October 2003
2003 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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Imaginings - An Anthology of Long Short Fiction
by Keith R.A. DeCandio (ed)
Pocket Books Trade: ISBN 0743466659 PubDate: 08/01/03
Review by Ernest Lilley

352 pgs. List price $14
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Ten not too short stories from ten not to be missed authors. That's what the irrepressible Keith R.A. DeCandido has brought together in Imaginings. His aim was to put together a collection of original novelettes (silly word) in the tradition of the "old fashioned anthology" where the unifying theme was good fiction, rather than some trumped up thesis. With Imaginings (and we won't be surprised to find an Imaginings 2 after the word gets out) he has succeeded admirably. Stories like Harry Turtledove's "Next Year in Jerusalem", Craig Gardner's "A Planet Called Elvis" and Sarah Zettel's "Insider" give this collection the kind of presence that you hope to find in Gardner Dozois's annual roundup, but here it is, hot off the presses.

Of the ten stories in the collection, I liked six very much: Next Year in Jerusalem by Harry Turtledove, The Thalatta Thesis by Charles L. Harness, A Planet Called Elvis by Craig Shaw Gardner, Inescapable Justice by Aaron Rosenburg, Walking Contradiction by Nancy Jane Moore and Of a Sweet Slow Dance in the Wake of Temporary Dogs by Adam-Troy Castro. Some were funny, a few sad, and all happened to be SF which isn't surprising, given my taste for the stuff.

Of the remaining four, Totem by Janet Berliner and Great White Hope are both contemporary fantasies - one set in Africa and one in Mexico, and though they're well written, neither grabbed me. As the only non-SF in the collection, I wonder if Keith wouldn't have done better to hold off for his next volume while keeping an SF theme going throughout for this one. Neither Amends by H. Courreges LeBlanc, nor Insider by Sarah Zettel turned me on either, but both are perfectly well done...though not done to my taste.

All in all, I'm staying with my first impression, that Keith has done an excellent job on his first outing as an anthologist and he should certainly put together and Imaginings 2.

2003 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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