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Eclectica Magazine Speculative V1: Celebrating 20 Years Online Paperback – December 7, 2016
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The collection is diverse enough to interest a wide range of readers and it is good to see that a few of the writers come from countries other than the U.S. A. One or two of these stories, such as D. Harlan Wilson’s My Barbarian, a fast-flowing and short-ish story, and Sean Gill’s hilarious and sinister You have Now Eaten Thirty Four Spiders, made me laugh out aloud. As well as stories that I would describe as being ‘good chunky reads’ such as A.S. King’s River 16, Nico Vreeland’s Hide or Don’t Exist, and Iheoma Nwachukwu’s The Seven-Thousand-Year-Old Spirit, there are stories that are notable for the beauty of the writing. Indira Chandrasekhar’s Polymorphism is not only funny, grotesque and one of the strangest stories in the anthology, but it is also beautifully written, as is Morgan Brazilian’s And Falling Is Like This.
Thinking of some of the many strongly-drawn characters amongst these stories, I was particularly struck by Cy in Hide or Don’t Exist — loved him, Mwafanim in The Seven-Thousand-Year-Old Spirit, and Chesteburo, the eccentric scientist in G D Hazlewood’s well-told and clever story Philosophy of Simplicity.
Of Course, I struggle to mention every single story, all of which — and the poems too, are accomplished, but one story I particularly liked was Alana Noel Voth’s If I’d Loved the Grizzly Man. I’d come across Timothy Treadwell on whom the story is based, while researching the behaviours of bears for a story of my own, and I was amazed at what I read about him. Because I knew about Treadwell, who, one could say trod very badly indeed, I enjoyed reading If I’d Loved the Grizzly Man hugely. This anthology is certainly one whose stories will stay in my thinking for a good long while, and one which I gladly recommend to those readers who are interested in Speculative fiction.