Short story anthologies can be hit or miss, especially ones that dare to include a variety of genres, as Escape! from the Writing Bloc Cooperative does. 20 stories by 20 writers, ranging from political satire to speculate fiction and sci-fi to literary fiction (and everything in between), all on the theme of escapism.
There were only two stories that I DNF’d in this collection, and one other story that I read but just didn’t like. That can make it difficult to rate the collection as a whole, but the remaining 17 stories grabbed my attention so fully, I have no regrets. I found a number of new-to-me writers that I’ve been sure to follow on Twitter/Goodreads so I’m sure not to miss anything else they’ve written.
Brief notes on some of my favorite stories:
I’m not normally into horror, but “Ambition” by Deborah Munro had me on the edge of my seat, and I loved its solid footing in science.
“I Wish It Happened” by Durena Burns is a touching mother-daughter story set just before and during an apocalyptic event.
I totally gasped at the end of “Something in Mind” by Mike Donald and almost had an existential crisis. Very cool premise.
“The Faoii of Ashwood” by Tahani Nelson pushed me outside my comfort zone genre-wise. This beautiful story reminded me that there are fantasy writers out there writing in a style that I can connect with, even if I think I don’t like fantasy.
“Convict 45” by Michael James Welch is some delicious political satire, you guys. The more I think about it, the more I’m tickled by its dark humor.
You want robots? Jason Chestnut gives us a robot in “Like Clockwork,” and closes out the anthology with a surprising bang.
Escape! is perfect for someone who has a quirky sense of humor and enjoys good stories. Someone who leans toward SFF, but wants something different. The Writing Bloc indie authors delighted me with unique premises and huge imaginations.