Ira Nayman's Reviews > UnCONventional

UnCONventional by Kate Kaynak
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Jan 01, 2012

(Review from the author)
really liked it
I own a copy

I should admit that, although the anthology is not going to be launched for two weeks, I just finished reading a copy of UnCONventional that I was given because I contributed a story to it. (The second Antonio Van der Whall, object psychologist story to see print, which is called "Escalation is Academic.") So, knowing that I have a personal stake in what happens to the book, read this review accordingly.

UnCONventional IS THE GREATEST COLLECTION OF STORIES SINCE THE BIBLE! NOT ONLY WILL IT ENLIVEN YOUR DULL AND MEANINGLESS EXISTENCE, BUT READING IT WILL HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT AND MAKE YOUR TEETH WHITER!

Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit. Let's just say that UnCONventional is a fun read that most fans of fantasy and science fiction are likely to enjoy.

The basic concept is, I think, pretty fresh: strange goings on go on in and around large public gatherings. The obvious one is science fiction conventions, which is the basis of several stories. However, the writers have ranged quite far afield, and the setting include an academic conference, a dog show and a sea cruise. The goings on also vary, including vampires, werewolves, aliens, mermaids and other complications that are harder to describe.

Vikki Ciafone's "Belief" and Daniel A. Cohen's "Ascension" are quite funny (the latter has an especially wonderful punchline). I loved the concept and execution of Kimberley Long-Ewing's "M.U.S.E." And, the collection ends with a very strong story, Anthony Francis' "Steampunk Fairy Chick," which reminded me of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension in the way that it incorporates wildly diverse elements into an action-packed story.

I should also say that the conceit of conventions is carried through in the design of the book. The table of contents, for instance, is divided into "panels," with the authors listed as "panelists." Not only that, but each story's title is displayed as a con badge. Some readers might find these touches a little precious; I thought it was delightful.

UnCONventional is a fun read. Most fantastic fiction fans, especially those who attend cons (as I have been doing a lot in the past two years) will really enjoy it.

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