You’re A Dog, Jack by Joe Verola

JACK
You’re A Dog, Jack by Joe Verola
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (258 pgs)
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

You’re a Dog Jack is about a lovable womanizer named Jack and his terrifying and supernatural adventure as he fights to become the man he once was, but the new improved version.

Under the pretense of a gentleman, he offers to pet sit Stephanie’s dog Pitts and promises to protect him with his life. Of course, he didn’t actually mean it. But, lax in his responsibility, while walking Pitts, Jack and Pitts are struck by a bus and their spirits, due to circumstance and a promise, enter each other’s body.

Upon awaking, from the accident, Jack’s spirit finds himself in Stephanie’s apartment — but in Pitts’ body. While there he overhears Stephanie’s fiancé plotting a hostile takeover of her company and her demise.

Jack then set out on a mission to reverse the crossover of spirits, fulfill his promise and save Stephanie’s company and her life. Fortunately and unfortunately, the crossover of spirits becomes known to all and to Stephanie’s fiancé who realizes that Jack knows his plans and he must die before he returns to his body to expose the devious plans.

Jack is Jack. He’s a womanizer that is almost a predator, doesn’t intend to settle down any time soon, and he’s ruthless about getting what he wants. When he sees a pretty lady in the park, he’s more than ready to watch her dog a bit to get closer, even if he doesn’t like dogs. Being devious is what causes him his problems…

The premise of this story was promising. A man and a dog “trade” bodies and have to learn to adjust. Imagining a human running around on all fours and trying to lick his personal parts is humorous, right? Now think about being in the body of a dog.

When the dog runs across a busy street to get to his love on the other side, Jack follows him and saves him being hit by traffic. That works real well, until Jack steps back out to go the other side and gets hit by a bus. Jack makes it but the dog doesn’t. Jack steps out of his body and revitalizes the dog’s spirit. Unfortunately, when he tries to go back it doesn’t work.

This fantasy is a bit silly, which makes it fun to read. It’s almost written for young adults but there are too many sexual references for it to be appropriate for that age group. Jack’s father starts drinking more and his mother faints. The lady with the dog hopes that by sharing her dog with Jack he will revert and be more normal. There is a doctor that is willing to help but he’s on vacation. Before he gets back, there’s another accident. More than one actually. Jack, as a dog, has impregnated the dog’s girlfriend…

The author offers two ending and asks which is your favorite. Personally, I had a third ending in mind. Why don’t you read it and see which ending you would like. Or, maybe like me, you have another version.

The Big Dogs by Adam Dunn

DOGS
The Big Dogs by Adam Dunn
Publisher: Dunn Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (265 pgs)
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

This is the second novel in the “More” series of dystopian thrillers set in the Second Great Depression in NYC. More and Santiago’s new unit is now detailed to the NYPD’s most elite division to investigate the brutal mob killing of a high-profile hedge fund founder. Their team is also assigned its first Federal, and female, member (whom More and Santiago instantly dislike) from a financial-crimes division of the Treasury Department. Tensions immediately escalate when the team discovers the victim’s underling is on the run with an encrypted computer drive containing information sensitive enough to draw in an array of international hit men who commence a deadly manhunt through the city. The case leads to a horrific terror plot against the city’s buses in order to create a stock market crash for the benefit of the criminal mastermind who created the encrypted drive. More is turned on the loose in full combat mode over Santiago’s objections and brings a taste of Afghanistan to New York City.

Seven months after the disappearance of Everett “Ever” More, Detective Second Grade Sixto Santiago is still desk-bound and waiting to be released into active duty. Left to clean up the mess More left behind him, Santiago has been putting his nose to the grind, studying for the sergeant’s exam. He’s finally beginning to accept desk duty, learning to cope with all the chaos that More had wrecked, when a woman from the Treasury department arrives… and Everett More isn’t far behind.

Santiago remains my favorite hard-pressed detective. The things that More puts him through make you want to jump into the book and take the Marine by the throat, just to help Santiago out some. That he hasn’t drawn his gun on his sometimes partner only proves that Santiago has the patience of a saint, even if it does falter now and again. He’s not perfect though, not by a long shot, but he is real and, in this fictional, devastated New York City, he’s exactly the kind of cop they need on the streets.

More is an enigma. He’s also an extremely frightening individual. Having seen combat in Afghanistan, he’s a trained soldier with very little to lose, and he makes sure everyone around him knows it. Despite that, there’s something intriguing and even a little bit endearing to his character. Maybe it’s that Santiago puts up with him so well or maybe it’s something else, but I was happy to see him reappear in this novel. Although, I’m pretty sure Santiago would have my head for even thinking that. Despite their differences and animosity towards each other, they really do make a good team, one that gets things done and done well.

The Big Dogs brings the same kind of intensity and excitement that you found in Rivers of Gold. Santiago is growing as a character and becoming more able to deal with the force that is known as Ever More. Although the author still goes overboard with the technical details, the mystery and action are as good as ever. The author brings a bleak and interesting look to a New York City we’ll hopefully never know, but one that is fitting for two men like More and Santiago.

Tales from the Lake Vol. 2 by Jack Ketchum, Ramsey Campbell, Edward Lee, Tim Lebbon, Lisa Morton, etc.

LAKE
Tales from the Lake Vol. 2 by Jack Ketchum, Ramsey Campbell, Edward Lee, Tim Lebbon, Lisa Morton, etc.
Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Contemporary, Historical
Length: Full Length (382 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

If you came here to read short stories about tranquil lakes, run to the nearest exit. Run as far away as you can from Ramsey Campbell, Jack Ketchum, Edward Lee, and our array of international voices:
Lisa Morton
Tim Lebbon
Richard Chizmar
Jim Goforth
Ben Eads
Jan Edwards
Hal Bodner
Raven Dane
Rocky Alexander
Glen Johnson
Aaron Dries
Mark West

Tales from The Lake volume two also includes the three winners from Crystal Lake Publishing’s Tales from The Lake Horror Writing Competition:
1st: Descending by John Whalen
2nd: Forever Dark by Jonathan Winn
3rd: Ripperscape by Vincenzo Bilof

Beneath this lake you’ll find nothing but mystery and suspense, horror and dread. Not to mention death and misery – tales to share around the campfire or living room floor. Dive beneath a frozen lake with Rena Mason’s “Winter’s Dollhouse”; allow Tim Lebbon to introduce you to “The God of Rain”; don’t go into the lake when Jim Goforth takes you to the haunting sit of “Lago de los Perdidos”; and never get in an elevator again with John Whalen’s award-winning “Descending.”

Cover by Ben Baldwin, and edited by Joe Mynhardt, Emma Audsley and R.J. Cavender, you can’t afford to spend another minute away from The Lake.

So dive on in.

The water’s just…right.

Even the most deeply buried secrets can eventually see the light of day.

In “Damned If You Do,” a man named John has started seeing a therapist in order to untangle his troubled home life. The problem is that he really doesn’t seem to want to revisit the past and figure out why he’s ended up in such a difficult situation with his wife. I was fascinated by the idea of a protagonist who is incredibly reluctant to allow the audience into even the smallest corner of his mind, and I only became more intrigued by John’s backstory as the plot progressed. The ending caught me by surprise in a good way!

While I enjoyed all of the stories in this anthology, there were a few that could have used little more polishing before being published. “St. Thomas of El Paso” was a good example of this. The plot followed a young man named Thomas who was kicked out of the orphanage where he was being raised when the priest running it discovered that the boy was gay. I was enthralled with the main character’s struggle to survive on his own as a teenager and young adult, especially once strange things began to happen in the small towns near his home. The ending felt rushed when I compared it to the beginning and middle, though. I would have really liked to see the narrator slow down and dig into the conflicts that had originally drawn me into the plot. There was a lot of material in there that wasn’t given as much room to grow as it needed.

What I appreciated the most about “Bone Wary” was how much time the narrator, Henry, took to describe his art studio and home to the audience. All of those details not only made me curious to find out why Henry spent so much time explaining them, they also paid off handsomely once I realized what his dark secret to all of his success was. This is the kind of tale that requires some legwork from the audience in order to understand what’s going on, but it’s well worth the effort.

Tales from the Lake Vol. 2 was a rewarding read. I’d heartily recommend it to any fellow fans of scary science fiction.

The Eighth Day by Joseph John

DAY
The Eighth Day by Joseph John
Publisher: Obsidian Dawn
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (260 pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

A warning from a stranger.

“Nothing you know is real. Your name isn’t Shawn Jaffe, you’re not an investment broker, and you’re not from Ohio.”

But the stranger is murdered before he can explain.

Now Shawn isn’t sure who he can trust.

Even his own memories are suspect.

Someone is watching him, controlling him, using him.

To survive, he’ll need to find out who and why.

But the stakes are much higher than one man.

Our humanity is on the line, and on the eighth day, it could be the beginning of the end.

Shawn Jaffe’s world crumbles about him. A stranger warns Shawn his memories are false. This sets off a train of events that Shawn cannot stop. Detective Sam Harrington gets caught up in Shawn’s world to the detriment of both men.

Set in a future that is definitely possible, this book delves into the world of cloning and improving the human body. The commercial companies who run the governments have developed the clones and use them to their own advantage to remove people and objects from their path. Shawn and Sam set out to stop the murder and destruction.

An unusual and intriguing book. It started with murder, then carried on into the mysterious disappearance of a whole finance company along with records of Shawn’s past. The author created a world to fit in with a future Earth and I could honestly believe things might turn out this way.

The only thing I couldn’t understand was the title. The Eighth Day. I presume this refers to the seven days of creation and this development of clones is the eighth, but I don’t believe it fits very well with the book. The end of the book hinted there might be another in the pipeline. I hope so because the story tended to have an unfinished feeling.

Good book, well written and presented. I would definitely read a sequel to this one.

Exclusive Access by Ravenna Tate

ACCESS
Exclusive Access by Ravenna Tate
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (137 pgs)
Other: M/F, Anal Play, Spanking
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Reporter Julianne Wallis hasn’t stopped thinking about Kane Bannerman since she seduced him to get a story five years ago. Now she’s back for a second story, but this time she wants more than sex from Kane. She wants the secret he is hiding.

Kane is part of a group of friends financing the efforts to put a stop to The Madeline Project. The program now has a mind of its own, thanks to a virus called Tommy Twister. These men have power, resources, and money, but they’re as ruthless and possessive as the storms ravaging Earth.

They call themselves the Weathermen…

It’s 2124 and due to cataclysmic weather events most of the world lives underground. Kane is one of the Weathermen – a wealthy and powerful group trying to do research to help above-ground Earth become inhabitable again. Julianne is a reporter – one who has burned Kane years ago in the past. Even with their rocky history Kane has never forgotten Julianne, so when she turns up again he’s determined not to make the same mistakes twice.

I found this to be an interesting and complicated read. Despite the fact it’s book 4 in a series (and I haven’t read any of the previous installments) I picked up both the plot and world logistics fairly easily. I was surprised and impressed that having no prior knowledge of the Weathermen world didn’t hamper my enjoyment of this story at all. The plot is interesting and somewhat complex, I enjoyed the twists and turns and found it refreshing that a sexy book didn’t rely only on sex and a token piece of conflict. It’s clear to me that Ms. Tate has spent plenty of time and effort both on her world building and the plot.

There’s also plenty of conflict and tension between Kane and Julianne too. They have quite a history and even though they’re both still seriously attracted to each other nothing between them is easy. I loved the sex scenes, I found them smoking hot and filled with delicious chemistry. Kane and Julianne are well matched and deeply attracted to each other. I also thought there was a good balance between the sexy scenes and progress with the plot. The author did an excellent job with the pacing and at no stage did I feel like either the plot or the romance dragged.

A great read, one I thoroughly enjoyed and feel that sci-fi fans and post-apocalypse readers should really like. With plenty of romance and steamy sex thrown in this is a sure fire winner for a broad range of readers.

Calling the Reaper by Jason Pere

MediaKit_BookCover_CallingTheReaper

Calling the Reaper by Jason Pere
Publisher: Rambunctious Ramblings
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full (280 pgs)
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Rose

The time of the Unity has ended. Now, the realm of man is stranded between Paradise and Purgatory. The Valkyrie and Reaper battle over the fate of all who pass from the land of the living and into the afterlife.

Eight mortal spirits from vastly different worlds tread the same, inevitable path toward their last, crucial decision. Within them all exists the defining conflict every man must face—to look upon the end of their life with glory and honor, or to give credence to their baser longings, calling the Reaper to their own demise.

In this rich, harrowing tale of pride, deceit, honor, vengeance, and redemption, each individual must battle their inner turmoil, facing the sacrifices they have made before their unavoidable end in the land of the living.

But their last day in life is also their first day of death amidst the terrors of the underworld. Lord Master Death wants them all…and the real battle has only just begun.

This book is comprised of several short stories from various time periods and several locations—but they all have one common denominator. At the end, one of the party will die and the Reaper will come for him/her.

The individual stories are all very well told. As with any collection, there were some I preferred above others, but there were none I didn’t like. Because of the nature of the stories, you didn’t really get deeply into any one characters mind—instead you are treated to an overview of what’s going on as Mr. Pere tells his stories.

This is a book that would particularly work well as a SyFy television series… with each story serving as an episode and culminating with the Epilogue which works to tie everything together for the coming up season. It ends in a way that lets you know there definitely is a next season coming up!

It will be interesting to see where Mr. Pere takes this tale. I’m intrigued and will definitely be reading the next one. Good job, sir—you have a new fan.

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Pulse: When Gravity Fails by John Freitas

PULSE
Pulse: When Gravity Fails by John Freitas
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasyt
Length: Short Story (90 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

The Alpha Centauri star system begins to collapse and the resulting gravitational waves reach our planet, creating strange phenomena around the globe, leaving the people who are affected by them wondering what in the world is going on.

A scientist in an isolated observatory sees clues that tell him what is happening to the world may be bigger and more deadly than a few earthquakes and a few floating objects.

Dr. Paulo Restrepo will have to race against time and the doubts of a world used to gravity behaving the same everywhere at every time. By the time he figures out the cause and what that means for the final approaching event, it might be too late, but he has to try.

There is a lot of intense suspense and drama packed into the 90 pages of the novella, Pulse: When Gravity Fails and it’s a wild ride. For fans of disaster movies like The Day After Tomorrow, which just happens to be one of my absolute favorites to rewatch, this book should appeal.

The format is basically taking each chapter to showcase a different person/situation and how they’re affected by the earth’s gravity not working like Sir Isaac Newton said it did. There’s the firefighter, the pilot, the child, and the scientist. Sean is the firefighter who provides the best emotional conflict; Michael, the pilot that crashed behind enemy lines and somehow has to survive and live to see another day, provides the action and suspense aspect of the conflict; and Holden is the child with the insight the adults ignore and his point of view gives readers a chance to look at the crisis in a magical, although still worrisome, way. As far as the scientist goes, the blurb gives him a much bigger role than he actually has in the book. Dr. Restrepo’s presence is extremely important as far as providing the cast and readers with the skinny as to what is actually happening. His role as the canary in the mine is reminiscent of Terry Rapson’s role in The Day After Tomorrow, but not as convincing or evolved. The plot definitely benefits from having someone of science back up the findings and gives credence to the announcement to the world that comes later.

I like how the book starts, like a movie. It’s an innocent preview of what is about to happen. It seems innocuous, certainly from the point of view of the kids but like all great disaster films, it’s only the beginning. And that’s what I found so enjoyable about this story, it reads like a movie and it was easy to envision the action in my head. Everything built from there.

I’d read a couple of reviews about this novella after I’d read it and someone mentioned editing issues. Honestly, I never saw any. I was so completely engrossed in the plot, the action surrounding the characters and the way things built and built, it kept me on the edge of my seat reading as fast as I could. Nothing bumped me out of the story, nothing undermined my enjoyment and I actually liked the formatting of the storytelling. The only thing I wasn’t a fan of was Dr. Restropo’s role; it was necessary but not developed enough to carry the weight of the responsibilities that his role was imbued with. It was cluttered with unnecessary details like the shiny nose.

The funniest scene and a true creative lark was the chocolate flatulence. I outright laughed at that and thought it comic genius. The emotional conflict between Sean and Jenny, Carter was the main thread that wove through the entire tale and it felt realistic to me. Love and all its messy complications, of loss and healing, trust and redemption are what gave this book heart and the reason to survive. The complicated romance situation was not the center of the story, the potential catastrophe was, but the romantic elements certainly gave readers a connection to the main characters.

I truly enjoyed reading Pulse: When Gravity Fails and give it a thumbs up for readers of science fiction disaster themes and of stories about people who survive against incredible odds. I would like to see this be turned into a movie, even if it only ever aired on the SyFy channel. It has the right elements to be an entertainment success.

Screaming Down Splitsville by Kayla Bashe

SPLITSVILLE
Screaming Down Splitsville by Kayla Bashe
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror, Contemporary, LGBTQ
Length: Short Story (41 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet, F/F
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Screaming Down Splitsville takes place in an alternate 1950s where two groups of people with magical powers fight for dominance. Flip, a young lesbian, thinks her healing powers are completely useless. After her escape from a lab, she’s been grounded to a safe base, and while everyone else is on important missions, she keeps the fridge stocked and fixes the plumbing. However, when a chance coincidence sends her on a solo rescue mission, Flip has a surprising reunion with a woman from her past.

Unable to speak after a botched cleft palate surgery, Emma-Rose grew up half-wild in the Southern backwoods- until strangers discovered her magical powers and imprisoned her in a laboratory of torture. Her one salvation was the woman in the next cell, Flip. Now Flip’s returned, and according to her, they’ll both make it to safety. But Emma’s plans have failed so many times that she has no hope left to lose.

As the two women seek to evade their pursuers, their friendship rekindles, and they are forced to confront both enemies and insecurities.

Rescue comes in many forms.

Wow, what an intense story. Everything from the torture chamber to the big chase later on made it impossible for me to stop reading. The fast pacing worked well how energetically the plot was written. I simply had to know what would happen next and if Emma-Rose would get away from her captors. This is the kind of world I deeply enjoy discovering when I crack open a new book because of how much fun it is to explore.

The romantic elements of this tale didn’t work so well for me. They didn’t show up until very late in the plot, and there wasn’t much foreshadowing going on for them before then. I absolutely loved both the characters involved in this part of the storyline, and I was excited to see what would happen to them next. With that being said, I would have liked to see much more time spent building up the romantic tension between them before anything flirtatious happened.

Ms. Bashe did some interesting things with her flashbacks that made me smile. I barely knew anything about the two main characters in the beginning, and she didn’t reveal very much about them until several scenes had flown by. It was fascinating to get to know them so well before learning anything about their previous lives. I also liked seeing how the author tied even the smallest and simplest memories to what was currently going on in the characters’ lives. This isn’t something I’ve seen done very often in this genre.

I’d recommend Screaming Down Splitsville to anyone who enjoys a little romance in their science fiction.

Vacui Magia: Stories by L.S. Johnson

MAGIA
Vacui Magia: Stories by L.S. Johnson
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Contemporary, Historical
Length: Full Length (220 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

L.S. Johnson delivers a provocative and original short story collection that ingeniously blends myth and nightmare. Whether it concerns the efforts of an infertile witch to construct a golem-baby, or a daughter’s quest to understand a father’s guilt and a mother’s supernatural infidelities, or a woman’s violent association with a group of possibly imaginary but nonetheless dangerous little men, each story in this remarkable collection demonstrates the limitless capacity of intelligent speculative fiction to enthrall, inspire, and amaze.

Sometimes there are excellent reasons to be afraid.

The main character in “Little Men with Knives” was a poor, lonely woman who felt trapped by her depressing job and run-down home. The one bright spot in her life was her strange relationship with the little creatures who lived on her property and did favours for her in exchange for home cooked meals. What I liked most about the plot development was how quickly the narrator showed the audience what the major conflicts were in her life. That made it interesting to see how she responded when her life grew even grimmer than it had been before. She was someone that I desperately wanted to see catch a break in life, so I was eager to see how it all ended.

There were some stories in this collection that I found confusing. For example, it took me quite a while to figure out what was happening in “The Pursuit of the Whole Is Called Love.” The narrator spent so little time explaining why they were wandering the streets with their partner that I struggled to stay interested in what they were searching for. I can’t say much about what those motives were without giving away spoilers because of how important that big reveal was for the last few scenes, but I would have really liked to have more clues about who these characters were and what they were doing earlier on.

“Clotho” intrigued me from the beginning. The storyline follows a young girl who lives an extremely isolated life with her mother and grandmother. Every day is exactly the same as the one before it from the foggy weather to the style and color of clothing that she wears. While I guessed what the twist might be before the main character did, seeing if I was right was so fascinating that I didn’t mind having the answer a little early. There were so many other unusual things going on in her life that I was just as interested in the ending as I would have been if it had been a surprise.

I’d recommend Vacui Magia: Stories to anyone who enjoys dark and unique science fiction.

C is for Chimera by Rhonda Parrish, editor

CHIMERA
C is for Chimera by Rhonda Parrish, editor
Publisher: Poise and Pen Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror, Historical, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (259 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

This installment of Rhonda Parrish’s alphabet anthology series asks skilled storytellers to write around the theme of chimera. The resulting tales are part fable, part poem, part dream. But like any chimera, the parts make up a greater whole.

Blend reality with fantasy. Mesh science fiction with mystery. Mix history with what should have been. They are all chimera.

A shadow tells a tale of schoolyard bullies. A long-vanished monster returns from the cold dark. Make-up makes up a life. Alchemy, Atlantis, and apocalypse. These 26 tales bring both chaos and closure to dark and elusively fantastic geographies.

Contributing authors include:

~ Alexandra Seidel ~ KV Taylor ~ Marge Simon ~ Pete Aldin ~ Michael M. Jones ~ Simon Kewin ~ BD Wilson ~ Gabrielle Harbowy ~ Sara Cleto ~ Megan Engelhardt ~ Michael Fosburg ~ Megan Arkenberg ~ Lilah Wild ~ Laura VanArendonk Baugh ~ Milo James Fowler ~ Brittany Warman ~ Michael B. Tager ~ L.S. Johnson ~ Beth Cato ~ C.S. MacCath ~ Sammantha Kymmell-Harvey ~ Steve Bornstein ~ Suzanne van Rooyen ~ Michael Kellar ~ Jonathan C. Parrish ~ Amanda C. Davis ~

These chimeras came in every shape and size I could imagine and even a few I never would have dreamed of.

The main character in Michael M. Jones’ “E” was a spirit who was trapped in a high school after losing her own body. At first she spent her time shadowing the students there, but she soon found herself drawn to a lonely girl named Madeline. There weren’t many clues about what was going on, but the ones that were provided were irresistibly fascinating. I also loved how clearly the spirit’s personality was described. Even though I had no idea what she looked like, I could still picture her in my mind because of how much I knew about her habits, interests, and flaws. While I would have loved to know what happened after the final scene, this did work really well as a short story.

What originally attracted me to this collection was the thought of reading so many tales about chimeras. I was curious to see how twenty-six different writers would approach the same idea, and in many cases their twists on the topic were incredibly creative and memorable. With that being said, this anthology was uneven in places. Milo James Fowler’s “O” was one of the stories that could have used more polishing. The plot showed what happened when the surrounding community discovered what Dr. Horstmann had been experimenting with in his spare time. While I was intrigued by the premise, everything happened so quickly that I had trouble figuring out what it was the doctor had been doing or why the people who lived nearby were so alarmed by his work. There simply wasn’t enough time to explore the storyline the way it needed to be explored.

Megan Arkenberg’s “L” grabbed my attention when the narrator confessed to murder before the end of the first sentence. Immediately I wanted to know more about who the main character was and why she’d killed someone. It was the last thing I would have expected to encounter in a quiet, rural, nineteenth-century setting. Figuring out what was happening only made me curious to learn more, although I can’t say anything else about the plot without giving away spoilers. Like “E,” this could have easily been expanded into something full length. The fact that I’m so eager to know what happened next for both of them is a sign of how well written they were.

I’d recommend C is for Chimera to anyone who enjoys smart science fiction anthologies.