Assassin Fantastic – story collection

The scattering of really excellent stories here were enough that they make the book a keeper, but not enough to boost it to 4 stars. Nice cover, though, especially considering it’s Jody Nye – but I need the fella on the right explained to me.

The stories:

“Echoes”, by Michelle West. Long, a little surreal; a little too dependent on the reader’s having read others of her books. Which I have, but not recently. Good story at center, but the underpinnings didn’t make as much sense to me as MW wanted them to.

“A Touch of Poison”, Jane Lindskold. Well done; well-conceived and well-told. I just wish I knew what was meant by the last sentence.

“On My Honor”, Bernie Arntzen. I hate present tense, and I’m not fond of a flippant joke-y trying-too-hard-to-be-funny tone … But this I liked. The use of present tense made sense. I wanted to know what was going to happen, and couldn’t see it coming, and was pleased with the end.  Ambiguous though it was.

War of the Roses” by Rosemary Edghill. Worth the price of admission. Wonderful – I don’t think RE can do any wrong. A smart story, and compelling, excellently told.

“He” by Leyte Jefferson. I hate present tense. I hate unreliable first-person narrators. I hate being given just not quite enough information – almost, but not quite. Argh. Happy to finish this one.

“Myhr’s Adventures in Hell” – P.N. Elrod. A little cute for my taste; not a bad story, but I don’t enjoy the brand of humor. A little flat: no surprises.

“Raven’s Cut” by Lynn Flewelling. Excellent. Creepy, well-told, exactly what I’m looking for in a story, short or long.

“Darkness Comes Together” by Mickey Zucker Reichert. I’ve heard of Nightfall; he should be one of those characters I love. The jury’s still out after this story. The character was enjoyable; the story was kind of satisfying; the writing … “as fluid as liquid”? Really? Very awkward, particularly in the metaphors. Pity.

“Dying by Inches” by Teresa Edgerton. THERE we go. Beautiful story, sharp and smart and wonderfully well told. Some of the other writers really shouldn’t allow their stories in the same compilation as a Teresa Edgerton – it just makes them look bad.

“Never Say … Uh… Die?” by Josepha Sherman. Uh … whatever. Supposed to be funny, I think, or perhaps not.

“History and Economics” by Anna Oster. Depressed now. Well enough written, though I wanted to kill the brother myself, but … depressed now.

“The Svedali Foundlings” – Fiona Patton. Way too much background and history and buildup crammed into a short story which fell pretty flat in the end; would have benefited from either less or smoother introduction of info. Meh.

“Coin of the Realm” – Kristine Kathryn Rusch. I never enjoy reading a story (much less a book) when I can’t like any of the characters. Very short, rather unpleasant.

“Green Stones” by Steven Leigh – never heard of him before; saw the twist coming fifteen leagues off – but I kept thinking what a good Twilight Zone episode it would make. Very cinematic for some reason. But … meh.

“Death Rites” by Tanya Huff – I think this was one of the reasons I bought this, and … wha-? Maybe I didn’t read well enough, but what the heck just happened?

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