Anthologies are only as good as the editor(s) selecting the stories. Keeping the work balanced and flowing well while offering enough variety is tricky business.
Think of it as music. You can spend days, or more in my case, adjusting a play list to get it just right. Adding new songs, removing others and deciding the order may not seem like a big deal, until that play list accidentally gets deleted. That’s when you realize how much work you’ve put into all of those decisions.
It’s not a job I would willingly take on, but I’m glad there are people crazy enough to do it.
(Ed. Note: I received a copy of this book for review at no cost to me. )
Masques is an anthology put together by the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild. Editors Gillian Polack and Scott Hopkins have done an excellent job selecting and arranging a diverse set of stories.
From promotional materials…
We all wear masks.
Human beings mask their faces with paint, with wood, with the faces of others. Others mask as humans.
Some masks hide tragedy – some bring joy.
Where is our place in the masqued dance? How does the face-changing, shape-changing moment touch us or transform our lives?
That’s a good description of the book. Masques has lots of stories in several different genres. There is something here for almost anyone.
I enjoyed this collection of stories more often than not. A few of the stories truly captured my imagination and had me daydreaming from time to time, wondering what else might have happened once the story ended. I also found a couple of stories that I wasn’t fond of. I’m not naming names, because that’s just how anthologies work. You probably won’t like all the stories, but you shouldn’t expect to.
There were far more stories that I enjoyed reading, than stories that I read just to get to the next one.
Editors Gillian Polack and Scott Hopkins have done a great job with the selection.
Notes for Non-Australians
Once or twice I had to lookup a word I wasn’t familiar with online. Not a big deal, but you should be prepared for a visit to Urban Dictionary unless you’re well versed in Aussie slang.
I can’t find this one at Amazon, but you can get your own copy of Masques by visiting the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild’s website.
This is a great anthology that does a great job with the underlying theme. Some of the stories are incredibly good, and they’re all well constructed. From fairytale mice to hard boiled space-detectives, this collection delivers enough that even I can’t complain about the moniker “Speculative Fiction”.
It might seem a bit pricey, but it’s worth it. I’ll be ordering a copy to replace my review .pdf.