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Through Shadows

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A collection of award-winning speculative short fiction!

QuaranCon's top entries from both the 2020 and 2021 short fiction contests, these six stories all deal with themes of isolation and innovation, and are sure to keep you entertained in bite sized moments of adventure.

39 pages, Kindle Edition

Published September 16, 2021

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P.S. Livingstone

2 books2 followers

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Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 reviews
Profile Image for Julia Sarene.
1,322 reviews143 followers
June 13, 2022
There's a really cool online fantasy convention that started due to COVID. They have a short story contest each year, and this anthology is a collection of the first three places from both years.

I am not usually a big fan of anthologies, but I know some of the authors in here, so I bought it anyway.

I quite enjoyed this anthology, that covers fantasy to science fiction as well as different tones and styles. As with any short story collection there's some that worked better for me than others, but overall they were all more than worth the read!

If you're looking for small bites to test out different new authors, this is well worth a look!
Profile Image for Sue Tingey.
Author 8 books29 followers
September 13, 2021
Short stories, to me, are an art form; one I’m not very good at. This means, when I read a good short story, I am amazed by how the writer creates something so powerful is so few words, in this case under two thousand. I was sent a free advance copy of this collection for an honest review and I am so pleased that I was as it was a thoroughly good read.

Last Day at the Observatory by A M Justice tells of, the last twenty minutes before the world ends. The emotions running through the narrator’s head are raw fear, panic, regret and, by the end acceptance. Beautifully written and it certainly had the desired impact.

Old Superheroes Never Die by Alex McGilvery. The story is simple – what does happen to old superheroes? A thought provoking take on the superhero genre and the problems old age brings to all of us.

New Hope by J E Hannaford. Set in a world totally different from our own it is the moving story of a lonely woman who finds salvation by saving someone herself.
Wrangling Twisters by Laura Shank. Full on excitement from beginning to end set in a world of magic and extreme weather.

Job Security in an Apocalypse by Anela Deen is a story of renewal and reinvention in a post-apocalyptic world.

Re-Boot by Liam Hogan. A time traveller tries to save the world. All I can say without giving too much away is that this story certainly takes the readers through a whole range of emotions.

I have to say this is up there with some of the best anthologies I have read recently and I found all six stories to be satisfying and/or thought provoking and well worth a read.
Profile Image for Phil Parker.
Author 6 books22 followers
September 12, 2021
The short story is a b*****d of a thing to write. The reason lies in its title, that word ‘short’.

Short stories have different rules to novels. It’s not about stopping the story earlier. Stephen King (inevitably!) sums it up best, in my opinion. ‘A short story is a different thing all together – a short story is like a kiss in the dark from a stranger.’ (Keep that in mind if you ever meet him.)

But Edgar Allen Poe defines it. ‘A short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build towards it.’

The winning entries in the QuaranCon short story competitions for 2020 and 2021 succeed in capturing a mood and building toward it. They succeed brilliantly. Each one explores an apocalyptic scenario, fitting for an event initiated by a pandemic lockdown. I’m not going to sum up each story, it defeats the point of a short story’s impact. Instead I want to highlight a couple of examples where that outcome was captured, hopefully without giving much away.

I’m going to begin with Liam Hogan’s ‘Re-Boot’. It’s the final story in the collection and it deserves this location. It is a clever piece of writing in its use of history to prove a point. That impact I keep talking about is captured in its opening sentence, ‘The end of the world began on Thursday the 8th of October 2026.’ The story examines us as a race and, well, we don’t come out of that examination very well at all. There’s a time machine involved and it reminded me of a similar observation made by HG Wells, we didn’t fare very well in his story either. In ‘Re-Boot’ it’s the wit and the wisdom of the chosen events I liked so much. It left me thinking how likely that event in 2026 could be. A chilling thought. I’m not surprised it won in 2021.

When you read ‘Job Security in an Apocalypse’ by Anela Deen, you get a touch of déjà vu in its opening line. ‘The end of the world came on a Monday afternoon.’ I loved this story for its subtlety. You don’t immediately identify the narrator but that perspective offers the reader a different take on the end of the world. It proves the importance of how short stories offer a brief insight into a world we thought we knew.

In summary, stories by AM Justice, Alex McGilvery, JE Hannaford, Laura Shank and the two mentioned above, make for a wonderfully diverse collection of short stories. Each one with an impact which makes you think, that stir your soul. A collection superbly edited by PS Livingstone. I recommend this collection because it’s insightful and beautifully written.
Profile Image for A.M. Justice.
Author 15 books166 followers
September 10, 2021
A small volume of outstanding speculative fiction that you can read in an hour's time (perfect for commutes or waiting rooms). Each story is unique and fantastically written, and together they span the gamut of SFF: apocalypse, time travel, magic—it's all here.

Last Day at the Observatory by A.M. Justice — An astronomer confronts the unknown (I wrote this one, so leave judgment to others).

Old Superheroes Never Die by Alex McGilvery — An elderly superhero looks back on his life in this wistful, melancholy reflection on aging and regret.

New Hope by J E Hannaford — A moving story about the little things that can lift us out of despair.

Wrangling Twisters by Laura Shank — A fun read involving a battle amidst raging winds and a super cool magic system.

Job Security in an Apocalypse by Anela Deen — Shades of The Umbrella Academy and Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey haunt this delightful post-apocalyptic yarn.

Re-Boot by Liam Hogan — A time traveler confronts one paradox after another in another post-apocalyptic delight.

Profile Image for David Green.
Author 18 books209 followers
September 19, 2021
A superb anthology of dark, brooding, fast-paced, tension filled, and in one instance, uplifting fantasy stories, pulled from a crop of fantastic indie fantasy writers.

This anthology is small enough for reading on the go or in-between meetings/appointments, but each short story's every word counts in pulling the reader deeply into each tale, and progressing the tightly woven narratives.

Highly recommended.
Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 reviews

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