No. 118 (essentialsaltes) wrote,
No. 118
essentialsaltes

Extinct Doesn't Mean Forever - Review

Extinct Doesn't Mean Forever is an anthology of 19 stories exploring the concept of extinction, with genres ranging from far future SF to others that happily straddle the line between speculative fiction and the mainstream. Through the good offices of one of the authors (Kyle Aisteach) I have a review copy here in my hand. Or on my Kindle rather.

My overall impression is that the book is a solid anthology of well-written stories. The authors are primarily, I believe, relative newcomers, but (though tastes vary) the stories are all polished and worthy of publication. Similarly, though the kindle format may be a trifle spartan, the copyediting of the text is top-notch. I noticed one "past" for "passed" and that's it for errors. This may seem a meaningless detail, but in my still very limited experience of e-books, everything from quickly OCR'd public domain works to the freaking Lord of the Rings is riddled with obnoxious errors.

The book starts off strong with Amanda le Bas de Plumetot's "Last Seen". The authoress is also a poetess of some note, and it shows in some of the careful words and sensitive phrases in the piece. I also very much enjoyed the second story, Sarah Adams' "Past Survivors". Although the story is set more outside Los Angeles than inside Los Angeles, it has a much more authentic feel of LA to me than most of the stories in the Aftershocks anthology that frustrated me recently. Perhaps it felt real because I've hiked some of those same hillsides, though I've never spotted a Smilodon.

One drawback of the anthology, I found, was that the stories are arranged in loosely thematic groups. Although a rational approach, I think a more chaotic approach may have helped keep those themes fresher for the reader. One can only read so many stories in a row in which extinction serves as a metaphor for human loss. Perhaps I suffered unduly from this, since I ploughed through the book at break-neck speed to try to provide a timely review.

I do quite like Kyle's story a lot. And if you read through the anthology in order, it will also come off as one of the freshest and most original takes on the overall theme. And then you read the next story. OK, OK -- they are hardly identical, but there are enough similarities that I think they would each shine more brightly had they been separated by some space.

The second half of the book slows down somewhat. Some of the stories are longer and some of them frankly wear out their welcome. Stories I particularly enjoyed include Adam Israel's "Indigo's Gambit" and Shona Snowden's "Blood Fruit". Peter Dudley's humorous "Distractions" makes for a satisfying finale.
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