A collection of SF, fantasy, and horror short stories by women about female characters.
Publication year: 2014
Page count: 420
Publisher: Silence in the Library
Mary Robinette Kowal: “First Flight”. This was a time travel story. In this world, people can be sent back only during their own lifetime. So the time traveler is a very old woman who has been sent back in time to record the first flight.
Sherwood Smith: “Commando Bats”. Athena gives superpowers to three old women who don’t even know each other. What will they do with the powers? The main character has suffered a stroke and is in wheelchair.
C. A. Verstraete: “The Songbird’s Search”. Marietta is a plain woman but her voice and talent for singing is without an equal.
Alma Alexander: “Vision”. How history become religion and myth.
Cleolinda Jones: “The World to Come”. In 1860, a female doctor and her friends explore a haunted house and the story behind the haunting.
Kelly Swails: “The Destruction of Society by the Fairer Sex, volume 2”. This is a “scholarly article” exploring the Watership Incident during election day 1893. It has a lot of footnotes and rather condescending attitude towards women, intentional, of course.
Nisi Shawl: “White Dawn”. The setting here was fascinating. Animals such as cats, dogs, and elephants have been modified so that they are now sentient. There are some people who don’t like that but the animals and humans who love them have formed their own community.
Danielle Ackley-McPhail: “Looking back”. The Countess Chardworth is in a difficult position and she tries to solve it with science. But she got far more than she wanted.
Cynthia Ward: “Whoever fights monsters”. Set in London 1891, the main character is looking for someone who wronged her.
Janine Spendlove: “Millie”. I’m a sucker for good time travel stories and while this was a bit predictable, it was well written and enjoyable.
Vicki Johnson-Steger: “Burly and Cavendish Blend”. This was fun adventure set in Victorian times and in Egypt. Abigail Watts is a very plainspoken young American woman. She’s also an inventor and has spent a lot of time in Egypt. So, when her cousin Dawson Willoughby finds a threat against Britain brewing in Egypt, he wastes no time in commandeering his cousin and going to Egypt to ferret out the rebels.
Tricia Barr: “Mission Accomplished”. Gemini Reed is a soldier in a war against alien invaders. While drafted into a new mission, she struggles with her memories of a previous mission.
D.L. Stever: “Vernon’s Angel”. A short and cute story about Little One who is a very little spirit trying to earn her wings to become a guardian angel.
Tera Fulbright: “Not Broken, Just Bent”. Many soldiers were broken in a war against alien creatures and Anna Chase is one of them. But she has a new job now: recruiting other former soldiers for the continuing war. She doesn’t like it, but has to earn her living.
Conley Lyons: “Oh Sisters Let’s Go Down to the River”. Mary is one of several children who leave in a homestead. One day, it’s her turn to wash the well and she finds a something quite unexpected.
Jean Rabe: “Visage”. Devon’s father owns a cosmetics company and he’s gone missing on a trip in Amazon to find new plants. Devon hires a crew and goes after him.
Tanya Spackman: “Moon Fall”. Amaia Bradley’s mother has just died and while going through her things, Amaia finds out that she has an older half-sister who was given to adoption. Then the whole world finds out that about five months from now a giant meteorite is going to hit the Moon and all life will end on Earth.
Jennifer Brozek: “Janera”. Jan Surta is a young girl living on a farm with her mother. One day, she finds her mother shot in their home and Jan finds out that she’s now who she thinks she is. Apparently, this is the opening of a new YA book.
Maggie Allen: “Lunar Camp.” Bee’s parents force her to go on a summer camp on the Moon. Bee hates it because she loves plants and Moon doesn’t have them.
Gail Z. Martin: “Retribution”. Cassidy Kincaid owns an antique and curio shop but in reality she and her friends hunt dangerous magical and supernatural items and take them away before the wrong people can get them. In this story they find a deck of cards and a flask from the 1920s.
Diana Peterfreund: “Huntress Sinister”. Set in a Cloister of (former) unicorn hunters, Melissende Holtz is one of the young women training there. She detests the Chosen One whom she thinks gets all the credit for no reason.
Jean Marie Ward: “A Gap in the Fence”. Ana is a ten-year-old girl and she thinks that she can see fairies. Her best friend is Shari and her dog has been ill for a long time. Ana overhears that Shari’s mother intends to secretly put down the dog. Maybe the fairies can heal the dog?
Short story collection can be a mixed bag sometimes. However, all of the stories were at least entertaining and I quite liked most of them. My favorites were Kowal’s time travel story, Ward’s (“Whoever fights monsters”) very short tale with familiar characters in new a situation, Lyons’ ghostly western flavored story, Spackman’s very intimate end-of-the-world story, and Allen’s “Lunar Camp”. Quite a few of the stories are part of a larger world, so the reader can sample them here.
The main characters are quite diverse. Most of them fall into the usual 20-30 years old women but there were also several children and a couple of old women, one of them disabled. That was great.
Genres range from urban fantasy to military science fiction and a couple of horror stories.