Short story collection where the idea was to give writers pulp titles and for them to write a non-pulp story based on the title they chose. I loved that idea. The stories cover different genres. Not all of them are SF/F.

Format: ebook
Page count: 237
Publisher: WMG Publishing

“The Revolt of the Philosophers of Fomalhaul” by Phaeda Weldon. Aaron to ordered to kill a child but he struggles with the order and finds out something terrible is happening.

“Marvelous Contrivance of the Heart” by Cat Rambo. Mike builds the most intricate and life-like dioramas. His wife hates the “dollhouses”.

“The Flower of the Tabernacle” by Annie Reed. A young woman appears to have taken her own life in a Catholic church but a determined cop investigates.

“Lost in the Tarnished Cube” by Thomas K. Carpenter. Mage Vance has bought, at long last, a wizard’s tower to himself. Unfortunately, the loan he had to take has stricter terms than he initially thought.

“Crypt of the Metal Ghouls” by Angela Penrose. A group of teens work as salvagers in the ruins of former civilization. They enter into a Ghoul house and find out how it got its name.

“The Imperfect Otter Empire” by Dayle A. Dermatis. Alyse has just lost her fiancée and her job. She’s always adored otters so she goes to the otter exhibit to wonder what she’s going to do next.

“The Unknowable Mansion of the Night” by Sandra M. Odell. In a cyberpunk society where people without constant access are called deadheads, Willy Shakes is one of the deadheads but he also has a reputation as dependable worker. Cecil B. de Millionaire hires Willy to do a job.

“The Portal of Wrong Love” by Dean Wesley Smith. A Poker Boy adventure where couples are disappearing.

“Sacred Poet from the Future” by Kelly Cairo. The main character helps a new employee in her grandfather’s firm and strange things happen.

“Swamp of the Prehistoric Clan” by Christy Fifield. Real estate developers think that the old residents are at their mercy, but some of the “fossils” decide to fight back.

“The Magnificent Citadel” by Rebecca M. Senese. Charlotte has a chance to pay back to her bully at school but is it worth it?

“Night of the Dancing Champions” by Kristine Katheryn Rusch. In 1941 Gertie was the jitterbug champion. Years later, the champions are recognized once again and Gertie relives her glory days.

“The Delicatessen from Beyond the Monolith” by Lisa Silverthorne. Chance is a cop who wakes up every night from an awful nightmare where he kills his partner Boone. Chance, and other cops, have started to think Boone is dirty. And for some reason the local deli owner keeps giving Chance wrong sandwiches.

“Prism of the Crab Gods” by Kelly Washington. Miles isn’t what his father wanted him to be, everyone says he’s slow and he only cares about counting; so his dad beats him and the others in their family, too. Miles prays that his best friends, the crab gods, will help his family.

“The Gleaming Crater” by Thea Hutcheson. Even though Janos is a mage, he feels that his life is going nowhere. But when he gets a vision from a goddess and meets a strange mage, who seems to be part of the vision, he is swept into a grand adventure.

Some of the stories are quiet and “mundane” (without any SF or fantasy elements), many are exciting, and one of them is even epic. My favorites were “the Revolt”, “Lost in the Tarnished Cube”, and “Crypt of the Metal Ghouls”. The cyberpunk story has some interesting elements but the whole plugging your brain to a computer squicks me out too much.

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