sci-fi charts

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