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From the Trenches: Anthology of Speculative War Stories by J.P. Haines & Samantha Henderson (Eds.)
Review by Sam Tomaino
Carnifex Press Trade  ISBN/ITEM#: 0978958322
Date: Fall 2006 List Price $12.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Article /

From official release/information:

From the Trenches – An Anthology of Speculative War Stories.
Published by Carnifex Press, PO Box 1686, Ormond Beach, FL 32175.
Table of Contents: The Other Side by Rafael Cariaga * Wonder Maul Doll by Kameron Hurley * Maes Gwenllian by J. Anderson Coats * Victim by Kenneth J. Chiacchia * Possible Grief by Josh Rountree * Iphigenia in Ursalim by L.R. Snow * Harris on the Pig: Practical Hints for the Pig Farmer by Anil Menon * Dawn's Early Light by Pati Nagle * And Everything but Wretchedness Forgotten by Michael Sellars * Under the Skin, Under the Bones by Steve Vernon * F*cking Naplam Bastard by John A. Pitts * So Hot by Terry Hayman * Companies of the Heart, Come With Fire and Sword by Jay Lake * Vera Lynn Sings For the Boys by Mikal Trimm * Across a Blackened Landscape by Pam McNew

From the Trenches is a 172-page paper bound anthology of "speculative war stories", mostly by new writers. There is some real talent here and all but three of the stories got a Very Good from me.

"The Other Side" by Rafael Cariaga is a nice little introduction to the anthology as a soldier prepares to go into battle. "Wonder Maul Doll" by Kameron Hurley features woman warriors of the future looking for organic WMD's. "Maes Gwenllian" by J. Anderson Coats is a tale of long ago with the Welsh fighting the Normans. There is little fantasy element in this, but it does have a twist at the end. "Victim" by Kenneth J. Chiacchia is another future battle with soldiers fighting a truly frightening and unusual foe. Josh Rountree's "Possible Grief" is a mythic tale of the "War Witch" of a small town.

"Iphigenia in Ursalim" by L.R. Snow is a chilling tale of a very surprising warrior. "Harris on the Pig: Practical Hints for the Pig Farmer" by Anil Menon is about a very different kind of battle waged by a political fanatic. Pati Nagle's "Dawn's Early Light" is a tale of the Civil War and a very different "ministering angel" who cares for dying men. The title has a surprising meaning and this tale was my favorite in the volume. "And Everything but Wretchedness Forgotten" by Michael Sellars is a little less good. It's a depressing tale set in the trenches of World War I. "Under the Skin, Under the Bones" by Steve Vernon is a nice little horror story about a German soldier on the Russian Front in the Second World War.

"F*cking Naplam Bastard" by John A. Pitts is set in Vietnam where a soldier must fight a little more than the Viet Cong. Terry Hayman's "So Hot" is an OK story set in Iraq in which a soldier encounters another soldier who has gone insane from the war. "Companies of the Heart, Come With Fire and Sword" is by Jay Lake, who frequently contributes to small press publications like this one. Here he tells of a war in some medieval fantasy type world in which soldiers live as refugees in a neighboring country after losing a war. This had a great ending and is just the sort of story that one expects from Lake. I didn't much care for "Vera Lynn Sings For the Boys" by Mikal Trimm. I think it makes the mistake of projecting today's values into the past. Last of all, "Across a Blackened Landscape" by Pam McNew is a good little story of a soldier home from Vietnam but haunted by nightmares.

This is a nice little book and is accompanied by a chapbook of poetry featuring names like Bruce Boston, James S. Dorr, Joe Haldeman and others. I highly recommend buying it.

(Source: Carnifex Press)

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