The Martian Anthology ed. David B. Riley.

E-book, 12 stories.
Wow, that’s all I can say. Wow. I’m a sentimentalist for media. I cry in sad movies and reading sad books and stories. And the first one of these got me right where I live. (I have Grown Old In Service To My Country by Cary G. Osborne.) For two reasons. One was that a couple of years ago I volunteered to go to Mars. Yes, a five year round trip, but on my own and I would have gone if selected too. But the project folded. Reading this story I’m not sure if I should be happy or sad about that. But the story itself has real power, and the ending rang like a bell. Doc and the Crash Landing by J. A. Campbell is a great tale, aliens looking for auto parts, and a guy and his dog. A dog that hunts vampires and werewolves and chats to squirrels, with a horde of squirrels that, after consultation, save the day. Yes! David Lee Summers’ Arachne’s Stepchildren was a carry-me-along story, the end is open but that way is right this time. There are so many possibilities inherent in the plot that to have shut the story down using only one wouldn’t have worked. And I can’t help wondering, what could he do with this as a book?
Then there is Kanti’s BlacK Box by Nicole Givens Kurtz, a story that reminds readers that under an alien skin there may still beat a heart-analogue that has similar emotions to ours.., and Red Ashes by Sam Knight had a surprising finale to an absorbing story. Altogether this was a solid, well’chosen anthology. While I liked the stories I have mentioned better than others, there was no story I disliked. And there aren’t many anthologies about which I can say that. It’s excellent that this is the second of the editor’s anthologies I or a reader friend could say this about and I look forward to more. Recommended.

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