01/01/2011. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Norilana Books. 298 page enlarged paperback. Price: $12.95 (US), GBP 9.50 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-6072-061-7.
check out website: www.norilana.com
As with all anthologies, there is always a matter of scattershot with stories to ensure there is something for a wide range of readers. The emphasis of the ‘Warrior Wisewomen’ volumes is to put the lady of the species in the centre of the action and how they would deal with things as compared to the opposite sex. Editor Roby James points out that the number of male authors submitting and her accepting stories from has actually got up quite dramatically. Whether this is because more male authors have discovered this outlet for material or there aren’t enough female authors submitting is hard to say. For my own part, the quality of who writes a story shouldn’t really matter and any judgement based on character portrayal and good plotting. That in itself can cause its own problems amongst the nineteen stories here.
Take ‘Tourist Trap’ by Aimee C. Amodio for example. A world where the micro-organisms of the sea yield a siren call to attract and devour you, stopped only by your wearing of ear mufflers to keep the sound out is pretty nifty. The colonists who live there have an unusual tourist trade, often because those coming might be considering death as an option. Amodio’s plot becomes a bit bitty between the tourist guide and the tourist so I’m left unsure as to whether that was because of a desire to keep the word count down or not but the ideas do show some promise.
The same could also be said of ‘The Envoy’ by Al Onia where a human female envoy seeking peace between two alien ambassadors has to initiate a mind share which could have done with a little more development towards its finale.
‘Bearer Of Burdens’ by Melissa Mead tells of a rather obese Bearer Amberlynn and her place in her society as although she is a ruler of sorts, is stuck by the rules she works under. Painted for posterity by a human artist, her secret plan to get one of her subjects off planet for a different education. This is nicely realised even though it tends to have an Arabic feel to it.
A lovely little gem is ‘Mayfly’ by Gary Kloster where extended life can only be given to women and one of their number, Doctor Edda Wolfe, finds herself facing brain damage if she doesn’t cooperate in handing over access codes to her spacecraft by male terrorists. Apart from the well-realised characters, this is a reality that deserves to be seen again as its nicely thought out because so much is suggested that you would want to see it in operation.
Paul Abbamondi’s ‘Sustain Nothing’ has a future where people can be transformed into Informers. Not police narks but people connected to all the information around them which they give answers to when asked. Maurene, one of their number, wants to get away from the information over-load and inadvertently turns off Informers to all the access causing chaos. Well, the rest is spoiler. Although this is really a standard plot, the dressing for the Informer society makes this one rather special and another reality that deserves looking at again.
‘The Truth One Sees’ by Kathy Hurley takes a futuristic look at tarot reading using holograms although things aren’t quite what they appear. It’s also another story which I would like to see more of this reality. Then again, the same could also be said for Leslie Brown’s ‘A Pearl Of Great Price’ where a human ‘pet’ is doing a lot more for her mistress. When stories show there is a lot more going on than a specific event, it invariably shows a lot more thought has been going on.
‘Dark Mirrors’ by John Walters shows the Earth at war with aliens who counter every measure they come up with. Into this mix is Bethany Williamson, a pacifist imprisoned because she refuses to go to war and suffering for it. Margaret Keller has to persuade her to help but not in the way you would expect. Totally gripping and Bethany shows some remarkable strength of character.
‘A Bird In The Hand’ by Douglas Smith has a woman fed chemicals to prove whether she’s human or a shape-shifter which is also rather harrowing but well worth reading to see where it will end.
Although the first few stories in this volume didn’t quite grip me, persevere cos the latter part of this book is sheer magic, gripping and as I’ve frequently pointed out, I hope these writers develop these realities more and show us more stories using them. I can see many break-out authors here.
The deadline for submissions to the next volume is 31 July 2011 and you should check their website if you want to submit stories.
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