The Contrary Gardener
by Christopher Rowe
Edited by Jonathan Strahan
Review by Sam Tomaino
Date: 23 November 2012 http://www.nightshadebooks.com/category/eclipse/.
Editor Jonathan Strahan says of the new series: "We've taken the dream of Eclipse — that idea of the rare and unusual, the strange and eldritch — and we've stripped it down and rebuilt it for a new decade. Now we're taking it out for a spin. There may be things added to it in the coming months, and things removed, but at its core there will be at least two new stories every month, the best I can find by the most exciting writers in the field."
Eclipse Online is a free, online publication. No subscription or sign-up is required. There will be a story released by editor Jonathan Strahan every first and fourth Monday of the month. Check them out. Each new story will be reviewed separately. This first one, "The Contrary Gardener" by Christopher Rowe, was posted on October 8, 2012. It would have been reviewed sooner, but for the storm.
The story seems to be taking place in a near-future in a Louisville, Kentucky around Derby Day. Kay Lynne lives on her own, even though her father is constantly keeping tabs on her. She has decided to grow root vegetables (turnips, yams, potatoes, radishes, beets) rather than the beans her father approves of for her annual Victory Garden. There is some war on but we only get hints of hit. There are machines around that are becoming more intelligent and doing more things. He father and his friends don't like this and want her help.
As the story concludes, we find a different meaning in the title than someone who just grows roots or beans. It all makes for a subtly told story and a good beginning to a new series.
Look for this and more stories at Eclipse Online.