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Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts

(Laksa Anthology Series #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  92 ratings  ·  31 reviews
There's a delicate balance between mental health and mental illness…


We are your fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, friends and lovers. We staff your stores, cross your streets, and study in your schools, invisible among you. We are your outcasts and underdogs, and often, your unsung
ebook, 310 pages
Published August 8th 2016 by Laksa Media Groups Inc. (first published March 26th 2016)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  92 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Randy McCharles
Jun 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm very picky when it comes to anthologies. This is one of the best I've read in years, with a variety of thoughtful stories that pay homage to the theme while delivering a strong, yet unique, experience with each story. I especially enjoyed the 1st 2 tales by Kelly Armstrong and Suzanne Church, but the anthology continues to deliver one strong story after another. Hat's off to editors Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law for choosing a difficult theme and acquiring stories that deliver. That part of ...more
Nikki "The Crazie Betty" V.
There really is no way for me to accurately review this book of short stories. They are strange, they are speculative, they are intriguing, and they mess with your feels. Each one is different than the last. I tried to put aside a few of the stories to review as my favorites, but I ended up with about of the stories as being “favorites”. So that being the case I’m just going to say this is one of my favorites of this year, and possibly all time. They were all just so different that I was comple ...more
Aug 12, 2016 rated it liked it
I am not a fan of anthologies or short stories but I read this book because it has a psychological angle. The book is a series of stories written by fantasy/science fiction writers all of whom write about mental illness or difference. I liked some of the stories but the book did not hold together for me. I was looking for some thread to connect them and there was none.
Ada Hoffmann
(Disclaimer: I run a blog doing reviews of books involving autism, and was able to buy a copy of this book at a discounted price for this reason. Two individual stories involving autism from this volume will be reviewed separately on the official blog; the rest of my general opinions are going here.)

"Strangers Among Us" is an anthology devoted to exploring the topic of mental illness. While this is a worthy goal, the anthology itself falls short of expectations in several respects. ...more
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it
This review is based only on the story by Kelley Armstrong.

This story is a very short one, but it packs a lot into it. What looks like a very bad situation ends up with lots of hope and a new beginning.
Samantha (AK)
As a collection featuring “underdogs and outcasts,” it succeeds. But as an exploration of “the line between mental health and mental illness,” it doesn’t really work. Preoccupied with dramatic symptoms, most of the stories in this volume miss the mark on positive representation, and only a few subvert the reader’s expectations.

To a certain extent, it’s true that society dictates the definition of ‘mentally unwell.’ This is particularly evident in "The Culling" by Kelley Armstrong, which deta
I normally don't review anthologies unless I've committed to review them due to a request, or I downloaded them from Net Galley or Edelweiss. One reason is that I usually don't read the entire anthology when I haven't agreed to review it. A short story can get very short shrift from me, then I'm on to the next one. So, in order to be fair to the anthology, I'm going to be very open about the fact that I read about a third of Strangers Among Us edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law. I also didn ...more
Jenny, The Distracted Bee
I thought this was excellent. I will go into more detail (especially my favourite authors that blew me away) but suffice it to say, this was a great and noble undertaking that hit all the right notes.

Recommended to anyone who has ever/ always felt like the orange in our apple tree society...

... so I ended up writing a full review on my blog:

and would be honoured if you read it and gave some feedback!
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medical, fiction
I read this book as a pre-release .pdf e-book obtained through NetGalley, provided by the publisher.

This is a collection of 19 short stories, by 19 different authors, all Canadian or associated with Canada in some way. These are classified as science fiction or speculative fiction. They have one feature holding them together – a character with a significant mental disability; some of the stories have it associated with a physical disability. In some of the stories, mental health trea
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing

I Recommend This Book

I'll be the first to admit that Kelley Armstrong was the main draw to this book as she is one of my favourite authors. However I found myself enjoying all of the stories. It's such a unique anthology based around the themes of mental health and mental illness, issues that are very close to my heart. Normally I find anthologies hard to get through and always some stories I don't connect with; not the case with this one! I will say that my personal favourite was Ke
CrazyCat (Alex)
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, my-reviews
A very interesting book about how it is to live with mental illness. I really liked the variety in the different stories. Some of the short stories I wished for being longer. A great project to bring the topic mental illness to the younger public. An enjoyable read from the first sentence throughout the book. Highly recommended not only to YA readers.

****ARC received for my honest opinion****
Jan 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy, sf
A collection of shorts dealing with the mentally different, a mixed bag, some good, some I stopped reading. The nattering smart kitchen was a scary thought! An all Canadian collection by a non-profit? publisher.
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good short story anthology, all dealing with mental illness in some way, even if it's just seeing reality slightly off-kilter.
Aug 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Strangers Among Us is a collection of themed science fiction and fantasy stories, where the theme is characters (usually main characters, although occasionally it's someone ancillary) who either suffer from mental illness or disability or are otherwise neurodivergent. It's a good concept for a book, although like all short story collections, it's a mixed bag, and in this case, I feel like maybe a little more editorial control would have helped.

The problem is that we seem to get too m
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review first published on My Blog.

Nineteen stories that explore mental illness in many different aspects, both in SciFi/Fantasy and things that you could see today. I bought the series because it had a story by Kelley Armstrong and I had a different idea of what the stories would be about. While the stories were not what I was expecting, I found the stories intriguing and extremely well done. They depicted that even those will mental illness of all types are worthy of love and respect, some
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This anthology aims to try and give voice to those friends, neighbors, and strangers whose lives are impacted in some way by mental illness.

Like any anthology, there are some hits and misses. The pieces that really stood out for me were Amanda Sun's "What Harm", A.M Dellamonica's "Tribes", and Robert Runte's "The Age of Miracles", which really threw into sharp relief the truths behind some of those who may seem different from the norm.

Unlike most anthologies, though, this one is in support of
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
A thoughtful anthology that takes the idea of individuals with mental health issues. Many of the stories take those ideas and give them a unique or interesting twist. Sometimes you don't even know that there is anything wrong with the person in your story, it seems like the rest of the world.

I especially enjoyed Kelley Armstrong's entry - The Culling
May 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
There was some good writing but a significant chunk of the authors appear to have no real understanding of mental illness and just wanted to play with some ableist tropes.
Edwin Downward
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
honourable mention goes to Tribes and Trouble.
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To begin, I would recommend reading this book, it has amazing authors. The overall theme is fascinating. However there were a couple stories that lacked something.
Dec 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Because mental health is so important to me, both personally and professionally, it is impossible to give an unbiased review of this collection of shorts.

Initially, I wrote mini-reviews for each story in my GoodReads updates. Around the tenth story I became irritated and deserted that endeavor. The first few stories were really enjoyable, while the latter half became increasingly absurd and/or technical.

I like sci-fi, but I’m not a rabid fan. I think digesting so many different sci-
Kristine (The Writer's Inkwell)
Posted originally on my blog:
The Writer's Inkwell

When I originally requested this book through Netgalley, it was because it featured Kelley Armstrong and I’m a huge fan of her work. However, the great things about these kinds of anthologies is that there are several phenomenal pieces beyond that of just the author that caught your attention.

What I took away from these stories is that sometimes the only true strangers in our lives are ourselves. In fact, there are a lot of thought
I was really excited about this anthology when I first heard about it. I've been looking for more books/stories that address mental illness or feature characters that have mental illnesses, especially after reading the phenomenal Challenger Deep. A sci-fi/fantasy anthology that featured characters with mental illnesses and unusual perspectives seemed like the perfect fit! Unforunately this anthology didn't live up to my expectations.

I think part of it was that my understanding of what this anthology
Aug 11, 2017 rated it liked it
I really liked the idea behind this collection of short stories, but the stories themselves were a mixed bag, some really worked well, both in concept and delivering a satisfying story, but others failed at either one or both.

I liked that the anthology set out to bring greater understanding to people who experience different perspectives than the majority, people who have brains that function in a way different from the majority. However, while some effectively told a story with char
Mar 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
I received this book from NetGalley
I enjoyed reading Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts. The science fiction and fantasy aspect puts a whole different perspective on mental health and mental illness. Some of the short stories were hard to follow due to being a short story, however most of them I enjoyed. My favorites were Living In Oz by Bev Geddes, possibly due to my favorite movie being the Wizard or Oz, Troubles by Sherry Peters and What You See (When the Lights are
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great collection of stories! Really interesting and I enjoyed most of them (a few I didn't quite understand/didn't move me). I love the idea of mental health being the theme and that some proceeds from each book go towards mental health funding. A few people seem to have commented that the stories aren't obviously connected, but I think they are all connected very well to the general theme of mental health and that's all you need. Great to see Canadian writing the focus (or at least the writers ...more
When books sit on your shelf and you make a start on them but never go back- is it worth hanging on to them for forever? I am making a decision to leave this one.

Not because this book is not worth reading. I only read one installment and it was good. It just wasn't/ isn't what I want to read. Not now and probably not ever.

So don't use this review to make up your mind about this one. I think it could very well be worth a read it you are looking for something about this par
Mar 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this, it makes you think. I got it for the Kelley Armstrong story and find it is reminiscent of Margaret Atwood in that it explores how society could be if the worst came to the worst and people started being persecuted for the slightest differences, for not conforming to society's idea of normality and health.
Maggie Gordon
Really interesting, complicated book of speculative short stories and mental illness. Full review closer to publication date!

Thanks to NetGalley and Laska Media Groups for providing me with an ARC to review!
This is a collection of short stories themed around mental illness. I found the first one thoroughly gripping, but my interest waned on reading the next few.
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Susan Forest grew up in a family of mountaineers and skiers, and she loves adventure. She also loves the big ideas found in SF/F, and finds fast-paced adventure stories a great place to explore how individuals grapple with complex moral decisions. Bursts of Fire, first book in her Addicted to Heaven series (Aug. 2019, to be followed by Flights of Marigolds), confronts issues of addiction in an epi ...more

Other books in the series

Laksa Anthology Series (4 books)
  • The Sum Of Us: Tales of the Bonded and Bound
  • Where the Stars Rise: Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy
  • Shades Within Us: Tales of Migrations and Fractured Borders