USE ONLY AS DIRECTED, anthology edited by Simon Petrie and Edwina Harvey

Theme anthology, 14 stories, includes an introduction by the editors, and information on each writer. Published by Peggy Bright Books in May. Available in print or e-book. Reviewed by Steve Johnson.

This is quite simply a very nice job. Presentation is excellent, (attractive  cover by Lewis P. Morley) layout very good, and it’s a great mix of stories that exemplify the theme. The first tale, Charlotte’s Nash’s Dellinger, hooked me in from the start, a new and well-written take on the creation of cyber-people. The next story, The Blue Djinn’s Wish by Leife Shallcross was a gentle story of a djinn and a young girl granted the traditional three wishes. However what comes of that is far from traditional – and a terrific riff on an old tale. M. Darusha Wehm’s Home Sick isn’t all that far from reality, it’s a sad little story of what is not unlikely to be the lives of some of us in a decade or two – with a bitter sting in the tale.

Always falling Up by Grant Stone is back to exploring the possibilities of created people, and how the ability can be abused along with the people. Again, I found this an all-too possible future given the basic assumptions, and cogently written. Claire McKenna’s Yard is an unpleasant story, clever, believable, and spooky. I liked it. As I liked Lyn McConchie’s Fetch Me Down My Gun. A story of sacrifice and cross-species understanding that, as sometimes happens with what Lyn calls her ‘awww’ stories, brought a tear to my eye. The final story exemplifies the type of  best last story for an anthology, keep it short and funny. Dirk Flinthart’s The Eighth Day left me with a broad grin.

All in all this is a good anthology, it has that feeling of progression, as if each story flows into the next, something in which a goodly number of major anthologies fail. It isn’t enough to pick good stories, they need to blend so that as the reader advances, there isn’t the feeling that they are reading a bunch of unconnected works, but something in which many parts have made a whole. Congratulations to the editors, they’ve succeeded.

2 pings

  1. […] a nice review of the Use Only As Directed anthology, edited by Simon Petrie (and his partner in crime Edwina […]

  2. […] but not quite the flavour of LSQ, though, so if you’re after sci-fi, check out Phantazein and Use Only As Directed, two anthologies that carried two of my works last year – both my stories were nominated for […]

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