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Under the Rose
Edited by Dave Hutchinson
Review by Carolyn Frank
Norilana Books trade paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781607620426
Date: 01 October 2009 / Show Official Info /

Sub rosa, in private, confidentially, Under the Rose: all phrases describing keeping something hidden, out of sight, and away from light of day and reason. The 27 fantasy tales in this anthology take the other fork and lead the reader far off the normal path. Story concepts range from pure speculation to science fiction to horror to fairy tale, with no underlying discernible theme except that of non-reality...

"Perambulations" by Mel Sterling is carnival story, told from the perspective of a carnie barker with a rather unique way of bringing in his marks.

"Chain Letter, Inc." by Jean Graham takes the concept of the chain letter and raises it to the nth degree – well, doesn't everyone know what happens when you break the chain?

"Dragon Bait" by Teri Smith is a feminist twist on the hoary chestnut of the maiden tied to the stake in front of the dragon's lair.

"Galactic Exchange" by Ralan Conley provides an answer to what unique commodity or gift we Earth-beings might have to exchange with the aliens, however we happen to stumble into them.

"Indian Summer" by Liza Granville shows what can happen when an aging wild mushroom collector meets some young independent human spirits.

"Mother Russia's Egg" by James Targett combines the firebird with the KGB, but it is not much of a battle.

Sojourner" by Lou Anders and Chris Robertson is a tale of the wandering stranger who comes to free the small town from the horrors of the Voice that demands an annual sacrifice of one of the villagers.

"The Tale of a More Ancient, Ancient Mariner" by Liza Granville provides the rather appropriate back-story of a statue of the sea-god Neptune.

“Sagekites' Land” by Ekaterina Sedia addresses the loss of a family's home and land to the ever-encroaching sea from the perspective of the last ten-year-old heir.

"California Fairy Story" by Jean Tschohl Quinn starts as a lovely tale of a British fairy smuggled into a Californian farm until the ecological chaos resulting from an invasive non-native creature is revealed.

"When Whales Cry" by Edwina Harvey provides a truly reasonable way of ending the slaughter of the whales.

The authors bring a wild variety of perspectives, hailing from Montana, Israel, Australia, Russia, and many points in between. Although only a handful of the writers are well known names, the editor has ensured that each one has provided a well-told tale. Given the large numbers of fantasies included, every reader is bound to find at least several stories to savor.

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