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An Alphabet of Embers

(The Machineries of Empire #- Calendrical Rot)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  52 ratings  ·  23 reviews
An Alphabet of Embers is an anthology of unclassifiables – lyrical, surreal, magical, experimental pieces that straddle the border between poetry and prose. It lives in a place between darkness and sound, between roads and breaths, its pages taut with starlight; between its covers, words talk to each other, and have an occasional cup of tea.
ebook, 172 pages
Published May 12th 2016 by Stone Bird Press
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  52 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Julia Rios
Apr 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
Lots of gorgeous pieces in this book. All tiny and compact, but often quite dense. The artwork is beautiful, too.
Jan 12, 2017 marked it as to-read
Goodreads says there is no paper edition of this; the kickstarter page suggests that one is intended. I hope that happens because I'd really prefer paper, especially since there are illustrations.

This collection sounds intriguing. My brain has decided that it will combine the qualities of Alphabet of Thorn and Text: Ur, but this is probably not the case.

I love the cover and am about to go look for more art by Galen Dara. (The interior illustrations are, I gather, by someone else.)
Miss Susan
Apr 19, 2017 rated it liked it
this is a collection of very short stories that live somewhere between poetry and prose. i admit i didn't really understand a lot of them but i liked the language enough to read them regardless. plus it's got a fantastic author line-up, i bought it because it was a collection including zen cho, shweta narayan (who i am still pining for a full book from), and amal el-mohtar; like obviously there was no universe in which i wouldn't buy that

3.5 stars
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful, magical short story collection that combines poetry and prose in sci-fi and fantasy stories. The imagery & sensory detail enhance the stories by making them vivid in the mind's eye. As with any short fiction collection, you're bound to like some stories more than others, but this book is great for those who love poetry & short stories equally. ...more
Ceillie Simkiss
This was absolutely beautiful. It filled my heart with joy.
Read my full review HERE!
Tsana Dolichva
Mar 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
An Alphabet of Embers edited by Rose Lemberg is an anthology of flash fiction that was funded by a Kickstarter (that I missed) last year. The stories are 500–1400 words long, which ranges up to a little longer than what I would normally call flash, and one of the aims of the anthology was to include diverse voices. On that point, the editor has certainly succeeded. There are also some lovely illustrations by M Sereno throughout the anthology, to enhance the reading experience.

This is an antholog
Apr 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
An Alphabet of Embers declares itself to be a collection of "unclassifiables," which is its greatest strength and biggest weakness, as it will appeal hugely to some readers and not reach other readers. Like me! I wasn't expecting to love the anthology, knowing my own tastes, but I was still curious to see what Rose Lemberg had put together.

Because all the stories in the book are between 500 and 1400 words, it's fine if a particular story isn't your bag; there's another one right around the corne
Mar 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Expertly curated by editor Rose Lemberg, the "unclassifiables" in this anthology are ardent gems that may spark cathartic wildfires in the reader, or gently stoke lonesome hearths.
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
this is a truly wonderful anthology full of stories that push the very limits of our expectations of fantasy. it should be on your list of you love short fiction, fantasy, and evocative language.

disclaimer: I was sent this book in exchange for an honest review.
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An Alphabet of Embers instantly became my favorite SFF anthology; I loved its richness, its weirdness, the way it encouraged pushing at boundaries of what speculative fiction can be.
Polenth Blake
This anthology focuses on short work with a poetic feel to the writing. A few of my favourite short pieces were included as reprints. There are interior illustrations by M Sereno, which are a good match for the feel of the language, with intricate patterns and flowing lines.

The first of my reprint favourites was "Absinthe Fish" (M. David Blake), about fish who swim in absinthe and dream. It's as surreal as that premise sounds. "Single Entry" (Celeste Rita Baker) is more of a traditional narrativ
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This collection of stories were as the description calls it - magical. It was unique and left you feeling like you've never heard stories like it before. The stories come from a diverse cast of writers from around the world, giving you a diverse collection of stories and characters. One of my favourite stories had to do with an idea of genderfluidness, which I happen to be. This was the first story I ever read with a genderfluid set of characters and I honestly can't get enough of it. I'll proba ...more
Sara Saab
Mar 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
3.5-4, rounding up!

A collection of short-shorts that sets out to give a home to unclassifiable prose and does a decent job of this.

I fall in the camp of those who would've liked the entire collection to tend more towards bonafide unclassifiables--more of the bizarro embodied in M David Blake's "Absinthe Fish" (a story reminiscent of the weirdness of Stepan Chapman and KJ Bishop), more of the prose poetry of M Sereno's "Only revolutions".

Pleasantly, the collection on the whole seemed to gain ap
Aug 19, 2019 rated it liked it
I find this collection more difficult to rate than most. There weren't any stories that I didn't like. There were several that I had no clue what they were about. There were also a few that I enjoyed quite a bit. I want to reward the theme* by rating it higher than average, but there weren't enough stories in the 2nd and 3rd categories to warrant that. Overall, I'd say it's ok, so it gets a 3 star.

*The Goodreads description of this collection at the time I wrote this sums up the theme fairly wel
Jul 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a strange read - some of the stories I loved, some I just didn't get. Some toed the line between prose and poetry, and in all the language was a treat. It was also challenging: this is one of the very few times I've ever felt I'm losing something in not being a native English-speaker (and I say this as someone who is quite close to native level in vocabulary).

I highly recommend reading this collection as a whole from start to finish instead of picking and choosing between stories. The
Tyrannosaurus regina
This anthology was like a necklace set with beautiful jewels that I just didn't take to the cut or setting of. That it wasn't for me doesn't take away from the fact that they're beautiful jewels! The necklace analogy work for me because there is also a distinct editorial hand to this, the thing that ties all of the jewels together into jewellery. Because they all went together so smoothly and well, that also meant that I didn't find something quite different enough from the rest to really captur ...more
JA Grier
Jan 05, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a well-curated collection of unusual short works that will appeal to those looking for new twists in speculative fiction, and for imaginative use of language. As goes with anthologies, a few of the pieces soar while others don't quite. I'd been looking here for more true gems. Still, each work is unique and deserves its place in this book. If you like your fiction both strange and poetic then don't miss this one.
Sara Norja
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I'm obviously biased because I have a story in this - but really, An Alphabet of Embers is a phenomenal anthology. Rose Lemberg has strung the stories together with precision and art. The stories sing to each other and build up on each other to become something greater than the sum of each individual. This is definitely an anthology that I recommend reading from start to finish, in order.
Amazing stories. Rich, vivid, tantalizing, evocative. And such amazing illustrations by M Sereno.

Favorite authors: E Stoddard, JY Yang, S Norja, N Harris, Z Cho, CR Baker, I Muneshwar, A Martine, V Chandrasekera, M Sereno.
I really wanted to love everything in this book but it just wasn't the case. I really fell in love with a couple of the stories but others left me incredibly confused what was going on and I just ended up skipping through.
Artur Nowrot
A fascinating collection of poetic flash fiction that borders short stories and prose poetry.
Sep 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A mixed bag of short stories on love and grief. I’ll have to double-check the table of contents to jog my memory on my favourite stories.
Liz Neering
Sep 25, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a lovely book, one that embraces its unclassifiable nature. I love it for that, for the musical, lyrical quality of so much of the prose, but it also makes some stories less accessible than others. That said, there are gems here, and I suspect everyone will find a different one that speaks to them. I highly recommend this collection!
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Jul 20, 2016
Paul Vittay
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Apr 27, 2019
Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
May 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
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Nov 06, 2016
Mike Allen
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Mar 10, 2016
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R.B. Lemberg is a queer, bigender immigrant from Ukraine, Russia, and Israel to the US. Their stories and poems have appeared in Lightspeed‘s Queers Destroy Science Fiction, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Uncanny Magazine, Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology, and more. R.B.’s work has been a finalist for the Nebula, the Crawford, and other awards. Many of R.B.’s stories a ...more

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The Machineries of Empire (3 books)
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