Worlds of Light & Darkness by Angela Yuriko Smith and Scot Noel (editors)

Worlds of Light & Darkness by Angela Yuriko Smith and Scot Noel (editors)
Publisher: Uproar Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Historical
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

A haunted father who discovers a place where incomplete things—and people—are made whole. A mischievous satyr who hatches a plan to set loose chaos on a global scale. A workaholic witch in search of her kitty companion. Invasive technology to rewrite the human brain. Dragon slayers. Zombies. Time travelers. Ice skaters.

These twenty short stories stretch across multiple universes and beyond death—and yet, they remain intimate, personal, emotional. They demonstrate the strength of the human spirit to find hope and seek a better tomorrow in even the darkest times.

A selection of the best speculative fiction from DreamForge and Space & Time literary magazines, these are the stories we need today as we struggle through a pandemic, divisive politics, rampant misinformation, a belligerent defiance of facts and science, and new technologies that are already spiraling beyond our control.
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Read, my friends… and take hope.

Buckle up and prepare for a wild ride!

Lydia went to otherworldly lengths with a hungry dragon to retrieve a missing memory in “Born from Memory.” This was such an imaginative piece. I deeply enjoyed the descriptions of what memories look like and what happened to them once they ended up in that half-forgotten place. The deeper I dug into the plot, the more I looked forward to reaching the end. Every twist was beautifully done, especially the final one. This was something that could easily be expanded into a novel but was also quite satisfying as a short story.

“A Sip of Pombé” followed two astronauts as they embarked on a controversial trip from Uganda to Mars. Their clashing personalities often made me smile as I waited to find out if their mission would be successful, although I do wish more time had been spent describing how their journey went. They were facing so many serious obstacles that I sure would have liked to have more information about how they took on those challenges even though I was pleased with the later plot twists. Similar patterns of skipping over what I thought were the most exciting scenes were repeated in several other tales in this anthology as well.

The opening scene of “The Feline, the Witch, and the Universe” started with a witch named Sorscha arguing with a boarding guard about the existence of witches in outer space. I was instantly amused by the unusual combination of these themes and was as eager to find out how she’d react to being told she didn’t exist as I was to discover what business she had on a spaceship. Somehow the plot only grew more creative from that moment forward. No sooner would I adjust to one twist in it than another delightful one would appear. It was a great deal of fun to follow her adventures to their completion.

Anyone who enjoys science fiction should give Worlds of Light & Darkness a try.

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