The Best of British Fantasy 2018

By Jared Shurin

The Best of British Fantasy 2018, a novel by Jared Shurin
Book details

An exciting collection of short stories, for many different tastes. I enjoyed them all. They vary from what looks like a traditional sword and sorcery tale (but is a lot else besides), to modern myths exploring identity and the impact of childhood neglect on the adult. The characters of these stories are sometimes ghostly, often magical, isolated, side-lined, or of dubious sanity. But the stories have great twists that challenge our preconceptions of reality, mental health, power and powerlessness.

I especially enjoyed stories where there is such a dislocation of reality that you no longer know if the unfolding tale is about fantasy or inner damage; if it's an actual ghost story or a metaphor for having to live our lives in an alienating world.

Suspenseful and well-written, most of them steer an alluring path between being emotional yet stylish, traditional yet meaningful, disturbing but psychologically consistent.

The cover suggested suitability for a younger readership, and I couldn’t help but think that the stories deserved a darker image. Somehow, gnomes and donkeys, rainbows and bees didn't cut the mustard for this sophisticated, brilliantly edited and introduced collection.

I also kept thinking, now that Black Mirror has nothing left to say, this collection relaunched with a more stylish cover, might catch the eye of producers who would know what to do with this highly imaginative work.

Written on 21st June 2019 by

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