I love the UnCommon anthologies because they never fail to have wildly imaginative Sci-fi, Fantasy, and Horror short stories. So far in this one, I have only read P.K. Tyler’s “Ecumenical Outpost 732”, a short story in her excellent Jakkattu series. This series shows a dystopic, post-apocalyptic future with vivid pespectives from people in various part and far-flung places in the society. This story is a brief 13-pages, but it is really deep. It is an eloquent, evocative snapshot of a beautiful child. Her wonder and vivacious are impacted by a bleak existence mapped out for her life, and then she meets a boy with an even bleaker life. If you like dystopic stories sometimes, you have to try this one. I can’t wait to read more in this anthology.
Diane in SC
Fiction offers a way to explore different worlds with humane viewpoints that respect and welcome difference. Uncommon Lands features 18 speculative stories by new and published writers bravely testing cultural boundaries.
Each story challenges the common view of what is real and possible. “Gators in Kansas and Other Hazards of Modern Farming,” by Ralph Walker, describes a farm unlike any other. It’s part aquaculture and part conventional farm, where the fertile bottomland is literally the bottom of a broad, shallow body of water, and operators of the farm’s machinery require a snorkel to plow the submerged fields. The ancient drive to have a piece of land to call your own motivates protagonist Salvatore to work his stake, while species that never belonged in Kansas or anywhere else north of Oklahoma in the past 250 million years threaten lives and limbs. Human dreams, however, are more powerful than invasive species and rising waters.
If you want to take a journey to many different shores, “UnCommon Lands” is a great and fun read for you. The twenty short and sometimes not so short stories of this anthology take the reader to many strange and fascinating places – be they in the future, on other planets or in a parallel plane of existence. The stories are diverse – fast-paced or slow, condensed or detailed, story- or concept-driven, gritty or tongue-in-cheek. So not all will be to your liking, but you will probably find most of them a worthy and some an even superb and thought-provoking read.