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From the Indie Side
"From the Indie Side is a fascinating milestone for the independent publishing movement. If you want proof that Indie authors can write concise, beautifully turned out prose, then look no further than this collection of stories." - Amy Eyrie author of the Pet Sitter Amy Eyrie Review
"A great anthology like this is akin to a sumptuous buffet of delicious foods prepared by gourmet chefs." - Scott Whitmore Review
"It's a collection about beauty, love, darkness and destruction that combines into an anthology of priceless pieces." - Girl in the Woods Blogspot
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The good news is, short stories are making a comeback, fuelled largely by ebooks and self-publishing. A short story anthology is ideal for readers who adore the convenience. It’s something you can dip into occasionally and come back to anytime. Read, re-read, skip forward, skip back. Don’t like a story? That’s fine. Don’t like an author? That’s fine too – next! Sometimes it’s a great palate cleanser in between novels, especially for reviewers such as myself. They are however starting to take on a life of their own, with many authors expanding their original short story into successful novels, Hugh Howey’s Wool and Michael Bunker’s Wick both being prime examples.
For authors there are no restrictions. Write your story, publish it yourself and see what happens. Readers may like it, they may not, people may buy it, they may not. What is evident from what I’ve seen in the world of self-publishing so far is that the cream tends to rise to the top. It may take a while, but if you’re an indie author with talent the only limit to your success is yourself.
From The Indie Side is the culmination of a lot of these success stories, some now well-established, others rising stars on the indie scene, but all extremely talented and deserving of their place on this book.
The sign of a good anthology is when you’ve finished one story and feel compelled to move straight on to the next. From The Indie Side is one of those. There are twelve stories featured, from Jason Gurley’s beautiful opening story The Winter Lands to (my personal favourite) Peter Cawdron’s thrilling finale The Man Who Remembered Today, spanning an excellent range of sub-genres. While you may be familiar with some of the more popular authors featured, what impressed me most were the writers I hadn’t yet read. There are some genuine gems in there, most notably from Brian Spangler, Sarah Foster and Susan May. I have to admit, some of the more fantasy-based stories weren’t for me, but that’s purely a matter of personal taste on my part, I can’t fault the writing.
From The Indie Side is a fitting snapshot of both the health and wealth of independent science fiction right now and whether you’re a hardened fan or about to dip a toe in the indie fiction pool, there is no better place to begin than here.
In his Author’s Note, Peter Cawdron noted some important science fiction short stories, such as Asimov’s Nightfall and The Bicentennial Man and Philip K. Dick’s stories that inspired Minority Report and Total Recall. Stories like that were hugely influential to me as a teenager. I had a few collections of science fiction short stories from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, and frequently found myself returning to them over the years.
This could very well be a collection like that. Each of the stories is unique and presents their own distinct view on science fiction or fantasy (or in a few cases, both).
Along the way, I discovered some authors I hadn’t read previously – ones that I’ll definitely be paying attention to in the future – authors like Brian Spangler, Kate Danley, Sara Foster, Anne Frasier, Kev Heritage, Susan May, and Mel Hearse. I can’t find a lousy one in the bunch, honestly.
For me, though, three stories stood out. I loved all the individual tales, but the ones from Ernie Lindsey, Sara Foster, and Peter Cawdron really stuck with me and will ruminate in my mind for some time.
The story from Lindsey was so simple, yet was so relevant and so profound. “The Man With Two Legs,” is the title of Lindsey’s story, which is designed to catch the reader off-guard. Why wouldn’t a man have two legs? And thus begins a fantasy/sci-fi tale about a man who has two legs in a world where the general population has just one. One leg to keep them in line, to check their behavior, and to oppress opposition to the status quo. Those two legs represent so much, but I don’t want to spoil it for you. Suffice it to say, this story will stick with me.
Sara Foster had a short little yarn called “Cipher,” which tells the story of a woman out for a visit to her ailing father when a bomb goes off, leaving her separated from her family. The man she meets takes care of her as all the apocalyptic potentials raced through my head. Suddenly the story was over in an instant and the shocking end seared the story into my memory.
And Peter Cawdron’s “The Man Who Remembered Today” caps off the anthology. For an Australian, Mr. Cawdron does a phenomenal job of putting us inside of an Arab-American working as a paramedic in New York City when terrorists are striking all around him. The writing is top-notch and crisp, not hesitating from the plot for a second, as Kareem (the aforementioned paramedic) cannot remember yesterday, only the events of today. Events that haven’t happened yet. Cawdron expertly follows Kareem throughout his day, putting us on a collision course with an epic conclusion.
Oh…did I forget to mention these are all independent authors? I suppose the title may have given it away, but the writing sure didn’t. This is up there was any of the short stories I would have devoured as a teenager and continue to love today. Just because the word “indie” is slapped in front of someone’s title doesn’t alter the fact they are phenomenally talented at what they do.
Pick this collection up. Read it. Pick and choose if you like. At the most, the longest story will take a little over half an hour. Some will take a few minutes. All are worthy of your time.