Monday, February 6, 2017

Curiosity Quills Presents: Darkscapes- by multiple authors

Description
Curiosity Quills Press explores yearning, regret, and fear with the Darkscapes Anthology — a spellbinding collection of dark fantasy, sci-fi, cyberpunk, horror, and detective fiction.

Delve into worlds of terrible family secrets, unexpected doppelgängers, a home invasion on an alien planet, androids and assassins, places and people who aren’t as stable as they seem, frustrated musicians going to desperate lengths — and more.

EXLEY AVENUE: In 1920s upstate New York, a tormented girl learns that her family’s new stone castle was built on a former cemetery, and in 2014, a former police detective uncovers horrible secrets.

LENA’S SONG: In the near future, two frustrated musicians and creative partners get in on the ground floor of neural firestreaming — but an old guitar creates an unexpected effect.

SORRY FOR THE MOUSE: A veteran back from Afghanistan develops a strange hobby to stay sane — but it doesn’t work as well as he had hoped.

SKELETON JIM: A skeleton detective who leads a double life as an Internet sensation takes a beautiful woman on as a client — and gets more than he bargained for.

OF LUSHER AND SLEEP: In this modern, alternative imagining of Romeo and Juliet, a veteran from an old-money family returns to London for his mother’s funeral and is confronted with a toxic history of two warring families — and a lost love.

ROOMIES: Housemates experience something deeply unsettling during an earthquake.

IN THE SHADOW OF THE SONG: An American’s car is rear-ended by a lost Muslim traveler with diplomatic immunity; the traveler sings in the American’s place at his daughter’s school recital — with surprising results.

THE GIOVANNI EFFECT: A man who lives alone with his family on a terraformed wind turbine farm receives a disturbing visitor.

FOUR HUNDRED EYES, SIXTY-FOUR HUNDRED TEETH: An existentially anxious former star of a London goth rock band, missing fame and creativity, regains something he thought was lost.

CIRCULAR ARGUMENT: A severely dehydrated man is trapped in an endless loop on an external tram-shuttle around his base — and his patience with the on-board AI is fraying.

MOSES AND THE TALKING BUSH THAT WAS INCONVENIENTLY ON FIRE: An exhausted Moses herds sheep for his father-in-law until a burning bush gives him a holy quest he’s rather reluctant to do.

FAIL HOUSE: On the night the Chinese land the first mission to Mars, unemployed roommates in a crumbling American city navigate through riots to their government-subsidized housing — but is it the safe place they thought it would be?

ICU: A workaholic lawyer wakes up in an intensive care unit with painful regrets.

BOOTHEEL: An aged German soldier returns to the Missouri Bootheel where he picked cotton as a POW, digs up an old mirror — and dares to look at his reflection.

SECOND SENTIENCE: In this New Weird goat fantasy, two caprifauns explore a lost city — and their possible past lives.

LANDING A JOB IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR: When an Imperial assassin’s Keeper betrays the Empire, the assassin goes off-planet — to transition out of government work as fast as possible.

TRAPPED: A woman is trapped inside a body with Alzheimer’s disease.

OUT OF SIGHT: Unwanted kids wake up in an escape pod after years in stasis, and an AI bracelet is their only chance to make sense of a wild uncharted planet.
  

Darkscapes is an eclectic mix of stories touching on horror, sci-fi, religion, and fantasy. All were enjoyable, some were truly exceptional. My favorites in this collection were "Skeleton Jim" by J.R. Rain in which a skeleton hanging in a classroom has somehow come to life.
"Roomies" by B.C. Johnson was a chilling tale of friends suddenly finding themselves trapped in their apartment. Nobody can get in or out until the blood curdling conclusion.
"In the Shadow of the Song" by Piers Anthony sounds almost like the start of an off color joke to say that a Christian and a Muslim get into a car accident but in light of recent events this story takes on a life of it's own.
"Moses and the Talking Bush That Was Inconveniently On Fire" by Andrew Buckley was the much needed satirical comedy relief in the midst of so many dark stories.
"Trapped" by Ann M. Noser was both frightening and heartbreaking, and if you should read the author's notes at the end you will probably not be surprised to find the reason it was  so well written is because the subject matter is sadly well known to her.

I received a complimentary copy for review