Crossed Genres Year 2 is a collection of twelve short stories featured in the Crossed Genres magazine between issues 13 and 24. Crossed Genres has a different theme each month so there is quite a varied mixture on offer here. All have been written to a high standard and each have a distinct voice.
Lunch Money by Kelly Jennings
Lunch Money is a story about a hostage situation on a remote mine somewhere out in space which becomes more complicated by the arrival of a very experienced hostage host and the realisation that one of them may be more than they seem.
What I really like about this short story is the use of language, while many stories tackle the evolution of the human very few attempt to tackle the evolution of language. This is for the most part for good reason, as it's very easy to backfire and create an unintelledgible mess, gladly not the case here. The author has managed to take much of todays street vernacular and then evisage how this may change in the future. It works very well, the language is still very understandable but different enough for you to pay that bit more attention to the story than you would otherwise.
The Character of Martin is great and there is a nicely subtle dark humour running throughout, overall a great little story.
The Vanishing Sea by Caleb Jordan Schulz
The Vanishing Sea is a told very much in the style of a fable or folklore, the sea is dissapearing and one fisherman is convinced that he knows why, and how to fix it.
There is an excellent use of descriptive narrative and the story feels very much like you might read from the likes of Aesop or the Brothers Grimm.
The Seder Guest by Barbara Krasnoff
The Seder Guest plays out as a standard fiction novel all the way until the end with an average family organising a get together and the daughter bringing home her new boyfriend to meet the parents for the first time. The ending though is unexpected and very amusing.
Whirligig Fingers & Globular Thumbs by Polenth Blake
Whirligig Fingers & Globular Thumbs is very much set within the Steampunk genre and focuses on two robots named Whirligig (who flys) and Glob (who bounces?) as they maintain a deserted building full of cryogenticly frozen people. Curiosity it seems is not just restricted to just Cat's though.
Told in a lighthearted manner from the perspective of Whirligig, it's a rewarding little story full of bright ideas and manages to capture a unique and endearing style.
High School 3000 by Timothy Miller
High School 3000 is as you might expect set in the future, where a severe shortage of class spaces has led to a very tough "selection process". Fast paced and action packed, this would make a great young adult novel if the idea was expanded.
The Last Rickshaw by Stephanie Lai
The Last Rickshaw tells the bitter sweet story of Yu, the owner of what turns out to be the last ever rickshaw, and we witness his tirelss battle against the innevitable sweep of progress. Very well written with a distinct voice, one of my favourite stories in the collection.
Conflicts by Timothy T. Murph
Conflicts tells the story of the artificial Cat, a robot protector with some seriously sophisticated programming, described in excellent detail and in such an easy, friendly manner, I would love to see this expanded somehow into a novel.
Yelloween by Sam Cash
Yelloween is very much the futuristic tale with many different alien races, spaceships and laser guns. The story follows Lou Baylo, a freelance character and a bit of a rogue, doing odd jobs to earn a living. The central theme is that of lies, the different types and their effects.
Centzon Totochin by Cat Rambo
Playing on the South America's superstition of Chupacabra but in this little town there is something a whole lot worse that a superstition. This short story has excellent characterisation and a superb plot which well laid out and beautifully paced.
Luck of the Harvest by Tom Barlow
While most would consider luck to be a very positive albeit intangiable effect, something that many people go to extreme efforts to aquire, Luck of the Harvest shows us a different side to being "blessed" with Luck.
The Mongrel Scholar by Ursula Wood
This is the ghost story of the collection, it's intelligently written and slightly creepy with a real edge to the prose.
Flying With the Dead by Sabrina Vourvoulias
What's in the box that Isabel has been carrying for most of her life, the lagacy of her late mother. Has it got anything to do with the Days of the Dead and the Guadalupe fesival? A gently placed yet well written short story with a nice twist.
Overall the quality of these short stories is very high with a nice mixture of styles and themes. Each of the 12 shorts tell's their own story effectively and entertainingly, recommended.
Written on Tuesday 25th January 2011 by Antony.
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