The Anthology Review
Did you miss the posting of the fall anthology? Maybe you saw it but were wondering: Exactly what is an anthology and why should I read it? Anthologies have themes, and contributions have to be self-contained short stories that incorporate that theme in some aspect. This is a chance for authors to be inspired to write something new, especially if they’re struggling with their current project, just need a break, or are trying out writing for the first time. The anthologies garner a lot of attention and are a great way for authors to gain new readers. If an author wants to expand their reader base, the anthologies can give new readers a short glimpse of the writer’s style.
For readers there are also gains to be gotten from the anthologies—apart from getting a bunch of new stories all at once. It’s fun to see the different interpretations of the themes, both by familiar and new authors. Reading a short story can be a good introduction to a range of GA authors rather than trawling through the whole list of stories. Readers might read one story and be inspired to check out other works by the author—and maybe even find a new favorite author.
To celebrate the release of the fall anthology, the review team wanted to showcase some of the past anthology entries. The team chose Nature’s Wrath—the first anthology from 2014—as the focus of our reviews.
The River Ran Backwards
Reviewer: Renee Stevens
Word Count: 11,979
The River Runs Backward is a very strong story with a great cast of supporting characters. The main character is River, and the story is told from his point of view. I sincerely enjoyed the entire story, but I think my favorite part was how River associated himself with the Mississippi River. Whether the author, Aaron Penrose, meant to do it or not, this story shows that one change in circumstance can be the catalyst for making things better.
In The River Ran Backwards, that catalyst comes in the form of Matthew. River has no friends, he’s the target for bullying at his school, and he has some emotional/personality issues. River has lost hope of things ever getting better, especially when his parents explain to him that they are committing him to a mental institution. River is exceptionally smart, but he’s not crazy, or is he?
He needs to escape the fate that his parents have outlined for him, but in doing so, he runs into Matthew. Matthew who stares at him, but never says anything. Matthew that awakens something in River that he’s never felt before. It is Matthew who changes the way River sees himself. Only time will tell if that change is for the better.
I’d strongly recommend this story. This is the first—and only—story by Aaron that I have read, but the strength of the writing and the emotions that it invokes, ensure that it will not be the last.
A Ranger’s Duty
Reviewer: Timothy M.
Word Count: 3,929
Some readers dislike when authors use an Anthology theme to test or introduce new story settings and characters which are reused in later anthologies. The Nature’s Wrath had at least two such stories, and I for one am glad Cia was inspired to start her Maze for Three series, and that Aditus continued the Four Perspective series. While short stories can be nice too, I often end up investing myself in characters which interest me and I long to know more. So the one thing worse than having a story continue via anthologies is not having that happening.
A good example is Myr’s story A Ranger’s Duty, which quickly became a favorite of mine. I loved the world which was shown and hinted at, and the main character Ryn, who is a King’s Ranger. His duty leads him to venture into the path of a vicious snow storm, showing the wrath of nature at its deadliest. His mission is to rescue a caravan heading into danger and what he finds may chance his life forever. There’s magic and honor and an aching loneliness in Ryn, which calls to the reader.
I desperately want to read more so I was pleased the story note said ‘This story will continue in a future Anthology and it exists in a larger world I am writing.’ Thus I keep hoping for an Anthology theme which inspires Myr to continue the tale. Maybe Blindsided or The Forgotten will do the trick, but otherwise Myr has lots of themes in the Special Anthology for 2016 to choose from. Please join me in begging for more after you've enjoyed reading the first installment of the story.
The Storm Singer
Word Count: 3,444
When I read the title The Storm Singer, I was immediately intrigued. It sounded mysterious and ominous to me, and I could hardly wait to get home and see what it was about.
I then learned about the tiny planet Gadet, and its quick-witted, sharp-tongued, and sometimes acerbic people. As their planet is rich in the rare metal cacese and the gemstone caruni, the planet is wealthy. They only have one real problem—storms, but their scientists developed a warning system, so they thought they were in control again, until they are not.
Hit simultaneously by a multitude of different storms for weeks, the people of Gadet are facing ultimate destruction when, seemingly out of nowhere, the storm singer appears in his jet-black starship and promises to save them—for a price. And drama unfolds.
TMcCallahan describes everything so beautifully and with much detail, I thought I was there and I knew exactly how everyone ticked. The characters are designed to antagonize each other, and in the end, I kept mumbling nononono, not that it helped.
This is a wonderful interpretation of the anthology’s theme Nature’s Wrath. It also helps that the Storm Singer is really hot, IMHO.
Maybe it’s a little farfetched, but I understood ‘The Storm Singer’ as a fable. And the moral of the story is…
Word Count: 9,758
Have you ever felt like you want to let loose and just take a break from your life? Have you pondered the consequences of doing so? I bet you never imagined being hunted down by alien shifters would be one of them. For Miah, that’s what happens when he decides to throw caution to the wind and celebrate passing his final exams.
On a future Earth, alien shifters have sought refuge and been allowed to stay, even though some wants them gone. To satisfy human thrill-seekers, someone has arranged for the opportunity to be hunted by the shifters. Hunted as prey. Not the kind of fun a responsible young man from the countryside should seek, now is it? Miah finds himself intrigued by the idea, even though he tries to deny it to himself.
The aliens keep to themselves and cause no problems, as Miah sees it. Of course, he’s never met any as far as he can tell. He's too busy focusing on his studies and getting his degree. On his last day in the city he finally decides to act like an irresponsible college student, telling himself he should at least once in his life. Will he regret his decision when things take a turn? Maybe even for the worse? I guess you’ll find out when reading the story.
Miah’s Maze is part one of a five-part story now turned e-book. A story of an unexpected and life-changing encounter, shaking Miah’s world completely. Could it be experiencing something you never wanted is exactly what you need? And can getting lost lead you to exactly where you’re supposed to be?
These are by no means all of the stories from the Nature's Wrath anthology, there are many more wonderful stories for you to take a look at. You can read all of the Nature's Wrath stories here.